Brown Rice Grain Bowl with Basil Dressing

What’s the best part about grain bowls, you ask? Well, you didn’t actually ask. But if you did, I’d say – the best part is customizability. Hands down.

A grain bowl, for the uninitiated, is a single bowl or dish meal containing smaller amounts of several different foods placed atop a grain base such as quinoa, farro or brown rice. There are endless variations of this theme which include meat or fish, served hot or cold, with all manner of cooked and raw vegetables, legumes, raw or dried fruits, seeds, nuts, cheese, and dressings.

This grain bowl has a base of brown rice topped with sweet potato cubes, wilted spinach, thin red onion slices, fresh juicy blueberries, crunchy pumpkin seeds and a make-your-mouth-water basil vinaigrette. Vibrant color and varied textures galore. I mean, just look at this picture, it’s a thing of beauty.

My Healthy Harvest – Brown Rice Grain Bowl with Basil Dressing

Let’s talk about the dressing a little more, shall we? The olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing is absolutely bursting with fresh basil. This is the real, basil-y deal. A whole 1/4 cup of packed basil goes into this dressing. And there is not very much dressing here, people. Just enough to give a good drizzle over the top of the whole grain bowl. This stuff is seriously yummy.

The aroma of fresh, local basil in your kitchen should be intoxicating. The arrival of basil in markets and gardens practically announces the start of summer as far as I am concerned. If you can get your hands on some ultra fresh, fragrant basil, please use it here.

No garden or market? You’re in luck. Thankfully, this time of year, many grocery store produce sections sell entire potted basil plants. This will be the best tasting basil in the store. Buy this instead of the pale (in comparison) green leaves in the plastic mini clamshell if possible.

Regardless of where your basil came from, this is a hearty meal. It’s fair game for breakfast served warm and topped with a runny egg . To do this, I suggest preparing all ingredients ahead of time. Store the onion, blueberries and pumpkin seeds separately from the cooked ingredients. This will allow the cooked ingredients to be reheated selectively and minimize morning prep time. After heating, continue with assembly as instructed in the recipe below with the addition of the aforementioned runny egg if this sort of thing floats your boat.

Headed back to the office? Going on a picnic? Returning to school? Throw this one dish meal into a food storage container and away you go! Not only can you choose which ingredients go in your grain bowl, you can choose what time of day to eat it, too. Customizable to your tastes. Customizable to your day.

Brown Rice Grain Bowl with Basil Dressing

A base of brown rice topped with sweet potato cubes, wilted spinach, thinly sliced red onion, fresh juicy blueberries, crunchy pumpkin seeds and dressing packed with fresh basil.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nightshade-free, nut-free, soy-free


Brown Rice Grain Bowl

  • 1 cup brown rice, dry I used brown basmati rice
  • 1 3/4 cup water or quantity recommended in the instructions on your package of rice
  • 4 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1/2 to 3/4" cubes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sprinkle salt
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

Basil Dressing

  • 1/4 cup basil, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil


  • In medium size sauce pan, cook rice according to instructions on package. For my rice, I boiled the water. Then added the rice, covered with the lid, and reduced the heat to low. Rice took about 40 minutes to cook.
  • While rice is cooking, cook sweet potatoes in a large skillet. Put skillet on cooktop over medium-high heat. Heat oil until shimmering, then add sweet potatoes and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally. Cook until tender and lightly browning on edges. Heat may need to be adjusted depending on your cooktop. Rice and sweet potatoes finish cooking about the same time. Remove from heat when cooked.
  • Add spinach to pan with sweet potatoes, stir lightly to combine. Spinach will wilt from residual heat in the pan, especially if using enameled cast iron as I did.
  • Using rice as the base, assemble the grain bowl in individual bowls or dishes. Toppings can be scattered over the top (as pictured) or clustered into little sections. Top rice with sweet potato and spinach mixture, sliced red onion, blueberries and pumpkin seeds.
  • To make the dressing, add all dressing ingredients in a blender. Blend until basil leaves are no longer intact, a couple minutes depending on your blender. Scape down sides as needed. Dressing will be green and homogenous. Drizzle dressing over top of grain bowl. Serve right away or refrigerate and enjoy later cold.


