This high protein vegetable bowl made with quinoa is a great option for any vegan looking to squeeze some extra protein into their day. Sure, it’s easy to get protein from powders and bars, but I prefer getting my protein from whole sources like this veggie quinoa bowl.
This is an easy meal that will satisfy your taste buds and keep you full for a long time. Filled with healthy veggies and various protein sources, this veggie bowl is good for a quick lunch, a simple side dish or a main dish.
Some may call this a buddha bowl and others may call it a power bowl or harvest bowl. Honestly? I’m not sure the difference and I consider a warm and hearty salad. The fluffy texture of the quinoa works very well with the fresh vegetables. This is one of my favorite plant-based meals and I like to make it for an easy dinner that also works well for meal prep.
About the ingredients
Uncooked Quinoa (1 cup): Quinoa, a nutrient-rich whole grain, serves as the base for this hearty bowl. Packed with essential amino acids, fiber, and minerals, quinoa provides a wholesome foundation while contributing a satisfying, nutty flavor.
Vegetable Broth (2 cups): Infusing the quinoa with vegetable broth adds depth and savory notes to the dish. The broth enhances the overall flavor profile and ensures the quinoa absorbs a rich taste during cooking.
Delicata Squash (1 medium): Delicata squash, known for its tender skin and sweet flavor, brings a delightful contrast to the bowl. Roasted to perfection, it adds a creamy texture and natural sweetness that complements the savory elements. You can also use sweet potato if you do not have squash.
Broccoli Florets (¾ lb): Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, broccoli not only contributes nutritional value but also brings a vibrant green color and a crisp bite. Roasting enhances its earthy flavor, providing a satisfying contrast to the softer components.
Olive Oil (4 tbsp): Olive oil serves as the cooking medium for roasting, imparting a rich and fruity flavor to the vegetables. Additionally, it contributes heart-healthy fats, enhancing the overall mouthfeel of the dish.
Salt and Pepper (1 tsp and ½ tsp, divided): The measured use of salt and pepper ensures a balanced seasoning throughout the recipe. Salt enhances flavors, while black pepper adds a subtle kick, creating a harmonious flavor.
Ground Coriander (1 tsp): Ground coriander introduces warm, citrusy notes to the dish, enhancing the overall aroma and flavor. Its aromatic quality complements the earthiness of the roasted vegetables.
Roasted Pepitas/Pumpkin Seeds (½ cup): These crunchy pepitas not only provide a delightful texture but also contribute plant-based protein and healthy fats. Roasting intensifies their nutty flavor, adding depth to the bowl.
Dried Cranberries (½ cup): Dried cranberries bring a sweet and tangy burst to the mix, balancing the savory and earthy components. Their chewy texture and vibrant color contribute to the overall appeal of the dish.
Cashews (½ cup, soaked overnight): Soaked cashews form the base of a luscious dressing, offering creaminess without dairy. Rich in healthy fats and protein, cashews contribute a velvety texture and a subtle nutty undertone to the dressing.
Garlic (3 cloves): Garlic infuses the dressing with its pungent and aromatic qualities, providing depth of flavor. Its addition complements the sweetness of the delicata squash and the richness of the cashews.
Fresh Lemon Juice (2 tbsp): Lemon juice brightens the dressing, adding a citrusy zing that cuts through the richness of the cashews. Its acidity balances the flavors and enhances the overall freshness of the dish.
Dijon Mustard (2 tsp): Dijon mustard contributes a tangy and slightly spicy element to the dressing. Its emulsifying properties help bind the ingredients together while adding a distinctive kick.
Maple Syrup (½ – 1 tbsp): Maple syrup lends a natural sweetness to the dressing, complementing the savory and earthy notes. The amount can be adjusted to achieve the desired level of sweetness. You can also use date syrup or honey.
Water (4 tbsp + more as needed): Water is added to achieve the ideal consistency for the dressing. It helps create a smooth, pourable texture, ensuring the dressing evenly coats the components of the quinoa bowl. Additional water can be used to adjust thickness according to preference.
Want to mix it up? There are so many ways to change up this recipe. Try adding red bell peppers, green peppers, sweet potatoes, red onion, red cabbage, leafy greens, or green onion. A bit of chili powder also adds a little spice to this recipe.
How To Make This High Protein Vegetable Quinoa Bowl
Make the Dressing:
- Soak cashews in water overnight in the fridge (or for at least 8 hours). Drain.
- In a blender, combine soaked cashews, peeled garlic cloves, and 4 tbsp (60ml) water. Blend on low speed until mostly smooth.
- Add lemon juice, salt, mustard, and ½ tbsp (7ml) of maple syrup. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Adjust maple syrup, salt, and lemon juice to taste.
- Add more cold water until the desired consistency is reached. Dressing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
- Cut delicata in half, scoop out seeds, and slice into ½” (12mm) thick semi-circles.
- In a bowl, drizzle delicata slices with 2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil, ½ tsp (3g) salt, and ¼ tsp (½g) ground pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
- Spread the slices on the baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes on the first side until starting to brown.
