Weeknight Cooking

17 Fall Grain Bowls Just as Comforting as Soup

October  4, 2017

In certain parts of the country, people are pulling sweaters out of storage, sipping warm chai lattes, and raking up piles of crunchy leaves. Others are still sweating through their T-shirts. (Hi, Tucson!) It’s definitely fall, but not everyone craves stews and soups.

I have a compromise: grain bowls. Instead of simmering flavors, build layers of roasted vegetables, chewy grains, and tangy dressings. No need to feel left out of fall celebrations. Embrace crispy butternut squash, hearty kale, and creamy lentils just like your chillier countrymen (and women!). Enjoy autumn’s bounty sans sweaters with one of these 17 one-bowl masterpieces. And know that in February, we’ll be the envious ones.

Or dream up your own bowl!

Have you experienced season envy? What do you make to feel better?

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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  • Janet Katz
    Janet Katz
  • btglenn
  • Jnyy
  • Steve Billinger
    Steve Billinger
  • Nora
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Janet K. October 9, 2017
I'm in South Africa but even back in DC we don't have Sprouts. Sounds interesting.
Janet K. October 8, 2017
Though they love couscous here, the Israeli kind is rare and I'm hoarding my one box. I haven't noticed if the barley here is pearled. Must check.
Jnyy October 8, 2017
I’ve seen the Israeli at Sprouts in the bulk section if you happen to have those grocery stores near you.
Janet K. October 8, 2017
I'm an American in South Africa and I haven't been able to find farro. What is a good substitute? I found wheat berries (quite pricey even with the good exchange rate) and I can get barley.
Steve B. October 8, 2017
Pearl Barley and Israeli Couscous are great substitutes.
Nora October 10, 2017
If it helps,Emmer Wheat seems to be what Farro is called in the UK. (I'm not sure if they're identical, or just similar, but I've found on packaging the front label reads Emmer Wheat and then the ingredients list said Farro.)
Janet K. October 12, 2017
I bought a Greek product with a label entirely in Greek and I wondered if it was something like unpearled farro. No idea what was besides "wheat".
btglenn October 5, 2017
You left out Kasha, often combined with bow tie noodles in a mittel European combination called kasha varnichkes Kasha is gluten-free, made from buckwheat groats. Kasha is sold in 3 sizes from fine,medium, to whole which I prefer because it is more hearty. Recipe: To 1 1/2 cups of kasha, add a beaten egg and mix to coat. Heat under low heat until the egg kasha mix dries, in a large, heavy pan that you will use to cook to finish. The egg keeps the kasha from getting mushy which is what happens if you don't coat the grains. You may want to separate the grains as they dry once or twice.
When the grains are dry add to the pot - 3 cups of water or broth seasoned with salt and pepper, heated to boiling, Cover the pot and lower heat and cook the grains until soft, like cooking rice. Fluff the kasha, check seasoning, and serve: To serve plain, add a tablespoon of butter and mix it in. Or, serve with Additions, like a lot of caramelized onions or quick fried or left over chicken, or Varnichkes -- bow ties cooked like any other pasta and added to the cooked and buttered kasha.