May use an immersion blender or food processor instead of a traditional blender for basil dressing, though results may not be quite as good. If you don’t have any of these tools, I suggest chopping the basil as finely as possible with a chef’s knife. Add all dressing ingredients, including basil, to a mason jar. With the lid on the jar, shake vigorously until evenly mixed.
May use pressure cooker such as Instant Pot to cook rice instead of using stovetop method, if preferred. 

Harvest Salad

This salad truly tastes like a celebration of Fall in a bowl, and it comes together with only minutes of hands-on cooking time. In the midst of the busyness of the holidays, we all seem to have an abundance of “extras” on our to-do lists while treats persistently loom nearby. The temptation to over-indulge is sky high! As a result, the question of “what to eat?” sometimes feels more daunting than usual. Have no worries, friends, this salad will keep you nourished, satisfied, and back to the holiday festivities in a flash! And it’s seriously delish. 

Seasonal fruits are the true jewels of this Harvest Salad. Their flavors are sweet and tart and there’s something undeniable about their visual appeal. Crisp juicy apples are, for many people, the quintessential autumnal fruit. An abundance of varieties are readily available in stores now – take advantage and try something new! The satisfying chew and bursts of flavor from dried cranberries can’t be beat! Roasted brussels sprouts and red onion contribute savory saltiness and a bit of a bite. A mix of three kinds of salad greens, arugula, spinach, and butter lettuce, keeps the salad base interesting. The greens have a mix of crunchy and delicate textures. Mild flavor from the butter lettuce and a peppery spiciness from the arugula. Top that all off with some crunchy pumpkin seeds, and you’ve got yourself a real salad. No boring, wimpy salad here! 

Another convenience is that ingredients can effortlessly be swapped out depending on what’s on hand or your taste preferences. Swap pears for apples, cherries for cranberries, carrots for brussels sprouts, or almonds for pumpkin seeds. So many possibilities, surely there’s something for everyone!

I highly recommend topping this salad with my Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette (post coming soon). The sweet-savory flavor perfectly compliments this Harvest Salad and adds to the all-things-fall feel. Even if you’re in a time crunch, this dressing comes together in under 5 minutes and really “makes” this salad! Top with some shredded rotisserie chicken or goat cheese, if dairy is tolerated,  to quickly turn this salad into a stand-alone meal. Enjoy!

Harvest Salad

Crisp salad greens topped with roasted brussels sprouts, seasonal fruit, red onion and pumpkin seeds. Pairs beautifully with a savory-sweet dressing such as my Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette. (AIP option, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings


Harvest Salad

  • 1 big handful arugula
  • 1 big handful spinach
  • 2 big handfuls butter lettuce
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on size
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread brussel sprouts on a baking sheet. Coat brussels sprouts with olive oil, and shake pan to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven for about 25 minutes, giving the pan a shake about every 10 minutes to move the sprouts around, until brussels sprouts are moderately browned and tender. Remove from oven. Allow to cool.
  • Assemble salad in a large bowl- adding greens, red onion, roasted brussels sprouts, apple slices, dried cranberries, and sprinkling with pumpkin seeds on top.
  • At time of serving, drizzle desired amount of dressing on top. 


Dressing recommendation: my Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette.
Best enjoyed the day prepared. May prepare in advance. If doing so, add dressing at time of serving to keep lettuce crisp.
Will last a day or two in the refrigerator.
AIP option - omit pumpkin seeds

Tex Mex Sweet Potato Beef Skillet

In the mood for a smoky, satisfying dinner which can be cooked in a single skillet? Try this Tex Mex Sweet Potato Beef Skillet. It’s chock full of vegetables – satisfying sweet potatoes, sauteed onions, wilted spinach, creamy avocado, and layers of flavor boosting ingredients, including lime juice, scallions, cilantro, oregano, and cumin! This skillet meal also has a variety of textures thanks to the mix of cooked and fresh produce. Grab a spoon and dig into this one dish meal tonight!

Tex Mex Sweet Potato Beef Skillet

Hearty skillet meal with smoky Southwest flavored ground beef and lots of veggies.  (AIP option, paleo option, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings


Cooked Vegetables

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (omit for paleo, AIP)
  • 1 large handfull spinach


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin (omit for AIP)
  • 1 tsp oregano

Fresh Garnishes

  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


  • In a large skillet on medium-high heat, add all ingredients under "Beef" ingredient heading above. Stir occasionally until fully cooked and browned. Remove from heat, pouring into a bowl and covering.
  • In skillet, add sweet potatoes, olive oil, 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are lightly browned and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Add ground beef back into pan along with corn and cook until heated. Remove from heat. Add spinach and gently incorporate while allowing spinach to wilt.
  • Garnish with sliced avocado, lime wedges, scallions, and cilantro.


