I try to pack as many veggies as I can into my meals, especially lunches. I love huge salads for lunch – nothing better than a ton of veggies, some protein, and fresh homemade dressing. They’re delicious, fill me up, and leave me energized during the day.
But in the winter, all of that changes; the last thing I want is a cold salad. But I still want all the good stuff. My solution? This warm, veggie- and nutrient-packed lentil bowl with fresh cilantro dressing. It is delicious, super-customizable, and so easy to make ahead and pack for work, school, or travel.
There are four main parts to this bowl:
- Brown rice (or grain of choice)
- Lentils (I use black lentils, but you can use any color)
- Dressing (homemade, but so easy)
Seems like a lot of work, but I promise it’s as easy as turning on the oven! I like to make four servings of this, so I can bring it to work with me for the week. Feel free to customize with your favorite ingredients, so it’s just how you like it.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Brown Rice (1c)
- Lentils (1c)
- 2-3 red bell peppers
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1Tbsp olive oil (or avocado oil)
- 4-6 cups fresh greens (mixed greens, spinach, arugula all work)
For the dressing:
- 1 large handful cilantro, washed with stems on (if you don’t like cilantro, use basil instead)
- 1 clove garlic (peeled)
- 1/4c + 1Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4c white wine vinegar
- 2Tbsp water to thin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F.
While the oven is preheating, prepare the veggies and cook the rice and the lentils (I cook the rice in an Instant Pot and the lentils on the stovetop).
Prepare the veggies:
- Wash the red peppers, then slice them length-wise into ½-inch thick strips.
- Wash the sweet potato and chop into small cubes (about ¼ inch, this will speed up the cooking).
Cook the veggies:
- Place chopped veggies on 2 separate lined baking sheets (sweet potatoes on one, red peppers on the other). Toss the sweet potatoes with about 1Tbsp olive oil (the peppers bake without oil).
- Bake the peppers for about 15 minutes, until tender.
- Bake the sweet potatoes for about 20-40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cooking time will depend on the size of your sweet potato cubes and the texture you like. Just make sure they are soft enough to puncture with a fork.
Make the dressing:
- In a blender or food processor, combine all dressing ingredients.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
Fill your bowl halfway with your fresh greens of choice, and toss in a small amount of dressing. Layer grains, lentils, and cooked veggies on top. Then combine everything and enjoy. The greens will be slightly cold, and the rest will be warm, which makes for a perfectly-balanced bowl you’ll love!
To pack this up and take it to work later, I recommend two containers. Fill one halfway with greens and a small container of dressing and fill the other with the rice, lentils, and veggies. While the cooked ingredients are reheating in the office microwave, toss the greens in the dressing. Combine everything, and dig in. E