Support Your Brain Health – Get Your Copy of My Book,“MIND Diet For Two”

Mediterranean-Style Ancient Grains Bowl with Farro and Roasted Chicken

Published on: March 1, 2024
A white bowl filled with farro, roasted chicken, beets, sweetpotatoes, and kale on a dark beige wooden picnic table.

Bowl recipes have been trending for a while now and with good reason. They are easy to make, great for one or two people, and can be made ahead and stored easily. This ancient grains bowl is made with nutty farro, roasted chicken and vibrant veggies.

As a registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist, bowls are one meal I love to make. They are an easy grab-and-go lunch when I’m in a hurry or have a really busy day and can be pulled together for a quick and healthy dinner.

Plus, bowls are always gorgeous and taste delicious. There are so many ways you can vary the ingredients. They are a great way to use up extra veggies or leftovers and get those whole grains, dark green veggies, and beans in too. 

Let me show you how easy it is to make my favorite, Mediterranean Farro and Roasted Chicken Ancient Grains Bowl. 

What You Will Need to Make My Ancient Grains Bowl

Ingredients used to make an Ancient Grains Bowl on a white marble counter
Ingredients to make an Ancient Grains Bowl


Farro is a whole grain that has been enjoyed in Mediterranean countries for centuries. It is popular in Italy where you’ll see it used in soups and stews. 

Farro is a hearty grain that is chewy and full of fiber and protein. It is a long cooking grain, meaning it takes 20 – 40 minutes to cook, but you can make a pot of it early in the week and then use it a little at a time throughout the week. 

That’s how I ended up creating this recipe. I had some in the fridge and it made an easy and fast dinner for the two of us. 

I think you’ll love adding it to your bowl recipes because it adds a nice texture and delicious nutty flavor, not to mention the good nutrition you get from it. 

½ cup cooked farro (or ¼ cup dry) has: 

  • 190 calories
  • 1 g fat
  • 38g carbohydrates
  • 5 g fiber
  • 6 g protein

Roasted Chicken

You can use any protein including meat, chicken, seafood, tofu, or tempeh too. Bowls are a good way to use up leftovers or reach into your pantry and add canned tuna, salmon, sardines, or chicken. 

For this recipe, I’m using leftover roasted chicken breast that was prepared with my Mediterranean spice blend but just sprinkling it with a mix of basil and oregano or salt and pepper would be delicious too.  


You probably know that kale packs a nutritional punch and is one of the dark green leafy vegetables most often recommended for brain health. Just one serving a day may help slow our cognitive aging. In one study they saw an 11-year difference in cognitive age in people who ate greens at least once a day. 

I love the crunchy texture and flavor kale adds to this dish, but if you aren’t #teamkale, then you can easily swap in baby spinach or other green of your choice! 

If the bitter flavor bothers you, check out my video on how to make it taste less bitter and so much more flavorful! (Note, this doesn’t get rid of the bitter flavor as others will say, but it does tenderize it and mellow the bitterness out a bit.)


Hiding in their gorgeous purple color is a plethora of nutrients that give beets a lot of power. That beautiful dark purple color is a clear indication that beets are full of antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation throughout our body. They are also rich in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.

They also contain nitrates. While that may sound like a scary word, nitrates from food are vital for helping our hearts work properly. When it comes to beets in particular, research is showing that nitrates from beets may also help lower blood pressure and help provide us with more energy to do the things we love.

How does that work? Nitrates increase blood flow so more oxygen travels through our bloodstream. This gives our cells more energy which can increase our stamina and help us stay active longer. You know I’m all about ways to live an active and vital life. Here’s to beets!

You can use canned or jarred beets or these prepackaged, flavored beets. I used beets that were marinated in white wine vinegar for this recipe. You could also make your own, like my beets roasted in cranberry juice


You’ve probably figured out by now that I have added a ton of colorful veggies to this ancient grains bowl. They add some sweetness and texture to the crunchy nutty flavor of the farro. Plus, they help make a beautiful bowl. 

More importantly, sweetpotatoes are sweeter and contain more vitamin A, beta-carotene, protein, and iron than yams. Yams are starchier, and have more fiber and vitamin C than sweet potatoes.  

And no, that is not a typo! Sweetpotatoes is one word according to the National Sweetpotatoes Collaborators and North Carolina Sweetpotatos.  


Toasted walnuts add a nice crunch to this bowl, along with healthy plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. They are one of my top 5 favorite nuts because of their flavor and their nutritional benefits. You can read all about that in my article The Top 5 Nuts for Brain Health.

I always recommend toasting nuts before using them. It’s quick to do and is an easy way to bump up the flavor of your recipes. Just a minute or two in a non-stick frying pan is all it takes! (If you aren’t sure how to do it, check out my video where I walk you through the process.)


