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Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls

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Gourmet but easy to make, these Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls are packed with fiber and protein and are great for weeknight dinners as well as meal prep.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 1 hour
5 from 39 votes

If you’ve seen my recent healthy vegan meal prep video, you know that the way I meal prep a little differently. I cook and prep different types of ingredients–plant proteins, grains, vegetables, greens, sauces and condiments–and store them separately. Then, I combine them into mix and match meals throughout the week. And today’s recipe for a Mediterranean Grain Bowl is the epitome of this style of cooking.

Not only does this provide more variety in my diet, but it also takes just 0-10 minutes to throw together healthy, delicious meals during the week.

But, in order to earn a blog post, these bowls have to be more interesting than your standard weekday “mix some quinoa with raw veggies and plain lentils” kind of bowl. And they are!

They’re packed with delicious and fresh Mediterranean flavors and are so satisfying. Satisfying from a taste/texture perspective, but also from a nutrient perspective, as they’re loaded with protein and fiber.

Watch! How to make a Mediterranean Grain Bowl

VEGAN PANTRY MEALS perfect for quarantine (+ PDF guide)
VEGAN PANTRY MEALS perfect for quarantine (+ PDF guide)

The grain bowl recipe begins around the 6:21 mark.

Why you’re going to like this recipe

Pantry staples. And all the ingredients used in this recipe are pantry staples (i.e., you might already have all the required ingredients in your pantry).

Budget-friendly. Since these bowls are made with everyday pantry ingredients, they’re very budget-friendly!

Mix and match. While there are four components in the recipe, you don’t have to make them all. You can make just two or three (or even one) of them and pair them with your weekly meals.

Surprisingly easy. While four components might sound like a lot, you can cook everything simultaneously. The pickled onions and hummus take 5-10 minutes to make, and the farro and lentils are pretty hands-off.

Meal prep friendly. As mentioned, all of these items are great for meal prep, and when stored separately, everything should stay good for 4-5 days.

Wholesome. As with many lentil recipes, this grain bowl is totally wholesome and something you’ll feel good about eating.

Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls

Components of a Mediterranean Grain Bowl

Pickled Onions 

If pickling onions sounds too artisanal or time consuming for you, you’ll be happy to know that these are quick-pickled onions and they take all of 5 minutes. All you need are four basic ingredients: a red onion, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, maple syrup or sugar, and salt.

I add some flavor with black peppercorns and red pepper flakes for flavor. You can omit them, or get fancy and add more flavorings like coriander seeds, chopped garlic, or fennel seeds!


As with pickled vegetables, homemade hummus has gotten a reputation for being complicated and time-consuming. Luckily, it’s not! All you need are a few pantry staples, a food processor, and 5-10 minutes.

While I prefer using dried chickpeas cooked from scratch (and cooking them in my Instant Pot, as in the Restaurant-Style Hummus in my cookbook), canned chickpeas also work perfectly fine in this recipe.

If you want the creamiest, smoothest hummus that’s not grainy, take a few extra minutes to remove the chickpea skins. You don’t have to remove the skins one by one. Just place the chickpeas on a clean dish towel or a few paper towels, cover, and rub gently. You’ll see that many of the skins slip right off.

And if you can’t get all the skins off, it’s not a big deal.


Lentils are one of the staples in my diet, so I always have at least a few dried varieties in my pantry. This recipe uses French green lentils, which retain a bite and don’t get mushy. I prefer using them or Black Beluga lentils when I’m making a side dish such as this (as opposed to a soup, dal, stew, curry, etc.) But if you can’t find them, regular green or brown lentils are fine too.

Lentils are best known for being a health food, and they certainly are. But they can also taste really indulgent if you know how to cook and flavor them well.

These lentils get extra flavor from aromatics–cumin seeds and garlic–and being cooked in vegetable broth, instead of water. After cooking, they get hit with more flavor from tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and then creamified from tahini.


Farro is my favorite grain. I love it’s chewy bite and nutty taste. It does contain gluten, so if you’re gluten-free, substitute with quinoa, millet, or brown rice.

