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12 Tasty Sauces For Grain Bowls

These grain bowl sauces are here to turn your boring bowl of grains into something seriously special.

Grain bowls can be deliciously healthy, but sometimes you need to add a flavorful sauce or two to really bring out the best in them!

That’s why I’ve rounded up 12 delicious grain bowl sauces that will take your dish from blah to wow.

From honey mustard and harissa-yogurt, to teriyaki and makdous (spicy pickled eggplant), these zesty, creamy, and savory sauces can all be made with simple ingredients.

Plus, they only require minimal effort and time — no fancy cooking skills needed here!

With all these delectable options on hand, any dull dinner can become an exciting evening meal.

Get ready for some serious flavor explosions!

What Are Grain Bowls?

Grain Bowl Recipe

Grain bowls are a type of meal that consists of cooked grains, such as quinoa or brown rice, combined with vegetables and other ingredients.

The combination can be served hot or cold and is often topped with a sauce or dressing.

Grain bowls are popular because they are easy to make, nutritious, and customizable.

Grain bowls typically start with a base of cooked grains like quinoa, farro, barley, bulgur wheat, millet or brown rice.

These grains provide complex carbohydrates for energy and fiber for digestion.

Vegetables like roasted sweet potatoes or broccoli can then be added along with proteins such as grilled chicken breast or tofu cubes.

Toppings like nuts and seeds add crunch while sauces like tahini dressing give the bowl flavor.

Finally, herbs like cilantro add freshness to the dish.

Grain bowls offer an easy way to get in your daily servings of whole grains and vegetables while also providing protein from plant-based sources if desired.

They can be enjoyed at any time of day—for breakfast topped with yogurt and fruit; for lunch filled with roasted veggies; or for dinner paired with grilled fish—making them a versatile option when it comes to meal planning!

12 Tasty Sauces For Grain Bowls

Grain bowls are a delicious and nutritious meal, but they can be bland without the right sauce.

Here are 12 tasty sauces that you can use to dress up your grain bowl and give it some extra flavor:

1. Cilantro-Lime Tahini Dressing

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make this delicious cilantro-lime tahini dressing, you will need 1/3 cup packed cilantro (a few stems are fine!), 1/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons oil (avocado oil or olive oil), 2 tablespoons tahini, juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons), 1 small clove of garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  • To Make It: Begin by blending the cilantro with the water in a blender until it is pureed. Then add in the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  • Serving Tips: This dressing is perfect for topping grain bowls or salads! It also makes a great dip for crudité platters or as a sauce for tacos or burritos. The dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

2. Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (red wine, white wine, apple cider vinegar, or lemon/lime juice also work)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or brown mustard
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • 6 sun-dried tomato halves (about 1/4 cup), roughly chopped* (see note below)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To Make It

  1. In a blender combine the water, balsamic vinegar, mustard, maple syrup or honey, sun dried tomatoes and garlic.
  2. Blend until everything is smooth.
  3. With the blender running on low speed slowly add in the olive oil until everything is combined.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Tips

The vinaigrette can be used as a dressing for salads and grain bowls. It can also be used as a marinade for meats and vegetables before grilling or roasting. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

3. Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make a lemon tahini dressing, you will need extra-virgin olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup or honey, fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • To Make It: In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and maple syrup or honey until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water and whisk until smooth. If the dressing is too thick add more water as needed to thin it out. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.
  • Serving Tips: This dressing is perfect served over grain bowls such as quinoa or farro with roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or squash. It can also be used to dress salads or drizzled on top of grilled fish or chicken for added flavor. Store any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

4. Peanut Dressing

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make this peanut dressing, you will need creamy peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, fresh ginger (minced), sesame oil, garlic cloves (minced), red chili flakes, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • To Make It: In a small bowl or jar with a lid combine the peanut butter and rice vinegar. Whisk to combine until smooth. Add in the soy sauce, honey, lime juice and whisk until combined. Add in the minced ginger and garlic along with the sesame oil and red chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk again or shake vigorously if using a jar with a lid until all ingredients are combined well.
  • Serving Tips: This delicious peanut dressing is perfect for grain bowls! Try it as an alternative to your usual vinaigrette over cooked grains like quinoa or farro mixed with roasted vegetables for an easy lunch or dinner meal that’s full of flavor! You can also use it as a dip for raw veggies like carrots or cucumbers for added crunchiness!

5. Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make this sesame ginger vinaigrette, you will need light soy sauce, vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, fresh lime juice, garlic (minced), honey, fresh ginger (grated), Sriracha (or to taste), water and optional sesame seeds.
  • To Make It: In a medium bowl or jar with a lid combine the soy sauce, vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and lime juice. Whisk together until combined. Add in the minced garlic clove and grated ginger. Stir in the honey and sriracha until fully incorporated. Finally add in 2 tablespoons of water and mix everything together until smooth. If desired you can also stir in 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds for extra flavor and texture.
  • Serving Tips: This Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette is perfect for adding to grain bowls or salads for an extra punch of flavor! The dressing will keep refrigerated for up to one week so feel free to make it ahead of time if needed! When ready to serve simply drizzle over your favorite grain bowl ingredients such as cooked grains like quinoa or farro along with roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts.

6. Cilantro-Lime Cashew Cream

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make cilantro-lime cashew cream, you will need 3/4 cup raw cashews, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 1 large garlic clove, 1/2 cup water (or more as needed), 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • To Make It: Start by soaking the cashews in hot water for 15 minutes. Then drain them and rinse with cold water. Place the soaked cashews in a food processor along with the cilantro leaves, garlic clove, water (start with just ½ cup), lime juice, avocado oil or olive oil (optional), salt and garlic powder. Blend until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick add a bit more water to thin out the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  • Serving Tips: This sauce is great served over grain bowls such as quinoa or brown rice bowls with roasted vegetables or grilled chicken or fish on top. It can also be used as a dip for chips and veggies like carrots and celery sticks!

7. Pesto

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make pesto, you will need fresh basil leaves, Romano or Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts (or chopped walnuts), garlic cloves, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • To Make It: Start by adding the basil leaves to a food processor. Pulse until they are finely chopped. Then add the grated cheese, olive oil, pine nuts (or walnuts), garlic cloves, salt and pepper to the food processor and pulse again until everything is well combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • Serving Tips: Pesto can be served over warm grains like quinoa or brown rice as part of a grain bowl. It also makes an excellent topping for roasted vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. You can also use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps instead of mayonnaise or cream cheese. Finally pesto can be used in pasta dishes such as linguine with clams or spaghetti carbonara for added flavor and nutrition!

8. Citrus Tahini Dressing

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make this delicious citrus tahini dressing, you will need ⅓ cup tahini, ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste, 1-2 tablespoon(s) pure maple syrup (optional for sweetness), and 1-2 tablespoon(s) water (optional – if needed to thin).
  • To Make It: Start by whisking together the tahini and orange juice in a small bowl. Once combined, add in the apple cider vinegar and salt. Whisk until smooth. Taste test and adjust flavor as desired; adding more salt for more flavor or a touch of maple syrup for sweetness. If desired, add a bit of water to thin out the dressing if it is too thick.
  • Serving Tips: This citrus tahini dressing is perfect served over grain bowls with roasted vegetables or grilled chicken. It can also be used as a dip for raw vegetables such as carrots and celery sticks. For an extra zesty kick try adding some freshly grated ginger or garlic into your dressing before serving!

9. Spicy Sriracha Peanut Sauce

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make this spicy Sriracha peanut sauce, you will need 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of hot water, 1 tablespoon of Sriracha sauce, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, salt to taste and an optional teaspoon of lime juice.
  • To Make It: Start by combining the peanut butter and hot water in a small bowl until it is creamy. Then add the Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt to taste. Mix everything together until it is combined and smooth. Finally add the lime juice (if using) for a bit more flavor.
  • Serving Tips: This spicy Sriracha peanut sauce can be used as a topping or dip for your favorite grain bowls or salads! It also goes great with roasted vegetables or grilled proteins like chicken or shrimp. If you have any leftovers store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