Okay, I’m packing the nutrition in this bowl! But it’s more than that with these little greens. Microgreens are baby plants that are harvested shortly after they sprout. They typically have just 2-3 leaves on the stem, are tender, slightly sweet, and packed full of nutrients. 

There are a variety of microgreens available in most grocery stores including broccoli, radish, arugula, kale, and mixed microgreens. Any will work in this recipe. 


The dressing in this bowl does two things. First, it adds flavor and a bit of bite and really pulls everything together. Second, the oil in the dressing helps you absorb all those healthy nutrients that are packed into this dish. 

I used my Simple Walnut Oil Salad Dressing for this. The walnut oil in the dressing brings out the nuttiness of the farro and pulls the other flavors together. You could also use an Italian dressing or a lighter lemony vinaigrette.

How to Make It

Bowls are simple to make and are a great way to use up leftovers. Because so many of the ingredients in this were done ahead and I used prepackaged beets this bowl came together quickly. If you have to cook the farro and roast the chicken and sweetpotatoes it will take longer.

Here’s how I made it:

Step 1: Cook the Farro

If you haven’t already, cook the farro. I cook mine in vegetable or chicken broth with a little olive oil. Both add some extra flavor. You can cook it in water if you don’t have broth. Follow the package directions to cook it. 

Remember, you can make a bigger pot of this and use it throughout the week to save time!

Step 2: Roast the Chicken and Sweetpotatoes

Both of these can also be made ahead but if you are making them just for the bowl, season the chicken with a blend of basil and oregano or salt and pepper. Toss the sweetpotatoes in a bit of olive oil with some kosher salt. 

Place both on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F and the sweetpotatoes should be browned. 

Step 3: Prepare the Kale and Cut the Beets

Wash and dry the kale. Remove the tough stems and break the kale into smaller, bite-size pieces. Drizzle a little olive oil on the kale and gently rub it into the leaves to help tenderize it and mellow the flavor.

Dice the beets into bite size pieces.

Step 4: Assemble Your Bowl

  • Place the farro in the middle of your bowl.
  • Add the sweetpotatoes, beets and kale to the sides.
  • Top it with sliced chicken
  • Sprinkle the toasted walnuts and microgreens on top and drizzle with the dressing. 


Make this to take on the go as a Mason Jar Salad!

Ancient grains bowl packed in a mason jar sitting on a marble counter top.

  • Place the dressing in the bottom of the jar.
  • Add the chicken (dice it in cubes to make it easier to fit and eat)
  • Add the microgreens, sweetpotatoes, beets and then the farro to the jar in layers.
  • Place the kale on the top and add the walnuts on the very top. 
  • Place the jar in the refrigerator. 
  • It will keep in the fridge for 2 – 3 days. 

Storage Tips

This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days. Add the dressing just before eating. 

The mason jar version will keep everything fresh, but you can also prepare the ingredients ahead of time, store them separately and build your bowl just before you eat.  

Other Recipes You Will Love

If you love hearty grains as a part of a meal I think you’ll love these as well!

Zesty Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Almonds

Winter Farro Salad with Citrus

A white bowl filled with farro, roasted chicken, beets, sweetpotatoes, and kale on a dark beige wooden picnic table.

Mediterranean-Style Ancient Grains Bowl with Farro and Roasted Chicken

Farro makes the hearty base of this dish and provides a slightly nutty flavor that is accented by roasted beets, chicken and sweetpotatoes. The kale and walnuts add a bit of crunch and walnut salad dressing pulls it all together.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 2
Calories 620 kcal


  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • 1 roasted chicken breast sliced thinly or diced
  • 1 cup roasted sweetpotatoes diced
  • 1 cup roasted beets diced
  • 2 cups kale pieces gently massaged with olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts toasted
  • ¼ cup microgreens
  • ¼ cup Simple Walnut Oil Salad Dressing


  • Place ½ cup of farro in each bowl.
  • Top the farro in each bowl with ½ the chicken, sweetpotatoes, beets and kale.
  • Sprinkle 2 tbsp. walnuts and microgreens over each bowl. Drizzle with the dressing.


Calories: 620kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 40gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 680mgPotassium: 810mgFiber: 12gSugar: 14gCalcium: 90mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Ancient grains, Beets, Dinner for two, Farro, Make Ahead
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Laura M. Ali, RD holding a bowl of pomegranate seeds

Hi! I’m Laura!

I love to cook and share simple tricks and tips to make healthy meals taste delicious.

My goal is to create delicious meals that will support your health and give you energy, along with a sprinkling of nutrition and health information to help you enjoy a long and vibrant life!

learn more

This 7 day meal plan gives you full meals that fit the MIND diet. It comes with selected recipes and a shopping list to help you get started on improving your brain health!

download the free guide

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This