Quinoa bowls are fast and easy to make, packed with nutrition, and alpha-gal friendly. Check out these 18 delicious quinoa bowl recipes and make one for your next meal!
The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I cite and link to expert sources as often as possible, but because I have an MBA (and not an MD), nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice as I’m clearly lacking the letters required on my diploma to be a physician.
Quinoa is a nutritious, gluten-free grain. And because quinoa is plant-based, this complete protein is an excellent ingredient for alpha gals to incorporate into their diets.
Enter the quinoa bowl.
Like other grain bowls featuring rice or barley, a quinoa bowl recipe begins with a grain base. It’s then topped with a variety of ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, proteins, and sauces. Quinoa bowls are incredibly versatile and can be easily tailored to meet the dietary needs of someone living with alpha-gal syndrome. They are also quick and easy to whip up, making them a fantastic option for a healthy meal on a busy weekday. And because they travel well, leftovers make a perfect healthy lunch the next day.
Whether you enjoy spicy, savory, or sweet, this list of delicious quinoa bowl recipes has you covered!
Related Article: Power Up with Quinoa: A Complete Protein for Alpha Gals
In This Article
What is a Quinoa Bowl?
Similar to other bowl dishes you may know – like Buddha bowls and grain bowls – a quinoa bowl is a meal that layers a variety of ingredients to create a nutritious and filling entree. While Buddha bowls are typically vegan dishes made of entirely plant-based ingredients, and grain bowls may use any type of grain as a base, a quinoa bowl is built on a serving of this specific ancient grain and may include animal-based ingredients. Whether you follow a vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, alpha-gal, or omnivore diet, quinoa bowl recipes are easy to customize to your dietary needs.
Fun Fact: A cup of quinoa has more grams of protein than a cup of white rice, brown rice, or wild rice, making it an awesome base for any grain bowl.
Best Type of Quinoa for Grain Bowls
There are four types of quinoa:
- White quinoa
- Red quinoa
- Black quinoa
- Tri-color or rainbow quinoa
My favorite is white quinoa because I find it to be the most versatile. It’s light and fluffy when cooked and works well in sweeter dishes (like hot breakfast cereal) as well as savory and spicy dishes (like quinoa salads and grain bowls).
Red quinoa and black quinoa are good options for savory and spicy quinoa dishes, but I find them to be a little too nutty for sweeter recipes. Tri-color quinoa isn’t a different variety of grain, but rather a blend of the other three types – white, red, and black.
How to Make a Quinoa Bowl
The overall recipe for quinoa bowls is pretty straightforward. Cook a batch of quinoa using your favorite method – in a rice cooker, on the stove, or in an Instant Pot – prepare your favorite toppings, and assemble the bowls.
While quinoa bowls are typically savory or spicy dishes served for lunch or dinner, several of the recipes below include ways to enjoy quinoa for breakfast. But no matter what time of day you dig into a quinoa bowl, you’ll find that the combinations are endless, allowing you to be creative in the kitchen and easily adjust any recipe to your taste.
What to Put in a Quinoa Bowl
Start with a fluffy quinoa base, then add the ingredients that appeal most to you!
Breakfast Quinoa Bowls
For a filling quinoa bowl first thing in the morning, top this versatile ancient grain with ingredients like sliced bananas, chunks of fresh fruit, shredded coconut, pomegranate seeds, or mini dark chocolate chips. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon and drizzle with a little honey, agave, or maple syrup to taste.
Although quinoa is a protein-packed grain, most savory and spicy quinoa bowls include an additional protein source. Vegan options include chickpeas, tofu, and black beans. Vegetarians may want to top their quinoa bowl with an over-easy egg. And alpha gals can also use poultry, fish, and seafood ingredients like grilled chicken, seared ahi tuna, and steamed shrimp.
Once you’ve picked your protein, it’s time to add veggies for color, flavor, and nutrients. You can toss them in raw, steamed, or roasted. My favorite raw veggies for grain bowls include shredded carrots, shelled edamame, and fresh tomatoes. Good roasted vegetables include broccoli florets, bell peppers, butternut squash, beets, and sweet potatoes.
Add a little crunch to your bowl with slivered almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, or sesame seeds. Sliced avocado and fresh herbs also make great quinoa bowl toppings.
Dressing or Sauce
The final step for a tasty quinoa bowl is to drizzle a dressing or sauce over your creation. Some of my favorites are balsamic vinaigrette, lemon-tahini dressing, and sriracha sauce.
Quinoa Bowl Recipes
Important Note: Because the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that most people with alpha-gal can tolerate “moderate, lean dairy,” some of the quinoa salad recipes below include cheese or yogurt. If you are an alpha gal who avoids dairy, please make a dairy-free substitution.
