A few weeks ago I was having some serious off-plan food cravings and wanted to eat at Panera Bread.
Panera Bread has some great salad options so I knew I didn't have to eat off-plan, but I really wanted to!
I've learned that it's way better to have a crossover than to go off-plan – so I got as close to a crossover as I could. I spotted Panera Bread's Warm Grain Mediterranean Bowl and ordered it with an apple on the side.
Most of the ingredients were on-plan, but from my research I don't think the two dressings in this bowl are on-plan. So I made my own version, completely on-plan, with options to keep it as a THM E or to turn it into a crossover.
This has become my favorite, go-to E meal. It's packed with veggies and healthy carbs, but it's really simple and delicious! (If you want more E-friendly ideas, I have over 250+ ideas in a free download at the bottom of this post!)
The recipe below takes a little time if you are making the rice, quinoa, and chicken at the time that you make the bowl. I batch cook brown rice in my Instant Pot every week to freeze to use later, but if I didn't, I'd use pre-cooked brown rice from the freezer section at the grocery store to save time.
Grabbing pre-cooked and frozen rice and quinoa and adding pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken makes this bowl a quick and easy option – a perfect Trim Healthy Mama friendly E lunch for busy days.
If I mix just a smear of low-fat hummus into the Greek yogurt, it makes a creamy dressing that lets you get a lot of the flavor throughout the bowl. Alternatively, you could add a garnish amount of reduced-fat feta cheese for a good Greek flavor. You'll just want to watch the fat to make sure you don't go over the 5 grams Trim Healthy Mama allows in an E meal.
To make this meal for the whole family, I make 2 cups of dry rice, 1 cup of quinoa, and dd extra veggies and chicken.
Copycat Panera Bread Warm Grain Mediterranean Bowl
- 1/2 cup cooked long-grain brown rice
- 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp low-fat hummus (optional garnish – if total fat is not under 5 grams it could create a crossover)
- 2 tbsp 0% Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp Greek seasoning (optional)
- 1 tbsp reduced-fat feta cheese (optional garnish – if total fat is not under 5 grams it could create a crossover)
For the Grains
- Combine rice and quinoa in a bowl and squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the grain mixture. Season with optional Greek seasoning if desired and salt and pepper to taste.
For the Chicken
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Season chicken breast with garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano.
- Bake chicken for 18 minutes, or until it's cooked through with an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. Remove from oven and chop into bite-sized pieces when cool enough to handle.
Assemble the Bowl
- Layer rice, quinoa, arugula, cucumbers and tomatoes in a bowl.
- Top with chicken.
- Garnish with a large dollop of Greek yogurt and a small amount of feta cheese and hummus as a garnish, if using.