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 consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.
Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.
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:
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.
Related Article: The Best Beans for Protein (Includes 30+ Tasty Recipes)
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.
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.
NOTE: Because the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that most people with alpha-gal can tolerate “moderate, lean dairy,” some of the recipes below may include butter, cheese, or another dairy product. If you are an alpha gal who avoids dairy, please make a dairy-free substitution. From vegan butter to plant milk cheeses, Miyoko’s is one of my favorite brands. And, even if you can tolerate dairy, I recommend that alpha gals stick with vegetarian cheese.
Quinoa Bowl Recipes
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.
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
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.
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.
11. Chicken Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime 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.
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.”
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.