1. Breakfast Quinoa Apple Bowl
Switch up a standard bowl of oatmeal with this breakfast bowl recipe from Plantbased on a Budget that tops cooked quinoa with banana chunks, apple slices, and a handful of raisins.
2. Coconut Quinoa Fruit Bowl
Cooking the quinoa in coconut milk gives your grain base a touch of sweetness in this quinoa fruit bowl recipe from Oh So Delicioso.
3. Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
This quinoa breakfast bowl from Seasonal Cravings is a great way to use leftover quinoa. Simply warm it in the microwave and then add toppings like almond butter, apple slices, chia seeds, and vegan chocolate chips.
4. Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Bowls
Using a base of half quinoa and half oatmeal, this quinoa bowl recipe from Flavor the Moments includes four topping combinations, including blueberry almond butter, tropical, banana chocolate chip, and vanilla almond raspberry.
5. Quinoa Hummus Bowl
Topping fluffy quinoa with classic Mediterranean flavors from cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives, this quinoa hummus bowl recipe from The Salt and Sweet will transport your tastebuds to Greece.
6. Fall Lentil and Quinoa Bowls with Walnut Pesto
By pairing cooked quinoa with turmeric lentils and a homemade walnut pesto, this quinoa bowl recipe from My Therapist Cooks is packed with protein before it’s topped with cubed sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes.
7. Veggie Power Bowl with Dijon Dressing
This tasty quinoa bowl recipe from Plant Based with Amy is made by adding grilled vegetables to a fluffy quinoa base and drizzling it with a homemade Dijon vinaigrette.
8. Quinoa Poke Bowl with Seared Tuna
Thank goodness fish is an alpha-gal safe ingredient, because I absolutely love ahi tuna. Try it over a serving of white quinoa topped with sliced cucumbers, shelled edamame, and strips of fresh mango in this Hawaiian-style bowl from Wholly Tasteful.
9. Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
Inspired by Panera’s Mediterranean grain bowl, this recipe from Drugstore Divas uses a prepared blend of quinoa and brown rice made according to the package directions. But you can use any combination of quinoa and rice (including no rice at all) to suit your taste.
Sage Advice: If you react to dairy products, be sure to use vegan feta.
10. Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Quinoa Bowls
With black beans, corn, and bell peppers, these quinoa bowls from XOXO Bella are full of Tex-Mex flavor. And preparing this dish is as easy as tossing all of the ingredients into a crock pot!
11. Chicken Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Zesty Crema
This filling burrito bowl from Kid Tested Recipes adds marinated grilled chicken, black beans, and other traditional burrito ingredients to a bed of white quinoa before topping it with homemade jalapeno crema.
Sage Advice: If you are an alpha gal who avoids dairy, substitute vegan sour cream when you make the crema.
12. Quinoa Spring Veggie Bowl
With ingredients like fresh asparagus, spinach leaves, and sliced radishes, this quinoa veggie bowl from Veggie Inspired captures the flavors of spring.
Sage Advice: Since chicken broth is an alpha-gal friendly ingredient, you can add even more flavor by using it as a substitute for the water or vegetable broth when cooking the quinoa.
13. Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl
With slices of chicken, roasted cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves, these healthy quinoa bowls from Fresh Apron come together for a fast, easy, and delicious 30-minute meal.
Sage Advice: If you are an alpha gal who eats dairy, bite-sized pieces of fresh mozzarella are a great addition to this quinoa bowl.
14. Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl
For another take on pesto chicken quinoa bowls, try this recipe from Bless This Meal. Thanks to the addition of canned chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), it packs even more protein into every bite. And the pesto flavor is added as a homemade vinaigrette.
15. Mexican Baked Tofu Quinoa Bowl
Spiced with cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and other Tex-Mex tastes, this Mexican-inspired quinoa bowl from Vegan Punks features seasoned baked tofu as its main protein source.
Sage Advice: Because alpha gals can safely eat poultry, you can substitute grilled chicken for the baked tofu.
16. Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Buddha Bowls
Made with chunks of roasted sweet potatoes, finely shredded purple cabbage, and baby spinach leaves, these Buddha bowls from Dinner at the Zoo make it easy to “eat the rainbow.”
17. Tofu Buddha Bowl with Quinoa
Featuring pan-fried tofu and roasted veggies, these healthy quinoa bowls from Our Plant-Based World come together quickly for a filling weeknight dinner.
18. Crispy Tofu and Quinoa Grain Bowl
For another take on a quick and easy crispy tofu grain bowl with fresh vegetables and a cilantro and olive oil dressing, try this quinoa grain bowl from Kitchen Docs.
Do You Like Quinoa Bowls?
What do you like to put in quinoa bowls? Do you have a favorite quinoa bowl recipe? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.