The Washington Post

Grain Bowls With Cucumber-Dill Sauce

Grain Bowls With Cucumber-Dill Sauce 2.000

(Justin Tsucalas for the Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post)

Plant-Powered Newsletter Jul 19, 2019

Here’s a satisfying meal of whole grains that looks -- and tastes -- gourmet. Farro makes the base, an ancient grain that’s chewy like barley but is quicker to cook. It’s jumbled with chickpeas and veggies, then smothered in a mind-blowing cucumber-dill sauce. It’s a bright and creamy coating that you’ll want to try on just about anything: as a dip for veggies, a sauce for grilled fish and on a falafel sandwich.

To make this vegan, substitute the Cilantro Cashew Sauce from last week’s falafel sandwich.

This recipe is from Week 8 of Voraciously's Plant Powered newsletter. Sign up at

Make Ahead: Make the cucumber-dill sauce and farro in advance or store leftovers refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat the farro in a skillet until warmed through; add a little olive oil if it’s dry.

Where to Buy: There are two types of farro: pearled and semi-pearled. Pearled farro cooks faster than semi-pearled farro. Depending on the brand, the farro may not be labeled as pearled or semi-pearled. Both types taste similar; the semi-pearled farro has more of the grain intact and thus more nutrients (similar to white rice vs. brown rice).

2 - 3

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2-3 servings

  • For the grain bowls
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) dried farro
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed well and cut into 2-inch sticks about 1/4-inch thick
  • One 15-ounce can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced (drained, from a jar; 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons regular soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (a.k.a. garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 2 packed cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • For the cucumber-dill sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated English (seedless) cucumber (from 1/2 cuke)
  • 1 cup organic plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic (a.k.a. garlic powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


For the grain bowls: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the farro and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, until it’s fragrant and you hear it start to pop. Add 3 1/2 cups of the water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cook, bubbling at the sides, until the farro is tender, with just a little chew, 15 to 25 minutes. (The exact timing depends on the type of farro; see headnote.) Remove from the heat, draining any excess liquid.

Meanwhile, make the cucumber-dill sauce: Squeeze all the excess liquid you can from grated cucumber; you’ll be left with about 1/4 cup of cucumber. Mix that with the yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until serving.

Back to the vegetables for the grain bowl: Grab a large saute pan or nonstick skillet. Add the carrot and the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Cook over high heat for about 3 minutes, until the carrot is fork-tender and the water has evaporated. Reduce the heat to low, then add the chickpeas, roasted red pepper, soy sauce, oregano, garlic powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until warmed through and fragrant. Stir in the cooked farro, smoked paprika and spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste, and add a few pinches of salt, as needed.

To serve, divide the farro among bowls. Top with the scallions, feta cheese, and generous amounts of the sauce.

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Recipe Source

From Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser of

Tested by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 3): 570

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 22g 34%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 30mg 10%

Sodium: 980mg 41%

Total Carbohydrates: 76g 25%

Dietary Fiber: 15g 60%

Sugar: 12g

Protein: 25g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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