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Quick & Easy Quinoa Bowls

Posted Jan 07 2013 11:08pm

Last year I worked hard at veganizing & healthifying my meals.  Now that I’m there, my next goal is to work on simplifying.

While it’s fun to try out exciting new recipes, they usually take a lot of time and effort to make – especially when you factor in the prep & clean-up times.  And the more impressive the recipe is intended to be, the more likely I’ll make a few critical mistakes along the way.  Maybe that’s why the simplest dishes I make get the top reviews from Mike.  And I gotta love the time they save me!

One simple concept I’ve been obsessed with lately is “Bowls”. Quinoa Bowls. Salad Bowls.  Noodle Bowls.   Sesame Kale & Kraut Bowls .  I pick a sauce and then add a bunch of ingredients to a bowl that I think will go well with it.  Simple as that.  Even better, by setting out all of the ingredients on the table, Mike and I can each assemble our own personalized ratios of ingredients.  Below, I share two of our new favorite Quinoa Bowl recipes.

But first, let’s congratulate the winners of my two recent giveaways:

Sierra won a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad , and

Cate won a sampler pack of Chef Earl’s To Go  Hot Giardiniera Hummus, Chunky Guacamole, & Fresh Salsa

Congratulations, ladies! And my sincere thanks to everyone who entered and helped to spread the word.

And before I get to the recipes, I need to take just one more moment to gush about how much I love these two products: Frozen Quinoa  Mori-Nu Silken Tofu

 

As for the Quinoa, it can easily be prepared from scratch (just be sure to rinse it thoroughly), but I’m lazy so the Frozen Quinoa I found at Whole Foods Market is my new best friend.  It’s a bit pricey but I rationalize it for myself since a quick dinner at home is still much cheaper than eating out.  Pre-cooking your own quinoa and freezing it is also a great option if you have the time.

And if you don’t have Silken Tofu in your pantry, I highly recommend you get some.  It’s shelf-stable and is usually found in the Ethnic Foods aisle of any well-stocked Grocery store.  I use it in so many things from Tofu Yogurt to Smoothies to the dressings for the bowls below.  I hear it even makes good French Toast !

Now for the bowls…

And truth be told, these bowls are so simple that you hardly need a recipe.  Consider the instructions below to be more of a rough guideline and have fun subbing in your favorite ingredients.

 

Dilly Tzatziki Bowls

I regret that I didn’t take more pictures of this meal.  I was planning to make it again and do a proper photo-shoot.  Then, on second-thought, I decided I was too eager to share this dish and it had to be posted as is, even though the picture below truly doesn’t do it justice.  The garlicky, dilly flavors and fresh bright veggies really made this a winner.

(serves 6 generously)

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of my favorite Vegan Tzatziki  prepared with Fresh Dill (tip: I replaced the oil with water and it still came out great)
  • 2 Cucumbers, quartered & sliced thinly (tip: I cut them into quarters then used the slicing attachment on my food processor)
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1 TB fresh dill, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 cups of cooked Quinoa
  • 2 pints fresh Grape or Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced small
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 5 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cans Chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lemon, sliced into 6 wedges

Directions:

For the best flavor, at least 2-3 hours in advance, or the day before:

  • Prepare the Tzatziki Sauce.  Cover and refrigerate.
  • Toss the Cucumbers with Vinegar, Dill, and a Pinch of salt.  Cover and refrigerate.

Then, when you’re ready to eat, set out the Sauce, Cucumbers, and remaining ingredients on the table for assembly.

Each person can create their own bowl, starting with 1 cup of quinoa and generous helpings of the veggies & chickpeas.  Then, in each bowl, stir in a heaping spoonful of the dressing and finish with a squeeze of lemon.

 

BBQ Quinoa Bowls

This bowl was inspired by Alex , who I was matched with for Round 2 of the Elf4Health challenge I participated in this Holiday season.  She was a great ‘Elf’ and it was really fun getting to know her! I made a plant-based version of her recipe by swapping the chicken, cheese, and yogurt for extra beans, sweet potatoes, avocado & silken tofu.  It was so delicious!  The BBQ sauce took these otherwise tex-mex ingredients and completely flipped the flavor profile.  I was feeling the Backyard BBQ vibe in my apartment in the middle of winter!

 

(serves 6 generously)

Ingredients:

  • 12.3 ounces of Mori-Nu Silken Tofu (any firmness)
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 12 ounces of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 small green peppers, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 2 cans Black Beans, rinsed & drained
  • 6 cups of cooked Quinoa
  • 2 pints fresh Grape or Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado

Directions:

  • In a food processor, blend the Silken Tofu, Lemon Juice, and Non-Dairy Milk until smooth.
  • Mix in an equal amount of the BBQ Sauce and set aside.
 
  • Cook the diced Sweet Potato to desired doneness by either boiling it in water on the stove or (my method) microwaving it an inch or so of water.  Drain and set aside.
  • Add enough water to a large non-stick skillet to cover the bottom.  Over medium-high heat, saute the onion and green pepper until soft, adding more water as needed.  Add a pinch of salt.  Stir in the frozen corn and heat until defrosted (about 1 minute).  Add the Black Beans and Sweet Potato to the skillet.  Stir then set aside.

Then, when you’re ready to eat, set out the Sauce, Quinoa, Cooked Veggie mixture, and the remaining ingredients on the table for assembly.

Each person can create their own bowl, starting with 1 cup quinoa and generous helpings of the cooked & raw veggies.  Then, in each bowl, add a generous pour of dressing and stir.  Enjoy!

I’d love to hear from you!

What sauce do you think would make for an unforgettable bowl?

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