By Taylor Nadauld, Contributing Blogger
Summertime is all about easy, flexible, fresh meals, and these rainbow quinoa bowls check all of those boxes and more.
Quinoa bowls are my favorite easy meal when I want something nourishing and yummy, yet simple enough to throw together in under 45 minutes. I especially love these bowls in the summer because they’re so farmer’s market friendly. After spending a sunny morning at the market picking out fresh veggies, it’s lovely to take a moment to prep, cook, and eat a delicious meal with friends. These bowls also feel like a super nourishing act of self care on rainy summer days when I’m feeling down and want something comforting for my belly.
As you try this recipe, keep in mind that as long as you’ve got a bed of quinoa (which is so easy to make), you can really mix and match so many different toppings, depending on what you’re craving.
So with the versatility of these bowls in mind, here is my personal go-to recipe for a nourishing quinoa bowl that includes some great superfoods. I call this a rainbow bowl because I try to include a variety of colors - juicy, red and yellow tomatoes, zesty cilantro, creamy avocado, a kick of purple onion, orange sweet potatoes and crunchy blue corn tortilla chips.
Rainbow Quinoa Bowls:
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup black beans
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup diced purple onion
Blue corn tortilla chips
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp salt
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dice sweet potatoes into half-inch cubes. Toss the potatoes in olive oil, cinnamon and salt, making sure each cube is fully seasoned. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and pop them in the oven to bake for 27-35 minutes, until golden brown and tender. I check my potatoes every 15 minutes and flip them around a bit with a pair of tongs to make sure they are cooking evenly.
While the potatoes are cooking, you can move on to the quinoa. Check your quinoa’s packaging for specific cooking instructions, however, you will usually mix one cup of quinoa with two cups of water in a medium sized pot. (I find cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice, in that you want your measurements to be precise.) Bring this to a boil, then set the heat to low. Cover the pot, and let the quinoa simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat. The quinoa is cooked when the curly outer tail has popped out and the water has been absorbed.
And that’s really it for the “cooking” portion of this meal, depending on how you want to cook your black beans. (I prefer to use canned black beans. I simply place them in a heat-safe bown and pop that bowl in the microwave for about a minute.) Once you get all of this going, you can prep the rest of your toppings. Dice your grape tomatoes, chop the cilantro and slice your avocados into crescents. Slice a lime into four triangles.
Once the quinoa is cooked and the potatoes are done, it’s time for my favorite part - plating the food! Look, if you’re in a hurry to eat, it’s obviously not necessary to plate the food any certain way - this is really just a salad, all the ingredients will end up mixed in the end. But I find so much joy in taking the time to make this meal look beautiful before eating.
To do so, fluff the quinoa with a fork and place about a cup of it into your bowl. (I prefer a flatter bowl because it’s easier to see and spread out my toppings.) Once you have your bed of quinoa, place the rest of your toppings in a circle on top - the sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes and avocados. Then place a few of the blue corn tortilla chips and your lime wedge on the outer edge of the salad.
I prefer to have some kind of sauce drizzled on top. When I’m in a pinch, I mix two parts sour cream with one part hot sauce and a splash of water to the mixture to make a dressing that’s easy to drizzle. I also love an avocado lime dressing and sometimes I do no dressing at all! It’s really up to you.
Drizzle your sauce (or not), top the dish with a sprinkling of cilantro, and this warm, nourishing meal is ready to eat!
Quinoa bowls are so easy to make, and you can mix and match all kinds of different toppings. It’s a great catch-all meal when you have lots of little leftovers in your fridge and need a way to use them. My boyfriend loves to add grilled chicken or even seared tuna to this recipe for some extra protein - another delicious option!
How do you enjoy a quinoa bowl? What are your favorite seasonal toppings? Let us know in the comments!