Best served immediately.
If made in advance, store garnishes separately from rest of cooked sweet potato beef skillet to allow for reheating before adding fresh garnishes.

Sheet Pan Dinner – Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Turkey with Roasted Veggies

Are you looking for an allergy-friendly holiday meal? This sheet pan dinner with spinach artichoke stuffed turkey and roasted vegetables fits the bill! This elegant, festive meal is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. However, it is also simple enough to be prepared alongside a traditionally prepared bird, if this best suits your group’s holiday meal needs, to make sure there are safe, tasty dinner options for everyone. If this recipe will be the “main event,” it can easily be doubled, tripled, etc to feed larger crowds.  And, of course, the sheet pan dinner template just screams – easy, cozy dinner at home anytime! It’s delicious, and I bet you’ll want to make it again and again!


Look at those nice, roasty bits on the carrots and brussel sprouts! So delicious! These are packed with fall flavor. Roasting is my favorite way to prepare vegetables. They are guaranteed to develop rich, complex flavor.

If you haven’t cared for brussel sprouts in the past, I encourage you to try them again when roasted. However, you could easily substitute cubes of another slower cooking vegetable such as beets, butternut squash, or potato (sweet or white) with a similar cooking time. While these options are starchier, broccoli or pearl onions would be tasty lower carbohydrate options, though they would require a shorter cook time.


I’ve been drooling over the vegetables so much, I almost forgot to tell you about the turkey… the skin is light and crispy, thanks to a coating of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt prior to baking at a higher temperature. Also, the herby lemon spinach artichoke stuffing under the turkey skin bakes flavor right into the turkey meat. If you’ve never tried this technique of stuffing flavorful goodness between the meat and the skin, you’re in for a treat. It adds festive flare and is much easier and more forgiving than it might seem. Even if the skin tears or comes disconnected on one side, just smooth it out and lay it down – crisis averted 🙂

Practicality points: While the skin won’t be crispy the next day, all other aspects of the dish keep and reheat well as leftovers, too. Because the turkey breast is so much smaller than a whole bird and will cook much faster, there is no need to baste or use a roasting pan! Yay for less dishes and less work!

Sheet Pan Dinner - Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Turkey with Roasted Veggies

Capture the flavors of Fall with this unique rendition of a turkey dinner. (AIP, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, seed-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1-1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 9 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, zest of
  • 1/2 small lemon, juice of
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 2-1/2 pound split turkey breast, with skin and bone
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts, quartered or halved
  • 1 pound rainbow carrots, peeled


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a medium sized glass bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat frozen spinach in the microwave on high for 1 minute, or until warm. With a fork, press out and drain as much liquid from the spinach as possible.
  • Then add remaining ingredients of spinach artichoke stuffing to the bowl/glass measuring cup: artichokes, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Stir to thoroughly combine.
  • Place turkey breast on sheet pan. With clean hands, gently separate the turkey skin from meat starting on one end of the turkey breast and moving across to the opposite end, creating a pocket or tunnel, with the sides remaining attached.
  • Gently, "stuff" handfuls or spoonfuls of spinach artichoke stuffing under the turkey skin, ensuring stuffing is roughly evenly distributed across the turkey breast.
  • Brush 1 Tbsp olive oil on turkey breast skin and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp sea salt.
  • Place turkey in the oven and bake uncovered for about 40 minutes, then increase the heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the carrots and brussel sprouts to the sheet pan. Drizzle remaining 4 Tbsp olive oil over veggies. Sprinkle remaining 1 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp pepper over vegetables.
  • When turkey skin is nicely browned, cover with aluminum foil to limit further browning/avoid burning. Be sure to tuck foil closely around the turkey to allow the veggies to roast uncovered.
  • Cook turkey until internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit at the center of the thickest part of the breast. Cook veggies until tender and browned, about 30 minutes.


Based on the exact size/thickness of your meat and veggie pieces, your food may cook a little slower or faster. It's better to remove one component or the other early, allowing the rest to roast a little longer, than have overcooked food. So do keep an eye on things as the food gets closer to being done!