Everyday Grain Bowls

September 26, 2018

I spend most of my weekdays meal prepping and cooking for my clients, which is a dream come true. Most families get an appetizer / salad, a main, and a dessert. Everything is vegan and gluten-free. More and more often, folks are asking me— “But what about you, Marisa? Are you vegan? Are you gluten-free? What do you eat?”

I’m very open with the fact that I am not vegan…but my clients always have been, and continue to be. My cooking has always been bright, light, and plant-forward, and I myself keep a plant-based diet in my own home. Once or twice a week I’ll have chicken or shellfish, and on the weekends I might have some kind of meat, say, for example, if it shows up in tapas (my fave way to eat!) I’m also very open about being gluten-free. In fact, if you know me personally, you’re rolling your eyes right now, because this is pretty much all I talk about  ; )

My everyday food though is always the same, in terms of “format.” When I wake up in the morning, I’m not hungry. I make my way slowly through 2 cups of strong black tea, followed by my daily cacao smoothie (vegan, with coconut milk) chock full of kale and spinach. This takes me until brunchtime / lunchtime. Then I eat for real. Because I’m busy prepping other folks’ food, my own food has to be simple, straightforward, and basically ready to go. Here’s what you need!

BASE LAYER = quinoa, or I like to mix quinoa and millet together, like a kitchari!

This is the part you always want to have ready to go. I generally have 1-2 cups waiting in the fridge that I work my way through over a couple days. If you’re following an ayurvedic plan, this make-ahead strategy won’t work for you, but it’s not too much time to make these fresh each day.

GREENS = kale or spinach, sautee on stovetop in coconut oil, Bragg’s, and hit it at the end with lemon juice or acv

It’s as simple as buying one bag every week each of TJ’s organic kale and TJ’s organic spinach. Boom. You’re ready.

VEG = anything leftover from din din the night before. I love crimini mushrooms.

Don’t overthink it. I’ve never put any veg in a grain bowl that didn’t “work.”

SAUCE = the best part

To be honest, most days I eyeball pour tahini directly from the container, then squeeze sriracha on top of the whole thing and stir everything together in with the food in the bowl. On days with a more measured approach, I’ll soak a cup of cashews for about 30 minutes, then blend with the usual suspects like olive oil, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice.

CRUNCH = entertainment

hemp seed, pepitas, walnut or almond pieces, sesame seeds, shredded coconut, too!

*COCONUT AMINOS = great to have on hand

They are both sweet to satisfy any sweet cravings, and they have the umami saltiness to satisfy you.

**AVOCADO = why not?

umm, so good for you, and oh so pretty when you slice them just so

On hungry days, or if I know I have a long stretch of teaching ahead, I’ll add an egg or take leftover tofu or tempeh from dinner the night before.

What is your everyday go-to when you want to satisfy hunger, sustain energy, make healthy choices, AND feel satisfied? Please share your meal prepping and planning strategies in the comments below!


Marisa LaValette


  1. Sharon Austin

    September 27, 2018

    Hi Marissa!

    This article was awesome. So clear, direct, organized, helpful, flexible, resourceful, encouraging!!I
    And your honesty, sincerity, and humbleness/ generosity must be appreciated by scores of people, I am sure.
    Thank you!I

    ( I used to teach a healthy eating course in adult school, and your method here is kind of the same way I approached and presented it! ( tho different ingredients…but tried to show in the same way a simplification for planning and eating. Love your work here!).

    • Marisa LaValette

      September 27, 2018

      Sharon I had no idea you taught an eating course! Wow! We continue to discover more passions we have in common. Thank you for reading and sharing your insight!

  2. Sharon Austin

    September 27, 2018

    P.S. I, too, don’t feel like I have to have meat every day.
    Just don’t want it sometimes.
    ….but, then…..there’s my husband, who grew up in the ” meat and potatoes every nite” German household style, haha.

    • Marisa LaValette

      September 27, 2018

      Thank you Sharon! Yeah, I grew up eating chicken or pork virtually every night. Fortunately my mom was, and continues to be, a healthy and talented cook, so I had very balanced meals! We are eating less and less meat and are very happy about it, too.

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