10. Vegan Creamy Mediterranean Olive Sauce

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make this delicious vegan creamy Mediterranean olive sauce, you will need the following ingredients: ½ cup raw cashews, 2 Tablespoons water, 4 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar, 2 Tablespoons unsweetened plain plant milk, 1 Tablespoon miso paste, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt (plus or minus to taste).
  • To Make It: Begin by soaking the cashews in a bowl of hot water for at least 15 minutes. Once they are soft and pliable, drain them and add them to a high-speed blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Serving Tips: This vegan creamy Mediterranean olive sauce is perfect for grain bowls as it adds flavor without overpowering the other ingredients. Try adding it to quinoa bowls topped with roasted vegetables and fresh herbs for an easy weeknight meal. You can also use it as a dip or spread on sandwiches or wraps for lunch or dinner.

11. Hoisin Sauce

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make hoisin sauce, you will need molasses, soy sauce, creamy peanut butter, rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, garlic powder, hot sauce (or Sriracha or chili paste), and cornstarch.
  • To Make It: In a small bowl whisk together the molasses and soy sauce until combined. Add in the peanut butter and stir to combine. Pour in the rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar) and stir until combined. Add in the garlic powder and hot sauce (or Sriracha or chili paste) and mix well. Finally add in the cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
  • Serving Tips: Hoisin sauce is great as a condiment for grain bowls! Simply pour it over your favorite grains like quinoa or brown rice along with vegetables such as roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli for a delicious meal. It can also be used as a marinade for grilled meats like pork tenderloin or chicken breasts before cooking them on the grill. Hoisin sauce also makes an excellent dipping sauce for spring rolls or other appetizers too!

12. Cheese Sauce

  • Ingredients You’ll Need: To make a cheese sauce for your grain bowl, you will need 500ml of milk, 4 tablespoons of plain flour, 50g butter, and 100g grated strong cheddar (or 50g grated cheddar and 50g crumbled blue cheese).
  • To Make It: Begin by melting the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add in the flour and whisk together until it forms a paste. Gradually add in the milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Take off the heat and stir in the grated cheese until fully melted into the sauce. If using blue cheese as well, add this at this point too. Allow to cool before serving with your grain bowl.
  • Serving Tips: This cheese sauce is delicious served with cooked grains such as quinoa or farro, roasted vegetables such as butternut squash or sweet potato wedges, greens like kale or spinach leaves, crunchy nuts or seeds such as pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts for texture, and protein sources like baked tofu cubes or grilled chicken slices if desired.

Conclusion

In conclusion, grain bowls can be a delicious and nutritious meal option that can be easily customized with a variety of sauces.

There are a variety of sauces that can be used to make grain bowls even more flavorful and delicious.

Some of the best sauces for grain bowls include cilantro-lime tahini dressing, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, lemon tahini dressing, peanut dressing, sesame ginger vinaigrette, cilantro-lime cashew cream, pesto, citrus tahini dressing, spicy sriracha peanut sauce, vegan creamy Mediterranean olive sauce, hoisin sauce, and cheese sauce.

These sauces can be used in combination or as a single dressing to give your grain bowl an extra burst of flavor.

So, the next time you’re looking to switch up your grain bowl, try one of these tasty sauces.

Sauces

12 Tasty Sauces For Grain Bowls

When you're looking for a healthy, delicious and satisfying meal, grain bowls are always a great option. But what really makes a grain bowl shine are the sauces. That's why I'm sharing my top 12 sauces for grain bowls that will take your meal to the next level. From cheesy sauces to creamy dressings, I'll be giving you all the tips and tricks for how to make the perfect sauce for your bowl.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 300 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Cilantro-Lime Tahini Dressing
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
  • Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • Peanut Dressing
  • Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette
  • Cilantro-Lime Cashew Cream
  • Pesto
  • Citrus Tahini Dressing
  • Spicy Sriracha Peanut Sauce
  • Vegan Creamy Mediterranean Olive Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Cheese Sauce

Instructions
 

  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a sauce recipe in 30 minutes or less!
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.