This Vegetarian Autumn Grain Bowl is loaded with fiber and nutrients, and the flavor will make you want to cozy up to a bowl every chance you get! Enjoy this grain salad made with wild rice, quinoa, kale, and spice roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
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I wasn’t planning on sharing another salad with you for a while, but this fall grain bowl is just too good to keep to myself!
I’d had Jess from Plays Well With Butter’s autumn grain bowl on my list of recipes to try for a long time, and as soon as I did I knew it was a winner. I made a few swaps to make it vegetarian and change the flavor a bit, so I thought I’d share my version as well!
This power bowl has everything. There are two types of grains (wild rice and quinoa), hearty kale, diced apples, smoked gouda, and spice roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
I never would have thought to put cheese in a grain bowl, but it really helps tie everything together and gives it a nice, smoky flavor. Let’s take a look at how it all comes together!
- Wild rice
- Sweet potato
- Olive oil
- Chili powder
- Smoked Gouda
How to make an autumn grain bowl
- Dice and cube the sweet potato.
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Toss the sweet potatoes and chickpeas with the olive oil, garlic, and spices on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF until the sweet potatoes are soft and the chickpeas are crisp, 25-30 minutes.
- Assemble the bowls by adding ¼ cup each of cooked wild rice and quinoa, then top with shredded kale, diced apple, chopped walnuts, shredded smoked gouda, and microgreens. Add the roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas and drizzle with lemon tahini dressing.
Lemon tahini dressing ingredients
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Maple syrup
- Red pepper flakes
How to make lemon tahini dressing
- In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Top tips and questions
Are autumn grain bowls best served warm or cold?
You can serve this autumn grain bowl either warm or cold, but I prefer it a little on the warm side. It would make a great Thanksgiving salad since it can sit for a while without worrying about the temperature while you prepare other foods.
How do you cook wild rice?
If you’re new to cooking wild rice, it’s actually very easy and results in a chewy, nutty rice that has a flavor all it’s own. Rinse it well like you would most rice, then add it to a pot with water and bring to a boil.
Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and let simmer for about 45 minutes. The rice will split open and have a tender bite (not crunchy) when it’s done.
The rice may not absorb all the water, so just drain off any excess once it’s done cooking. Allow the rice to sit, covered, off the heat for 5-10 minutes before serving.
How to cook quinoa
I have a tutorial all about how to cook quinoa, but it’s actually very similar to the wild rice. Rinse your quinoa, add it to a pot with water and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer. Once all the liquid has been absorbed (15-20 minutes), remove from the heat and let it rest, covered, for another 5-10 minutes.
Do I need to massage my kale?
Serving the kale with the warm sweet potatoes and tangy dressing will soften it a bit, but if you still find kale too hard to chew you may want to massage it before adding it to your bowl.
To do this, add a little olive oil or dressing to the kale and rub it with your fingers for a couple minutes until it has softened.
Where do you find microgreens?
The microgreens are optional but make the salad really pretty and add some great nutrients. I can usually find microgreens in the organic produce section of the grocery store near the other leafy greens. I can also find them seasonally at farmer’s markets.
Are garbanzo beans and chickpeas the same thing?
Yes, garbanzo beans and chickpeas are two names for the same thing. You can choose a can labeled with either for this recipe.
How to make crispy chickpeas
I chose to make my crispy chickpeas right on the sheet pan with the sweet potatoes to make things nice and easy. However, if you want really crunchy chickpeas I recommend following my tutorial on how to make crispy chickpeas.
Cooking the garbanzo beans in oil in a cast iron skillet (affiliate link) is really the best way to make sure they get crispy. If you prefer to save time and effort, they’ll still be great cooked on the sheet pan with the sweet potatoes.
What kind of dressing is good on autumn grain bowls?
I chose to use my favorite lemon tahini dressing from my warm kale and quinoa salad to top this bowl. It’s savory and can be spiced as much as you like.
If you prefer something a little different, you could try adding a dash of cinnamon to the dressing, or try Jess’ grain bowl dressing.
What kind of apples should I use for a grain bowl?
I like using honeycrisp apples for salads and grain bowls, but any sturdy variety would work such as fuji, gala, or granny smith.
Are grain bowls good for you?
As with most things, health is relative and depends on many factors. This bowl is well balanced between grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy.
It’s also full of fiber and other nutrients, so I would say it is a very healthy option that will be easily customizable and a good choice for a lot of people.
Can this autumn grain bowl be made ahead?
This makes a great meal prep recipe, however keep in mind that the crispy chickpeas have their best texture when served immediately. If this doesn’t bother you, you can prep all aspects of this recipe up to 3 days in advance.
I recommend keeping the dressing separate from everything else until you’re ready to serve to avoid wilting the greens and getting the vegetables soggy. You may also want to wait and cut your apple when you’re ready to serve. If you don’t, you can toss your chopped apple with a little bit of lemon juice or dressing to keep it from turning brown.
Tips for customizing your autumn grain bowl
- Swap the sweet potato for butternut squash
- Adjust the spices to suit your tastes
- Use less oil by making air fryer chickpeas and air fryer sweet potatoes
- Add your other favorite vegetables like roasted broccoli, cauliflower, or beets
- Meat eaters can add shredded, cooked chicken
More bowl recipes
- Vegan Tempeh Buddha Bowl
- Fresh and Easy Nourish Bowl
- Roasted Sweet Potato Bulgur Bowl
- Mediterranean Buddha Bowl
- Vegetarian Burrito Bowls
More fall recipes
- Fall Cheese Board
- Savory Vegetarian Hand Pies
- Veggie Wellington
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
- Pumpkin Pizza
- Pumpkin Seed Butter
- Thanksgiving Baked Tempeh
Vegetarian Autumn Grain Bowl
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 15 ounces canned garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained, and patted dry with a clean kitchen towel
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 1 apple, diced
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ¾ cup shredded smoked gouda
- 1 cup microgreens
Lemon tahini dressing
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Autumn grain bowl
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans with olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft and the chickpeas are crispy.
- Between four large bowls or plates, assemble the grain bowl by evenly dividing wild rice, quinoa, kale, apple, walnuts, gouda, microgreens, and roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
- Drizzle with lemon tahini dressing just before serving.
Lemon tahini dressing
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.