Instead of cooking farro in plain ol’ water, I season the water with salt, pepper, garlic, and bay leaves. Again, we’re building flavor!

Most store-bought farro is pearled or semi-pearled, and cooks quicker than traditional farro, which can take 45 minutes. Pearled usually takes only 15-20 minutes; semi-pearled 20-30 minutes.

That’s all you need to know about these easy, budget-friendly Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls. If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your recreations and please comment with your feedback below!

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Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls

5 from 39 votes
Gourmet but easy to make, these Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls are packed with fiber and protein and are great for weeknight dinners as well as meal prep.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4


PICKLED ONIONS (Makes 1 large jar of pickled onions)


  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) water
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (or a mixture of both)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or organic cane sugar)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns (optional)

CREAMY MEDITERRANEAN LENTILS (Makes about 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds*
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ⅔ - 2 ¾ cups (640 - 660 mL) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (180g) French green lentils
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2-3 teaspoons tamari (depends on how salty your vegetable broth is)

FARRO (Makes about 2 1/2 cups cooked farro)


  • 1 cup (180g) farro, pearled or semi-pearled (can sub any gluten-free grain, such as quinoa, millet or brown rice)
  • 2 ½ cups (600 mL) water
  • Kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves (optional, for seasoning)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper (optional, for seasoning)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced in half (optional, for seasoning)

CLASSIC HUMMUS (Makes about 1 1/2 cups hummus)


  • 1 (15-ounce / 440g) can chickpeas, or 1 ¾ cups (260-280g) cooked chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup (75g) tahini
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons ice water
  • For serving: extra virgin olive oil, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, paprika.


Pickled Onions Directions

  • Bring the water to a gentle boil, using a kettle or on the stove. Slice the onion very thinly. Place the onion slices in a large mason jar.
  • Mix together the hot water, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns. Stir to combine until the syrup or sugar is dissolved. Pour the pickling liquid over the sliced onions in the jar.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. You can serve now, but I prefer to refrigerate them for a more developed flavor.

Creamy Mediterranean Lentils Directions

  • Heat a large, deep nonstick frying pan or a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and cumin seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pan, then add the lentils. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are tender but still al dente.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the tahini and tamari, and stir well into the lentils. Taste for seasonings, and season with salt (as needed) and freshly cracked black pepper.

Farro Directions

  • Add the water to a medium saucepan, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Add the farro and seasonings, then reduce to a simmer and cook until al dente-- tender yet chewy. For pearled farro, it should take 15-20 minutes; for semi-pearled farro, 20-30 minutes.
  • Once al dente, drain the farro through a sieve and discard the aromatics. If you have the time, spread the farro out on a sheet tray to cool and dry out--this helps prevent it from getting mushy.

Classic Hummus Directions

  • Add the chickpeas to a food processor and blend for 2 minutes until you have a thick paste-like puree, scraping down the sides with a silicone spatula as needed.
  • Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt. With the motor running, stream in the ice water, a little at a time, until the hummus is thick yet smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings and add more salt, lemon juice, garlic, or cumin as needed. If the hummus is still too thick for your liking, add a tablespoon or two more of ice water.
  • Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Ideally, let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.
  • When ready to serve, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, parsley, and paprika.


* If you don’t have cumin seeds, use 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin along with the lentils.

Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 732mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 28g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 112IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 7mg

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5 from 39 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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61 comments on Mediterranean Lentil and Grain Bowls

  1. Will

    5 stars
    I love the mix of flavors and textures in this. I added some roasted sweet potatoes and diced cucumber to round out the meal.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Will, Thank you for your thoughtful review! We’re so happy to hear that you enjoyed the bowls!

  2. Luna

    5 stars
    This was excellent. I did add some feta and red pepper flakes to my grain/lentil mix. Very flavorful combo when you have all the components in a spoonful. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Luna! We’re delighted you enjoyed the lentil and grain bowls.

