BJ’s Brewhouse Copycat Bistro Grains Side Dish

BJ’s Brewhouse Copycat Bistro Grains Side Dish can now be made at home with the same signature flavor you love and missed.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse had the most amazing bistro grains side dish (served with their Mediterranean chicken pita tacos) that sadly they stopped serving (due to its popularity and inability of their supplier to keep up).  After a few attempts, I nailed it!  This copycat recipe is one you’ll want to laminate and pass down to your children’s, children’s, grandchildren’s, children.
bj's brewhouse copycast bistro grains

Did you know Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) is packed full of healthy vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber?  There’s an interesting article by Helen Nichols on the 27 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Quinoa if you’d like to know more!

Before we dig into the details of this epic side dish, I have to share some pics from Mother’s Day.

I’m so blessed to be their mommy. We had such a great day of church, food, shopping, and family time.
mother's day
After dinner we met up with my parents and grandma at Graeter’s Ice Cream.  We’re representing 4 generations ranging between the ages of 94 and 9!  Words cannot adequately express how much these lovely ladies mean to me.

Alright, family moment over…

We have this ever-expanding area of shopping and restaurants just a few minutes from our house.  It’s been growing considerably since we first moved here 3 years ago with a new restaurant popping up every few months it seems.  BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse was one of the major highlights that has over 120 items on their menu.  I didn’t count, it’s on their website.

I don’t always choose the healthiest of items off the menu when dining out, but their Mediterranean Chicken Pita Tacos off their EnLIGHTened menu were screaming my name. Partly because the seasonal bistro grain side dish looked amazing.  Way better than french fries.

seasonal bistro grains

I get in this habit of ordering the same thing off restaurant menus every time we go out.  It was a real let-down on my 3rd time ordering the Mediterranean chicken pita tacos that the seasonal bistro grains had changed to a mild (yet still delicious) israeli couscous dish.  Perhaps the 3rd time is NOT the charm.

Learning about their supplier issue-and obviously needing to break my menu ordering habits-I got to work on creating a copycat recipe.  Two attempts and I nailed it (plus the addition of avocado).  I am free to order something new off the menu!

We start this bistro grain side dish off with a medley of diced red and green peppers, red onion, and corn roasted in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  
roasted veggies

While the veggies are busy roasting prepare 1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed to remove any dust and unwanted debri that settles on the little kernels.  To keep it like the one I loved from BJ’s Restaurant, we’ll also add some farro to the mix (not shown).
red quinoa
Both the quinoa and farro will cook up in about 15 minutes, or a little less, absorbing all the water.  (I haven’t tried cooking them in the same pot since they both use the same ratio to water, but I bet it would work!) *update: totally works and saves time!! 

In a large bowl add the cooked quinoa, farro and roasted veggies to cool just a bit before adding the secret-not-so-secret-anymore-spice-mix. OH, and we’ll add black beans that have been rinsed and drained!

red quinoa
Not only is this versatile side dish that can be eaten warm or cold and alongside a variety of entrees, it’s also AMAZING in wraps.
My favorite combo lately has been a light Flat-Out wrap spread with Chipolte Laughing Cow Cheese, turkey lunchmeat, and a few heaping spoonfuls of this kicky bistro grain side dish and avocado slices if they’re still around!  DELISH!
red quinoa roasted veggie side dish

Heaping spoonfuls straight to thy mouth. repeat. again. and again. and again.
red quinoa southwest salad

Avocado is an addition I made when serving this side dish and comes highly recommended!

BJ’s Brewhouse Copycat Bistro Grains Side Dish


  • 1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed in fine mesh colander
  • 1/4 cup farro
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup corn, (I used frozen straight from the freezer)
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • avocado, sliced (optional, but highly recommended!)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Begin by cooking quinoa and farro according to package, then set aside to cool in a large bowl.
  3. While quinoa and farro are cooking arrange diced peppers, onions, and corn on a cooking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes; remove and add to bowl with quinoa and farro to cool.
  4. Rinse and drain beans and add to bowl of veggies.
  5. In a small dish stir together adobo sauce, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin. Using a spatula pour mixture into the bowl of slightly cooled quinoa and veggies. Stir to thoroughly combine. It won't look like much sauce, but trust me it's the perfect amount of kick!
  6. Serve slightly warm or cold. Will stay fresh for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
  7. *Add a few spoonfuls to a turkey wrap with avocado for a fantastic picnic lunch!
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  1. Pat said:

    Thank you!!! This was my favorite side ever and I was pretty disappointed the last time I ordered it and it was changed. I looked for the recipe back then but didn’t find it until now. Can’t wait to make this!

