Panera Grain Bowls: New craveable menu items are perfect for fall


Looking for a warm, comforting bite this fall? Panera Grain Bowls are here and everyone is ready to feel full of good.

Panera continues to bring consumers new and exciting foods that they crave. The newest menu item, the warm Panera Grain Bowls, offers a big, satisfying bite with flavors that people appreciate. As part of the brand’s commitment to offer more grains, plants and proteins, these two new menu items are the first grain bowls.

According to Dan Wegiel, EVP Chief Growth and Strategy Officer at Panera, “interest in bowls that feature an abundance of nutrient-dense, fresh, layered ingredients, lean protein, veggies, grains and flavorful sauces–is on the rise.”

Specifically, these two menu items stay true to the brand’s goals of providing food choices that are nutritious and that consumers feel good about. There is no need to compromise. The goal is to provide choices that are “Full of Good.”

The two new grain bowls are Baja warm Grain Bowl and Mediterranean warm Grain Bowl. Since the fall season is approaching, the new menu items are heartier for the cooler weather. Beyond being served warm, these bowls are packed with grains, plants and protein.

According to Panera, the Baja Grain Bowl is made with “cilantro-lime, long grain, brown rice, a mix of red and golden quinoa, grilled citrus pepper chicken raised without antibiotics, black bean and corn salsa, house-made salsa verde, red grape tomatoes, fresh avocado, feta crumbles and whole milk Greek yogurt.”

New Panera Grain Bowls, photo provided by Panera Bread

Looking at this menu description, a few points are quite interesting. First, feta isn’t usually used in a baja influenced dish. It is curious that such a pungent cheese is used alongside house-made salsa verde. Maybe feta and avocado could become a new trend.

Additionally, the flavors in this grain bowl are big. While each component balances each other, it is far from plain jane. The blend of flavors should add to the overall eating satisfaction.

The other grain bowl, the Mediterranean warm Grain Bowl, features “cilantro-lime long grain brown rice, a mix of red and golden quinoa on a bed of fresh arugula, layered with grilled citrus pepper chicken raised without antibiotics, red grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, diced cucumbers, hummus, lemon tahini dressing, feta crumbles and whole milk Greek yogurt with a squeeze of lemon.”

The addition of the lemon tahini dressing is a lovely choice. This dressing should add some nuanced flavor to the dish. Additionally, the use of acid in this dish should lighten the flavors.

In addition to the nod to global flavors, Panera has looked to offer variety in this grain bowls. While they are sold with grilled chicken, the dish can be served without the chicken. As the flexitarian way of eating continues to grow, people want variety. These bowls are a great example.

Overall, these menu additions are smart for Panera. While the classic soup and sandwich combo is always a tasty choice, people are looking for new and different. When a company can keep a menu fresh, yet within its overall concept, everyone wins.

The new Panera Grain Bowls are available now. Guests can enjoy these new menu items both in restaurant and via delivery.

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Which new Panera Grain Bowls would you order first?