  3. Lindsay

    5 stars
    I am gluten free so I used brown rice in this recipe. It’s so delicious! The lentils are delicious, and the sharp tang of the pickled onions is a nice compliment to the creamy savory flavors of the lentils and hummus. It’s so easy to make, too. I’ll definitely make this again

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Happy to hear that substitution worked well for you, Lindsay! Thanks for the review :)

  4. Brooke

    5 stars
    This recipe gave me faith in grain bowls again! The lentils were excellent, even just using what I had in the pantry. I’m sure they’d be even better with the green lentils! I used quinoa instead of farro, and also couldn’t believe how quick and easy and delicious the hummus was!! Who knew!! Plus I’ve tried to make pickled onions a ton of times and this was the one time they turned out great. Tysm Nisha!!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re so happy that the lentil and grain bowls turned out well for you, Brooke. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and for trying out the recipe!

  5. Jessi

    Can I use canned or pre-cooked lentils for this? If so, how would I change the liquid amounts in the recipe?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Jessi, yes you can. Since the lentils are already cooked, you wouldn’t need much liquid, just enough to give the lentils a saucy texture. We’d guess you’d need more than ½ cup. Enjoy!

  6. Anjani

    Would it be possible to provide a link to the lentils used in the recipes for purchase? Or tell me the post where the links are mentioned?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Anjani, French green lentils are used in this recipe. We buy them from the grocery store but feel free to buy them online if you’d like! There isn’t any specific brand we recommend over others.

  7. Mandi Brower

    5 stars
    My 11yr old daughter begs me to make this for dinners so she can take the leftovers to school the next they. So delicious!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Mandi! It makes us happy to know that you two enjoyed the recipe.

  8. Faith Talley

    5 stars
    Wow, this was a slam dunk! I didn’t make the hummus(I already had avocado hummus prepped) and I used barley instead of farro as it was what I had on hand.
    I pressure cooked the barley in my instant pot to speed things up.
    Using stock for the lentils and barley make all the difference here and the added aromatics really amp up the flavor.
    I added some charred broccoli for some greens on the plate.
    Super yummy!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you so much for sharing, Faith! It’s great to hear you had success with the recipe :)

  9. Emily

    5 stars
    Oh my lawd this dish was amazing! A cozy flavorful combo of creamy lentils, farro, and hummus with a bit of brightness from the pickled onions and fresh herbs. I mostly stuck to the recipe besides adding 1/2 tsp of coriander to the lentils, adding fresh mint for additional garnish, and opting for store bought hummus (the olive oil & sea salt kind from Hope Hummus is a new fave and was the perfect complement to this recipe). This recipe will definitely be in rotation throughout the seasons!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Emily!

  10. Teresa

    5 stars
    Great recipes! Everything was easy to make and super delicious.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Teresa!

  11. Penny

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness. Those creamy Mediterranean lentils are amazing. I didn’t want to take time to make the farro, so I used a bed of kale, spinach, chard, cilantro, purple cabbage, carrots, and celery. I placed the pickled red onions, Mediterranean lentils, hummus, and salad mixture on my plate similar to your picture. I topped it with dried currants and some raw walnuts and sunflower seeds. It may be the best lunch salad I ever ate.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Penny. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  12. Jane

    5 stars
    Love love this recipe! We just made it for the second time tonight, following the instructions exactly! Maybe I’m missing it somewhere, but do you happen to know how many servings were in the recipe that the nutrition information was calculated for? Thank you for sharing this!!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Jane, the nutrition facts were calculated for a serving size of 4! So good to hear you love the recipe!

  13. Valerie

    5 stars
    This was quick, easy and most importantly delicious!! Your recipes never disappoint!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Valerie, So glad to hear you love the recipes! :)

  14. Cindy

    5 stars
    I’ve never cooked lentils and I’ve never pickled onions! We had this tonight and it was so good!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Cindy!

  15. Pat

    I loooove how flavorful your recipes are! I feel like a gourmet cook! These lentils with the pickled onions, farro and hummus were amazing!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Pat, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  16. Joanie

    5 stars
    Delicious! You’re recipes I can always count on – 100% – to be delicious. Thanks so much!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Joanie. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

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