I’ve recently become enamored of Buddha Bowls, because who doesn’t like a tasty, balanced, and pretty meal in a bowl? And, I know that Buddha bowls are traditionally vegan, or at least vegetarian, but I couldn’t get the image of a grilled chicken caesar salad out of my head. By itself, that’s a little boring and commonplace. Add some farro, edamame, and cherry tomatoes and turn it into Buddha bowl? Now you’re talking!
I know that some of you are out there are where I was not that long ago, and wondering what the heck I’m talking about.
What is a Buddha bowl?
Buddha bowls are colorful and healthful meals in a bowl. They contain a variety of colors, flavors, and textures so they are as great to look at as they are to eat. Basically, what you need is a protein (preferably a lean protein), a grain, greens, and vegetables. And, oh yes, a great sauce!
For my caesar salad bowl I decided to use grilled chicken thighs as my protein. Then, I knew I wanted to add some tomatoes for that pop of color. The grain took a little thought, but I have long wanted to try farro and this seemed a perfect opportunity. (Which it was! I LOVE it!) As for the edamame, I had some in my fridge. 🙂 But the moment I added them in, I knew they were the last element I needed.
All that was left was to grill up some bread to stand in for the croutons, shave parmesan over it all, and whip up some of my totally excellent homemade caesar dressing!
Tip: If you don’t have edamame, either chopped green beans or avocado would make a great substitution.
What is farro?
I am not an expert on farro, but it is a grain I’ve had in restaurants which I have been planning to cook, and now I have. It is an ancient grain which has been popular in Mediterranean diets for thousands of years. It is a type of wheat, so it is NOT gluten-free! In fact it is thought to be the original wheat.
What it looks like is a grain of rice. It cooks up to be a little nutty, though fairly mild, which makes it a good base for all sorts of recipes. And it has a great chewy texture which I really enjoy!
In various supermarkets near me, I’ve found it in the Italian section, in the whole grain organic section, and in the rice section. It may be a bit of a treasure hunt to snag some, but I think it’s worth it. You can buy it in whole grain, semi pearled, and pearled versions. However, the only type in my markets is the pearled version, so that’s what I bought. Perhaps I’ll order some of the other types for comparisons in the future.
I’ve since written an ingredient spotlight on farro with all the info you need!
How do you cook farro?
As for cooking it, I’ve only tried one method so far, but it works perfectly so I don’t see any reason to change it! (Unless I decide to try a risotto. 🙂 ) While looking for advice on cooking the grain, I came across an article on Epicurious which advocates using the ‘pasta method.’ I thought, why not? I heated up a large pot of water, added some salt, added my pearled farro, and cooked it until it was done.
Boom! Drain and eat.
Tip: If you have whole grain farro, you will need to soak it overnight according to everything I’ve read! I’m personally quite happy with my pearled variety. It cooks quickly and still has a fair amount of fiber. Win/win.
There, now y’all are full of knowledge! Next up I would recommend being full of grilled chicken caesar salad bowls! You really can’t go wrong with my caesar salad dressing and now you can have it over a whole meal in bowl.
And let’s note it’s perfect for those nights you are sitting on the couch having a tv night and want to keep the dog out of your food! There is something to be said for being able to lift up and defend your whole meal at once.
If you try my recipe for Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Bowls, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Grilled Chicken and Farro Caesar Salad Bowl
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 dashes cayenne powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 medium (about 1 1/4 lbs) boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup pearled farro
- 4 slices dinner bread
- 16 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cooked edamame
- Caesar Salad Dressing
- Marinate the chicken thighs: In a large resealable bag, add lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, paprika, cayenne, salt, and olive oil. Shake the ingredients to mix them well, then add the chicken and turn it in the bag to coat it on all sides. Put the bag in a bowl (in case it leaks) and put it all in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
- Make the farro: The farro can be made up to two days ahead. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add the farro. Reduce the heat to keep the water at a low boil and cook until the farro is tender but still chewy. For pearled farro this will take about 18-20 minutes. When the farro is done, drain it and then fluff it up with a fork to let it cool.
- Preheat the grill.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade. Set the grill to medium heat. Grill the chicken on one side for 5 minutes. Flip and grill it on the other for 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low, cover the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes more, or until the chicken reaches 165F. Remove the chicken from the grill, let it rest for 5 minutes, and then slice each thigh into several, bite-sized slices.
- Once the chicken is done, brush the bread with a bit of oil and put it on the grill for 1-2 minutes per side.
- To assemble the caesar salad bowls, fill four bowls with romaine lettuce. Top with sliced chicken, tomato halves, edamame, and farro. Drizzle each salad with Caesar Salad Dressing, leaving any extra in a bowl to the side. Grab a slice of grilled bread and a fork and eat!
- Nutritional Information: Calories are an estimate and only include the salad ingredients. Dressing will add more calories to the count.
- Using Leftover Chicken: This salad is a great use for leftover grilled chicken. Just slice it up and you're ready to go.
- Dressing: I use my Caesar Salad Dressing on the salad.