food recipes

Meal prepping quinoa bowls — five ways!

Quinoa bowls are nothing new. In fact, I’ve been meal prepping them and bringing them to work for lunch almost everyday for the past few years. Seriously.

Friends always ask if I get tired of them. To be honest, I really don’t. I’ve become a pro at mixing it up and making them different each week.

Here’s the thing: You can pretty much make quinoa bowls out of absolutely anything! All you need is quinoa for the base, and after that, you can dress it up to your heart’s content.

Below are five quinoa bowl ideas. Don’t let the longish list of ingredients scare you. Items can be removed or swapped out to something else you may have on hand.

1. Power quinoa bowl with spinach, kale, eggs, and avocado (my go-to)
2. Shredded chicken quinoa bowl with spinach and broccoli sprouts
3. Quinoa with spicy roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts
4. Mediterranean quinoa bowl with roasted chickpeas and spinach
5. Quinoa bowl with black beans and chicken

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INGREDIENTS

THE BASE:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups of chicken broth or water

VEGETABLES:
Spinach
Kale
Broccoli sprouts – Ever tried them? They’re my latest obsession. They are SO good for you. I usually find them at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods.
Brussels sprouts
1 medium-large sweet potato (or more, if you want leftovers)
1-2 avocados (ok, so avocados are technically a fruit, but they’re green in color, so I’m including here lol)

PROTEIN:
1 1/2 – 2 lbs chicken breasts + 2 cups of chicken broth or water
1-2 eggs
1 can black beans
1 can chickpeas

EXTRAS:
pickled red onions (or thinly sliced raw red onions)
slivered almonds
chia seeds
cherry tomatoes
green olives
parsley
harissa

SEASONINGS:
sea salt
black pepper
cayenne
garlic salt

DRESSING:
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
* you can use whatever dressing you would like, but I always dress my quinoa bowls with EVOO and balsamic vinegar

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make the quinoa — Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add quinoa and 3 cups of chicken broth or water. Stir a few times and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and fluffy.

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2. Make the chicken — Add chicken breasts and 2 cups or chicken broth or water to a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Cook chicken until it shreds easily. When done, place chicken aside.

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3. Roast vegetables and chickpeas — While quinoa and chicken are cooking, preheat oven to 415 degrees F, and cut sweet potatoes into cubes and slice brussels sprouts in half. Open canned chickpeas, wash, drain, and dry the chickpeas well. Season sweet potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, cayenne pepper and sea salt. Season brussels sprouts and chickpeas with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. Spread the sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and chickpeas evenly in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven when done, and set aside.

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PUTTING THE QUINOA BOWLS TOGETHER

Power quinoa bowl with spinach, kale, eggs, and avocado

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  • Prepare 1-2 hard boil eggs. Easy directions here
  • Add quinoa to serving container or bowl
  • In a separate bowl, mix kale and spinach with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir and add more EVOO and balsamic vinegar as desired. Alternatively, you can use your favorite salad dressing. Note: the amount of kale and spinach to use is based on preference. A good portion is 1/2 cup each. I love my greens, so I personally use about 1 cup of each for my bowls
  • Add kale and spinach mixture on top of quinoa in serving container
  • Slice 1/2 – 1 avocado (amount is based on preference) and add on top of kale and spinach in serving container
  • Peel and slice hard boiled eggs, and add to serving container
  • Extras: sprinkle a handful of slivered almonds and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds on top


Shredded chicken quinoa bowl with spinach and broccoli sprouts

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  • Add quinoa to serving container or bowl
  • Add 1/2 cup of shredded chicken (or more, if desired) on top of quinoa in serving container
  • In a separate bowl, mix 1 – 1 1/2 cups of spinach and 1/2 cup of broccoli sprouts with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir and add more EVOO and balsamic vinegar as desired. Alternatively, you can use your favorite salad dressing
  • Add spinach and broccoli sprouts mixture on top of chicken in serving container
  • Extras: add some pickled red onions (super simple recipe here) or thinly sliced raw red onions and a handful of chopped parsley


Quinoa with spicy roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts

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  • Add quinoa to serving container or bowl
  • Add 1/2 cup roasted sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup of roasted brussels sprouts on top of quinoa in serving container
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar on top of the roasted vegetables
  • Extras: add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and handful of chopped parsley


Mediterranean quinoa bowl with roasted chickpeas and spinach

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  • Add quinoa to serving container or bowl
  • In a separate bowl, mix 1 – 1 1/2 cups spinach and 1 handful of slivered almonds with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir and add more EVOO and balsamic vinegar as desired. Alternatively, you can use your favorite salad dressing
  • Add spinach and almonds on top of quinoa in serving container
  • Add 1/2 cup of roasted chickpeas on top of spinach and almonds in serving container
  • Extras: add a small spoonful of green olives and a tablespoon of harissa. You can make you own harissa or buy some. My go-to brand is Cava


Quinoa bowl with black beans and chicken

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  • Add quinoa to serving container or bowl
  • Add 1/2 cup of shredded chicken (or more, if desired) on top of quinoa in serving container
  • Open canned black beans. Heat in saucepan over medium-high heat or microwave. Add 1/2 cup of black beans on top of chicken in serving container
  • In a separate bowl, mix spinach and cherry tomatoes (I like to cut my cherry tomatoes in half) with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir and add more EVOO and balsamic vinegar as desired. Alternatively, you can use your favorite salad dressing
  • Add spinach and tomatoes to serving container
  • Slice 1/2 – 1 avocado (amount is based on preference) and add to serving container
  • Extras: add some pickled red onions and sprinkle a handful of chopped parsley

TIP: If you’re prepping all five bowls ahead of time for the week, I would hold off on adding the avocados and the extras until the morning of serving. You can also store all of the ingredients in separate containers and prepare each bowl the night before you plan to eat. I prefer doing it this way so the greens don’t get soggy from sitting so long in the dressing.

Are you a fan of quinoa bowls? Let me know if you try any of these out!

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