Grain bowls have been getting a lot of attention lately, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Using healthy whole grains like brown rice, barley, and farro as the base of a meal makes the dish ultra-energizing, since the body metabolizes unrefined starches for quick fuel. Even better, whole grains act as the ultimate blank canvas for added proteins, veggies, legumes, and sauces. For this recipe, we add maple-roasted parsnips, fresh fennel, dates, and spicy pumpkin seeds to a bed of brown rice for an insanely satisfying vegetarian dinner.RELATED: 14 Protein-Packed Grain Bowl RecipesWhen it comes to cooking a crave-worthy meal at home, the key is to tap a range of flavor-rich ingredients. Luckily, this healthy grain bowl does just that. First, we roast magnesium-packed pumpkin seeds in the oven with spices like cinnamon, cayenne, and smoked paprika to create a crunchy topping that comes with a kick. Next, we toss naturally sweet parsnips and shallots with olive oil and maple syrup and cook them at 350 degrees until caramelized.The root veggie is then combined with hearty brown rice before the bowl is finished off with refreshing sliced fennel, oozy baked dates, and a citrus vinaigrette made from fresh orange juice, tangy rice vinegar and mint leaves. Yum.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

25 mins
25 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

  • To make the spicy pumpkin seeds: Whisk the cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, paprika, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in the oil until combined. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Turn the seeds out onto a small square of aluminum foil, transfer the foil to a rimmed sheet pan, and toast the seeds in the oven until they are slightly puffed and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  • To make the rice bowls: Place the parsnips and shallots in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Turn them out onto the sheet pan and roast until tender, 17 to 20 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large plate and toss with the maple syrup; reserve the sheet pan. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

  • Wearing oven mitts, add the rice to the sheet pan, spreading it in an even layer. Pull the oven rack out partway, place the pan back on it, carefully add the boiling water, and sprinkle in the dates. Cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil (you may need 2 sheets), crimping it tightly around the edges to seal. Bake until the rice is tender and the water is evaporated, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and set it aside (keep it covered).

  • Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the orange juice, rice vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons and pour the rest over the rice. Add the mint, and fluff the mixture with a fork.

  • Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Place the sliced fennel in a small bowl, add the reserved vinaigrette, and toss to combine. Top each rice bowl with equal amounts of fennel. Divide the parsnips and shallots among the bowls and garnish with the spiced pumpkin seeds and fennel fronds (if using).


Adapted from Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless by Raquel Pelzel (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Ken Carlson.

Nutrition Facts

689 calories; fat 30g; saturated fat 5g; fiber 11g; protein 12g; carbohydrates 98g; sugars 24g; sodium 705mg; iron 3mg; calcium 90mg.