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!
Okay, I’m ready for that epic pesto and those roasted veggies now: Jump to Recipe
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!
It also amazes me that this is my first quinoa bowl recipe on SGTO because I am legit 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. It truly soaks up all the goodness of whatever sauce you put it in!
Now, just one more thought before we get to the recipe. Even though I included very specific vegetables here, I want to stress that this recipe is flexible. It’s been really interesting to enter into the food blogging world and witness more tenured bloggers complain about people asking them for substitutes and suggestions. 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. As you may have read in my bio, I find writing recipes incredibly hard because I tend to cook by taste testing and adding ingredients along the way. Still, 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. Lets 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.
Maybe some day I’ll write a blog post all about cooking intuitively without recipes, but for now I guess you will just have to do with this pesto filled spring vegetable quinoa bowl recipe! Go out, get cooking, and don’t forget to eat your greens!
In case you are looking for some of the tools & ingredients used in this recipe, I’ve put a few of my favorites for you here:
- Not stocked up on nutritional yeast? It’s definitely an ingredient you don’t want to skip in the pesto as it adds a really nice cheese-like flavor! Bragg Nutritional Yeast is what I use in all of my recipes.
- If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, Kirkland Organic Quinoa is what I always get. I usually pick up at Costco directly and love getting my quinoa in bulk!