- While delicata is cooking, prep the broccoli. Cut florets into even pieces, rinse, and dry.
- In a bowl, coat broccoli with 2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil, ½ tsp (3g) salt, ¼ tsp (½g) ground pepper, and ground coriander. Toss until evenly coated.
- Remove delicata from the oven, flip over, and add the broccoli to the pan.
- Return to the oven and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until broccoli is tender and browned on the edges.
- Rinse and drain quinoa. Combine with broth in a medium pot. Cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Assemble the Bowls:
- Scoop quinoa into bowls. Add about ¼ of each delicata and broccoli to the bowl.
- Sprinkle 2 tbsp each of pumpkin seeds and cranberries over the top.
- Drizzle on 2 tbsp dressing (or more to taste).
- Best served warm. Can be stored for meal prep in component parts for up to 3 days.
Easy Ways To Add More Protein
There are lots of ways to add more protein to these harvest bowls. How much protein is added will depend on the amount of the additional ingredient. If serving 3 people, this recipe contains about 22 grams of protein per serving. Here is how you can add even more protein:
Grilled Tempeh Strips:
Marinate tempeh strips in a blend of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Dijon mustard. Grill until golden and place them on the quinoa bowl for a hearty, vegan protein source.
Coat chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and cumin, then roast until crispy. Add them to the bowl for a crunchy, protein-packed vegan alternative.
Tofu Cubes with Teriyaki Glaze:
Who doesn’t love crispy tofu? Pan-sear tofu cubes until golden and coat them in a homemade teriyaki glaze made with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. The glazed tofu adds a savory, protein-rich element.
Crispy Smoked Tempeh:
Smoke tempeh slices and crisp them up for a smoky, bacon-like flavor. Break them into pieces and sprinkle over the bowl for a delicious, vegan protein addition.
Red Kidney Beans:
Incorporate cooked red kidney beans into the quinoa bowl for a plant-based protein boost. Not only do they add a hearty texture, but they also bring a wealth of fiber, vitamins, and minerals to the dish.
Peanut Butter-Tahini Drizzle:
Create a creamy and protein-rich drizzle by blending peanut butter with tahini. Drizzle this combination over the bowl to infuse it with a nutty flavor while adding plant-based protein and healthy fats.
Chia Seed Dressing:
Create a protein-rich dressing by blending chia seeds with water, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Drizzle this chia seed dressing over the bowl for an omega-3 boost.
Hemp Seed Topping:
Sprinkle hemp seeds generously over the quinoa bowl to add a nutty flavor and a substantial dose of vegan protein.
I love this recipe so much, I just made these as lunch bowls last week! It can be difficult to get enough protein on a plant-based diet, but these warm bowls are an easy way. If you’re looking for more vegan quinoa recipes, check out these two.
High Protein Vegetable Quinoa Bowl (Vegan)
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 delicata squash medium
- ¾ lb broccoli florets
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp salt divided
- ½ tsp ground black pepper divided
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup cashews soaked overnight
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ – 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 tbsp water more as needed
Prepare the dressing
- Begin by soaking cashews in water overnight in the refrigerator, or for a minimum of 8 hours. Once soaked, drain the cashews.
- In a blender, combine the soaked cashews, peeled garlic cloves, and 4 Tbsp. of water. Blend on a low speed until the mixture is mostly smooth.
- Add lemon juice, salt, mustard, and ½ tbsp of maple syrup to the blender. Increase the blending speed to high until the dressing becomes completely smooth. Adjust the quantities of maple syrup, salt, and lemon juice to achieve the desired taste.
- Adjust the consistency by adding more cold water until it reaches the preferred thickness. The dressing is suitable for making in advance and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Prepare the vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
- Halve the delicata squash, remove the seeds, and slice it into ½” thick semi-circles.
- In a bowl, drizzle the delicata slices with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, ½ tsp of salt, and ¼ tsp of ground pepper. Toss the slices to ensure even coating.
- Spread the delicata slices on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes on the first side until they begin to brown.
- While the delicata is roasting, prepare the broccoli by cutting the florets into even pieces, rinsing, and drying.
- In a bowl, coat the broccoli with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp of ground pepper, and ground coriander. Toss the broccoli until it is evenly coated.
- Once the delicata has cooked for the initial time, flip it over, and add the prepared broccoli to the baking pan.
- Return the pan to the oven and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes until the broccoli is tender and has browned edges.
Prepare the quinoa
- Rinse and drain the quinoa. Combine it with vegetable broth in a medium pot, cover, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Scoop the cooked quinoa into bowls. Add approximately ¼ of the roasted delicata and broccoli to each bowl.
- Sprinkle 2 tbsp each of pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries over the top.
- Drizzle 2 Tbsp. of the prepared dressing over the bowls, adjusting the amount according to taste.
- The dish is best enjoyed warm and can be stored for meal prep in individual components for up to 3 days.