Mediterranean Grain Bowl


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Beans, greens, grains, and nuts are the four top Blue Zones foods to always have in your kitchen. This Mediterranean-style grain bowl combines them and is topped with a lemon tahini herb sauce for a nutrient-dense, delicious meal.

Recipe from Dr. Dean and Dr. Ayesha Sherzai

Yield: 2-3 servings


4 cups kale

Juice of half a lemon

2 large sweet potatoes, skinned and chopped into 1-inch cubes

Extra-virgin olive oil spray

1 ½ cup of cooked chickpeas, or one can organic chickpeas, drained

½ teaspoon each turmeric, coriander, and cumin

¼ teaspoon each smoked paprika garlic powder and cayenne

1 cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed and drained

1 ¾ cups water

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

Sea salt to taste

A pinch of fresh-ground black pepper

½ cup of Lemon Tahini Herb Sauce

2-3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, for garnish

Dill, for garnish


  1. Begin with de-stemming the kale. Cut or tear the leaves into small, bite-size pieces. Add the lemon juice and sea salt and, using your hands, take a minute or so to massage them into the kale, and squeeze the kale around to soften them.
  2. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread the sweet potato cubes on one-half of the baking sheet. Spray with the olive oil over the potatoes and toss until coated (omit for a fat-free version). Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
  4. Place the drained chickpeas in a bowl. Add all the spices and toss to combine. Transfer to the other half of the baking sheet and spread in one layer.
  5. Place the sweet potatoes and chickpeas in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and gently flip the sweet potatoes and roll the chickpeas (for even cooking). Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Roast until the chickpeas are golden and slightly crispy and the sweet potatoes are lightly browned and fork-tender.
  6. While the potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, cook the quinoa. Thoroughly rinse the quinoa with water in a fine-mesh sieve. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the rinsed quinoa and lightly dry-sauté it for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently; this brings out the quinoa’s nutty flavor. Then add the water, turmeric powder, black pepper, and sea salt to the quinoa and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 18-20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender and fluffy. Once cooked, remove from the heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  7. Place the seasoned kale in a large shallow bowl. Add a scoop of quinoa and a generous serving of sweet potatoes, and then sprinkle chickpeas on top. Drizzle with Lemon Tahini Herb Sauce. Garnish with sunflower seeds and more dill.

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