With all the fresh produce in season this spring, it was time to present you all with a healthy quinoa bowl dressed with my ultimate favorite vegan pesto. This bowl features all the spring favorites including green and purple asparagus, corn, mushrooms, and microgreens. Not only is this dish incredibly tasty, but it also happens to be filled with a boat-load of greens, making it one of the healthiest recipes on the blog to date! Get Ready for the best Spring Quinoa Bowl with Vegan Pesto!
The Perfect Spring Quinoa Bowl Topped with Homemade Vegan Pesto
It amazes me that this is my first quinoa bowl recipe on SGTO because I am SOO in love with quinoa!
Believe it or not, I actually eat quinoa salads/grain bowls at least 2-3 times a week as I feel they fill me up in a way other vegan meals cannot. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but it also contains a good amount of nutrients lacking in most modern American diets including iron, zinc, and magnesium. P.S- it’s also naturally gluten-free! Funny enough, quinoa is actually a seed, but acts a lot like a grain when cooked.
Even though I included very specific vegetables in this spring quinoa bowl recipe, I want to stress that this recipe is flexible. While I can’t recommend replacements off the top of my head and guarantee they will work, the beauty of cooking is making meals that work for YOU. Which means, ultimately learning how to cook intuitively without a recipe and changing ingredients to suit your needs. I view a written recipe as a great way to help others learn how to cook and discover the tastes they love by getting more creative in the kitchen. Let’s be honest, I originally found my love of cooking by following recipes and, as time went on, adapting those recipes once I had a better understanding of the ingredients at my disposal.
Vegan Pesto: The Only Condiment I Truly Love
So here’s a fun fact about me: I actually hate most condiments (gasp!). Ketchup? That’s going to be a no. Mayonnaise? See ya never. Mustard, relish, bbq sauce, ranch- hard pass from this girl! However, when it comes to pesto, I literally can’t get enough. I’m not even just talking about pesto as a pasta sauce. I’m talking about adding pesto to grain bowls, veggie burgers, every type of sandwich, and dipping my veggies straight into it as a snack. Yep that’s right! I’m a PESTO ADDICT.
As I began my journey to eat more mindfully, and therefore less cheese, I knew making a vegan pesto just as good as the parmesan filled version would be crucial to my success. Luckily, some of the ingredients that make pesto so good are still vegan including pine nuts, garlic, and basil. However, to make this the best pesto ever, I decided to amp up those traditional flavors with a few new and more interesting ingredients. Spinach, arugula, pepitas, cashews, and nutritional yeast all play a crucial role in making this pesto the green glory you see above!
I truly hope you love this pesto filled Spring Quinoa Bowl! Go out, get cooking, and don’t forget to eat your greens!
Looking for more vegetarian quinoa recipes? Check out these SGTO favorites:
A Spring Quinoa Bowl that features some of the best ingredients of the spring season including mushrooms, asparagus, corn, and an arugula and spinach filled vegan pesto. YUM!
Quinoa & Veggies
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa ((any variety, just make sure it’s rinsed!))
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 4 loosely packed cups chopped asparagus (cut into 2–3 inch pieces )
- 1 14 oz can corn (strained and rinsed)
- 3 loosely packed cups button mushrooms (quartered)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- salt and petter to taste
- 1 cup microgreens ((optional- to top the dish))
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked 4–6 hours in water)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup packed basil
- 2 cups loosely packed greens (spinach and arugula are best, but you can also use kale)
- 1/2–1 tsp salt
- Before making your dish, you must soak the cashews so they blend well. There are two ways to do this. The first is to soak the cashews in a container filled with room temperate water for 4-8 hours. This works if you remember to soak your cashews in the morning and make this dish at night. If for any reason you don’t have the time for this, a trick is to boil some water and soak the cashews in boiling water. With boiling water, the cashews only need to soak 30 minutes before being ready to blend.
- Prep your veggies before cooking. Cut your asparagus into 2-3 inch long pieces. Cut your button mushrooms into quarters. Strain and rinse your canned corn.
Quinoa & Veggies
- Preheat your oven to 400F.
- Add your quinoa and veggie broth to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. You will know your quinoa is done when you see the white ring( the germ) curling around the outside of the quinoa seeds. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside.
- While the quinoa is cooking, season and cook your veggies. Add your asparagus, corn, and mushroom to a glass baking dish. Next, season with the olive oil, garlic powder, red chili pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add to the oven and cook the veggies for 25-30 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.
- Once the vegetables are in the oven, it’s time to prep your pesto! Add your cashews, garlic, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, and pepitas to a blender and blend for 1 minute to break up the hard ingredients first. Next, add in your water, olive oil, and lemon juice and blend until a smooth mixture is formed. Finally, add in your basil, greens, and salt and blend 1-2 more minutes more ,stopping to scrape down the sides as need be. Start with 1/2 tsp salt and add up to 1 tsp depending on your taste preference.
- Add your vegan pesto to the large pot containing your cooked quinoa. Mix together until quinoa is entirely coated. Top with the roasted veggies and microgreens to serve! Leftovers can be stored in a container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Bowls will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in a closed container and work great as leftovers.
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