A Favourite Quinoa Power Bowl Base

A high-protein quinoa power bowl base for quick weeknight dinners. Simple, versatile and vegetarian.

In case you thought power bowls were only for hearty winter meals, let me remind you that they are also ideal for hot summer days.

For the past few summers, I’ve been making the same quinoa and vegetable ‘base’ for quick weeknight dinners and it’s time I shared the recipe. It keeps in the fridge for at least five days, making it practical for those days you just want to stay at the lake or pool until the last possible minute.

You can take this quinoa power bowl base in almost any direction as far as flavours and cuisines. I’ve listed our favourites compilations in the post, both vegetarian and non. Let’s get to it!

Quinoa Power Bowl Base Ingredients

Golden Quinoa – Fluffy and nutty! Able to be cooked and frozen. I love how versatile and delicious it is. You could also use any whole grains such as brown rice, cous cous, farro or pearl barley.

Black Beans – You could also use cooked lentils or any pulses, really.

Fresh Corn on the CobFrozen or canned is fine too. Use what you have.

Red Bell Pepper – This vegetable adds a little extra crunch. Any colour of sweet bell pepper would do.

Fresh HerbsGarden herbs are abundant all summer long. Don’t be shy; be generous! I generally add these in just before serving.

These ingredients on their own may not seem particularly inspired; it’s the zesty dressing that brings the quinoa power bowl base to life!

Freshly squeezed lime juice, minced garlic (get the freshest available from the market) and cumin, together with olive oil make up the tangy dressing. You can adjust it to suit your tastes – less garlic, more heat from the chili powder – just taste as you go along.

It takes a mere 30 minutes of meal prep to complete this ‘base’ and you’ll be set for nourishing power bowls all week long.

Do-Ahead/Freezing Tips

This power bowl base freezes very well, however, the red pepper should be partially cooked to maintain the best texture. Also, don’t freeze it with the fresh herbs, just quinoa, corn, beans, red pepper and vinaigrette!

Freezing aside, the base will keep for up to five days in the fridge. Do not add herbs until just before serving as they can become slimy.

Quinoa Power Bowl Base Recipe

Quinoa Power Bowl Base

A high-protein vegetarian power bowl ‘base’ for quick weeknight dinners. Simple and versatile.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegetarian
Essential Ingredient: Quinoa
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 282kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 ears corn on the cob or 1 c. corn kernels
  • 1 red bell pepper finely diced
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa cooled
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, dill or chives

Instructions

  • Cut the corn off the cob and place in a steamer or pan with tight fitting lid. Add a splash of water and steam on medium high heat for about 6 minutes. If your corn is very fresh and tender it may cook in under 5 minutes. Taste it!
  • If you are freezing this base, you will need to partially cook the red pepper to maintain the best texture. Add the pepper dice to the corn in the last few minutes of cooking and steam along with the corn. You can also sauté both vegetables in a bit of oil. Whichever is easier.
  • Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and cool. Add the cooked quinoa and drained black beans. Stir to combine your power bowl base ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, cumin, garlic, chili powder and olive oil. Add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the quinoa mixture and stir well to combine. At this point the base can be refrigerated for several days. Before serving, stir in chopped fresh herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired, then build your power bowl!

Notes

Additional flavourings could be chopped preserved lemon or fermented vegetables.

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 453mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 851IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 3mg

Power Bowl Toppings

Here’s how to round out the quinoa power bowl base into a meal. I’m giving suggestions for both vegetarian and flexitarian dinners. As always, use what is local and in season to you.

Vegetarian:

Add one of the following ingredient combinations to your quinoa power bowl base:

  • Arugula, Avocado, Red Onion, Sunflower Seeds, Cilantro
  • Red Cabbage, Green Onion, Grated Carrot, Sesame Seeds, Mint or Basil
  • Crumbled Feta, Diced Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Oregano
  • Fried Egg, Salsa, Avocado, Cilantro
  • Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Buratta, Basil, Pine Nuts
  • Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Iceberg, Blue Tortilla Chips
  • Goat Cheese, Grilled Sweet Potato, Pickled Shallots
  • Charred Broccoli, Sesame Tofu, Pumpkin Seeds, Parsley

Flexitarian:

Add one of the following ingredient combinations to your quinoa power bowl base:

Fresh corn should be showing up at the farmer’s markets any day now and sweet bell peppers are plentiful. Add both vegetables to your basket, pair them with beans and quinoa from the pantry and try my recipe this week.

Happy cooking. Happy August!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Cheryl Terdina says

    5 stars
    This looks like a perfect base for leftovers that I don’t know what to do with. I’m afraid that the chili powder and cumin in the quinoa will skew the flavors toward a Latin dish. If I wanted to have an Asian dinner, what spices would you recommend in the base?

  2. 5 stars
    This is fantastic! I’ve made it several times already – and it is coming in our camping cooler tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your summer & safe, fun travels!

  3. Sounds delicious 🙂 I will make it once. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

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