These vegetarian grain bowls are easy to make and full of flavor and nutrients, with roasted pumpkin, green beans, and red onion, tender wheat berries, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and fresh lemon juice.
Three Ways to Make This Recipe Even Quicker
Need dinner on the table in under 45 minutes? Here are some tips for speeding up the process:
1. Use pre-cooked rice or quicker-cooking grains.
Wheat berries are especially suited for this vegetarian grain bowl because their nutty flavor underscores the fall vibes of pumpkin and green beans. However, to save time, you can swap in quinoa or whole wheat couscous instead (which cook in half the time). Or, you can use pre-cooked rice, which is sold in the grain aisle of most grocery stores.
2. Buy pre-cut butternut squash and pre-crumbled feta
I always recommend grating and crumbling cheeses yourself, since most pre-shredded or crumbled options include chemical anti-caking agents, but if you're in a pinch, it's totally fine to let someone else do the work. Similarly, you can almost always find pre-cubed butternut squash in the produce section of major grocery stores; just make sure you cut the cubes into ½-inch pieces so they roast as quickly as possible.
3. Read the recipe the night before and make the most of inactive time while you're cooking.
Don't wait until the last minute to skim the ingredient list and directions. This might seem obvious, but really, reading the recipe as thoroughly as possible is the best way to avoid time-sucking bloopers in the kitchen.
Also, make sure you follow the recipe steps in order and use preheating, boiling, and roasting time to your advantage. This easy grain bowl has a bunch of different components, but each one is easy to prepare and can be prepped while something else cooks:
- Chop your vegetables, then start cooking the wheat berries while the oven preheats.
- Season the veggies while the wheat berries start to cook, then put them in the oven. They need to cook for about 10 minutes less than the wheat berries to, so the two components will be done around the same time.
- Make the vinaigrette and toast the walnuts while the vegetables roast and the wheat berries finish cooking.
- Saucepan or pot
- Large rimmed baking sheet
For the wheat berries
- 2 cups wheat berries, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
For the bowl
- 2½ pounds pumpkin or other winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium red onion, halved and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup raw unsalted walnuts, chopped
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- 3 to 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled, divided
For the vinaigrette
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle.
To cook the wheat berries
- Place the wheat berries and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan and pour in enough water to cover the wheat berries by an inch or two. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water and wheat berries come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook for 25 minutes.
- Stir in the dried cranberries and continue cooking for 5 more minutes or until the wheat berries are tender. (This could take longer, depending on the type of wheat berry you choose; if you’re using quick-cooking farro, on the other hand, it could take as little as 10 minutes.) Drain the wheat berries and cranberries in a fine-mesh strainer, return them to their saucepan, and cover with the lid to keep warm.
To roast the veggies and prepare the bowls
- While you wait for the water to boil, combine the cubed pumpkin, green beans, onion wedges, and rosemary sprigs in a large bowl. Add ¼ cup olive oil 11/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Toss until all the vegetables are coated in oil, then dump the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and browned. Remove and discard the rosemary sprigs.
- When the veggies are almost done roasting, place the walnuts in a small skillet and toast them over medium-high heat until they just begin to brown, 2 to 5 minutes.
To make the vinaigrette
- Pour or squeeze the lemon juice into a medium bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until the mixture looks creamy, then whisk in the rosemary, salt, and a grind or two of black pepper. Taste and add more salt as needed.
To assemble and serve the bowls
- Pour the dressing over the cooked wheat berries, add half of the crumbled feta, and toss well to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Divide the wheat berries among 4 to 6 individual bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables, walnuts, and remaining crumbled feta cheese. Serve with lemon wedges and more olive oil for drizzling.
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*Recipe adapted from this one by Marley Spoon.