    February 28, 2016
    • Beth said:

      Oh my gosh I know!! This tastes just like it so you’re good to go now! I seriously love it with everything from turkey wraps to scrambled eggs. You’ll have a ton of chipotle sauce leftover which is the only downside unless you find another use…but totally worth it!

      February 29, 2016
      • Valerie Lawrence said:

        Make the Rachel Ray Chipotle chicken with left over adobo…. So good!

        August 17, 2016
        • Beth said:

          ooh, thanks for the idea! I will do that, sounds great.

          September 15, 2016
  2. Jeannette said:

    Hi I’m so glad to have found this Thank you for sharing :). We had this today at BJ’s and it was fabulous but I think they changed it up a bit since. It now also has rice and it seemed like some craisins?? There was a bit if a sweet element to it. I will have to make yours and see how different it is…..or not. Thanks again!!

    April 17, 2016
    • Beth said:

      From what I understand the side dish can vary a bit from location to location. This is from what I believe is the original version of what they advertised as seasonal bistro grains. I had another version that was couscous and it sounds like you’ve enjoyed yet a 3rd variation! Either way, this is fabulous alone as a side dish or on a turkey wrap or even with some scrambled eggs!

      April 18, 2016
  3. Valerie said:

    I had it in a Florida location and mine had something sweet in it as well … halved red grapes, or cranberries maybe? And no farro, but rice. Anyway, it was delicious. Thanks for this version.

    July 9, 2016
    • Beth said:

      You’re welcome! It’s seriously so good with everything!

      July 24, 2016
  4. Joy said:

    Hi! Thank you for your post. I had this 10/22/16 and fell in love with it instantly. The salad I had had cranberries or something of the like, and cucumber. No red or green peppers, and roasted cherry tomatoes. Waitress told me BJ’s uses their version of Italian dressing. I plan on trying a mixture of both versions.

    October 22, 2016
    • Beth said:

      Glad you enjoyed it! I find it interesting how much variation they have in this side dish on their menu. This one will always be my favorite!

      October 27, 2016
  5. Ellie said:

    I work at a BJ’s and can confirm that there’s cranberries and cucumbers in this dish. Your recipe sounds awesome though and I’ll definitely be trying it out!

    November 15, 2016
    • Beth said:

      Yes, what I’ve learned is not every BJ’s side dish is the same and they have changed it from the original bistro side grains that included the ingredients in my recipe. I’m eager to go back and try the one with cucumbers and cranberries! I love that combination

      November 16, 2016
  6. Cindy said:

    I am looking forward to trying this recipe but have been unable to locate farro in any store. Any suggestions ? Also, do you make your own adobe sauce, and if so what’s your recipe?

    January 4, 2017
    • Beth said:

      I get my farro at Trader Joe’s. It comes in a small bag but if I were to look at another store it would probably be located with rices. The recipe won’t be ruined if you skip it but it does add a nice texture and flavor. The adobe sauce that I buy is in a can found with the enchilada sauce and taco seasonings. Hope this helps!

      January 11, 2017
    • Shelby Lauren Davis said:

      I found some farro at vons last night! Right by the brown rice and couscous.

      February 13, 2017
      • Beth said:

        awesome! and a little goes a long way!

        February 13, 2017
  7. We just went to BJ’s last night and I had this with their shrimp pita tacos…OH MY GOODNESS…the whole meal was amazing. I was trying to analyze what all was in it but it was kind of dark so I had a hard time seeing. Glad I found this, going to make it this week.

    January 15, 2017
    • Beth said:

      OH YUM! shrimp tacos sound amazing! I hope this is the version you’re looking for. Either way, it’s fantastic!

      January 16, 2017
  8. Christie said:

    How many servings is this recipe for?
    thank you!
    (*sorry if you have said and i missed it)

    February 21, 2017
    • Beth said:

      good question…I’d say 6. I’ve never really divided it out as I tend to nibble on it as I make it and spoon it onto wraps etc.

      February 21, 2017

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