I love, love, love a good bowl meal! It’s a great way to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet. My quinoa bowl recipe is healthy, delicious, and easy to make. It’s made with a hearty whole grain topped off with various tasty veggies and drizzled with a tangy dressing. Yum!
How do you make a good bowl meal? First, use a variety of flavors, textures, and colors to maximize contrasts. Next, use whole grains (quinoa in this case) to make it filling. If you only use veggies and leafy greens, you are likely to be hungry a couple of hours later. Loaded with kidney beans, a tahini dressing, and quinoa, this bowl recipe is a protein bomb.
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Simple yet healthy. The combination of sweet potatoes, button mushrooms, zucchini, sweet corn, kidney beans in this quinoa bowl recipe makes this a very nutritious meal.
- Adaptable. You can change up the flavors easily and use whatever greens and veggies you have on hand. Mix and match vegetables according to the flavor profile you’re going for. The more colors, the better.
- Excellent meal prep option. Quinoa is a great base to build flavor on, and it keeps well in the fridge. Prep all the separate elements of the bowl on the weekend, and you’ve got filling lunches or dinner for the week. For a quick and healthy meal, assemble all the veggies, pour some dressing over it, and you’re good to go!
- Perfect as a side salad, lunch, or dinner. This vegan quinoa bowl is versatile. Eat it warm or cold. Have a serving on its own for lunch, or top it off with pan-fried halloumi for dinner.
This 40-minute quinoa bowl recipe is made up of different delicious components:
- Sweet potato
- Button mushrooms
- Cooked kidney beans
- Avocado oil
- Fresh orange juice
- Quinoa: This grain is a plant-based protein powerhouse and loaded with fiber. Also, it’s a good source of antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc. Quinoa has a natural coating that makes it taste bitter, which is why I prefer to buy pre-washed and rinsed varieties like this one from Ancient Harvest.
- Sweet potatoes: Oven-roasted sweet potatoes add caramel-like goodness to the dish. Additionally, they have a good amount of healthy carbs and are loaded with vitamins.
- Cooked kidney beans: They add more plant-based protein to the dish, keeping you full for much longer. When I don’t have the time to cook my own kidney beans, I prefer to use a jar of Jovial kidney beans.
- Mushrooms: Add a meaty texture to the quinoa bowl as well as umami flavor. They are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and super-low in calories.
- Maple syrup: It adds natural sweetness and balances out the acidity from the fresh orange juice in the tahini dressing. You can omit it if you’re on a sugar-free diet.
STEP 1: COOK THE QUINOA
Cover the pot and let the quinoa simmer for about 20 minutes till tender or until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep a close eye on the food to make sure the quinoa doesn’t burn.
When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and fluff it with a fork.
STEP 2: PREP THE VEGGIES
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Peel the sweet potato and cut both ends off. Cut it into ½ inch rounds and then dice each round into bite-sized pieces. Spread the chopped sweet potato pieces on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with extra virgin avocado oil. If you prefer your dish to be oil-free, use apple cider vinegar or vegetable broth. Season with sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss everything together. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until fork-tender.
In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil. Add the sliced onions and sauté for a minute or two. Add the sliced button mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt. Cook and stir for a minute. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let the mixture cook down for a few minutes over medium heat. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth if the mixture starts to burn.
Once the mushrooms have cooked down, add the minced garlic. Pour in the corn and sliced zucchini. Cook and stir for a minute and then add some sea salt and black pepper. Feel free to add any herbs of your preference at this point.
Cover with the tight-fitting lid and let the mixture cook for two minutes. Uncover and remove from the heat.
STEP 3: MAKE THE DRESSING
In a bowl, add the tahini, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Add sea salt to taste.
Cut the orange in half and use a citrus reamer to extract the juice. Pour the juice into the mixture.
Using a whisk, mix everything until it is well combined. Add more tahini if you want a thicker dressing. Set aside.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE BOWL
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Take one half and lightly score it in each direction. Scoop it out into a bowl and repeat the same with the other half. Toss with a bit of lime or lemon juice to prevent browning.
In your serving bowl, place a scoop of the cooked quinoa. Next, add some kidney beans and a scoop of oven-baked sweet potato. Add a scoop of the sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, and corn.
Add spoonfuls of the avocado. You can also add some pickles (Like this sauerkraut from Small Town Cultures). Drizzle the orange tahini dressing over all the ingredients. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Sub out any grain you like for the quinoa. If quinoa is not your thing, you can replace it with brown rice, couscous, farro, millet, or barley.
- Cook the quinoa al dente. This ensures that the grains don’t get soggy as you add the other ingredients and the tahini dressing.
- Avoid using lettuce. Though you can use all sorts of vegetables for this quinoa bowl recipe, lettuce may not be ideal as it may create a soggy situation in the leftovers. If you want to use greens, try spinach or kale as they don’t release too much moisture.
- Add some pickles. Pickles like sauerkraut adds a tangy, briny twist to this healthy quinoa bowl. You can also go with pickled onions or jalapeños for a spicy kick.
- Top it off with some nuts and seeds. For an extra crunch, add some toasted walnuts, pecans, or pepitas.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is this recipe vegan-friendly?
This quinoa bowl recipe is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, as well as gluten- and dairy-free.
How do I store leftovers?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing this dish as the fresh ingredients will not keep.
What can you add to quinoa to make it taste better?
Just like any other grain, quinoa on its own can be very bland. If you’d like to add some flavor, cook it in vegetable broth instead of water. Toast it in olive oil first before cooking it. Cook the grains with butter and water/vegetable broth. Add herbs and spices like garlic powder, dried oregano, cumin, thyme, and cayenne pepper.
Is quinoa better for you than rice?
Quinoa and brown rice contain similar amounts of calories and dietary fiber. However, quinoa has lower carbs and moderately higher amounts of protein per serving when compared to brown rice, making it slightly more beneficial.
What does quinoa go well with?
Quinoa is an extremely versatile grain and can be used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes. Add it to salads or use it as a base for breakfast porridge. Thanks to its binding nature, it’s the perfect base for veggie patties. Stir it into soups and stews to bulk them up and add texture. Use quinoa flour to bake desserts and add whole grains to muffins, cakes, and crumbles.
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