This roasted veggie quinoa bowl is made with a wide variety of perfectly roasted veggies and cooked quinoa for a tasty one-bowl meal! Quinoa Buddha bowls make an easy lunch you can make ahead and enjoy all week long.
Updated: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated with new photos and additional content.
What do you do when you have a bunch of fresh vegetables and you want to eat them all at once ... you create a Buddha bowl!!
It's made with tons of vegetables and a fresh kale pesto that truly delivers flavor!
- 💚 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- 🤔 What is a Buddha Bowl?
- 🛒 Ingredients
- 🔪 How to Cut Yuca
- ✅ How to Make a Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowl
- 🔪 Helpful Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
- ❄️ How to Store and Use Leftovers
- 👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- 🌎 Sustainability Suggestions
- ➕ More Easy Lunch Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowl
- 💬 Comments
💚 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Packed with tons of fresh produce and healthy ingredients.
- Healthy vegetarian lunch that can easily be made vegan.
- An easy meal prep lunch or quick dinner option.
- Lots of versatility to use ingredients you have on hand or to change it up.
🤔 What is a Buddha Bowl?
There are a few different ideas about where this term originated. I love the idea that it's related to the Buddhist concept of balance.
A Buddha bowl contains a balance of ingredients:
- Whole grains: Such as rice, barley, millet, quinoa, or others.
- Healthy protein: Tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, or beans are all popular additions.
- Various vegetables: These may be raw or cooked, or a combination of the two.
I like this line of thinking! In creating this quinoa bowl (and most meals, really), I was striving to develop balance nutritionally and visually on the plate.
A great rule of thumb I use often - create meals incorporating the "colors of the rainbow."
Quinoa Buddha Bowl with Roasted Vegetables incorporates all of those beautiful colors and health benefits in one bowl - a true "power bowl" of ingredients!
All you need to make a quinoa veggie bowl are simple, wholesome, fresh ingredients. Here's a glimpse at the highlights.
- Kale: You can use green curly kale or lacinato kale.
- Basil and garlic: You will definitely want to use fresh basil and garlic when making fresh pesto.
- Pine nuts: These are the classic nut for pesto but you can also use walnuts for a more budget-friendly option.
- Parmesan cheese: Added to the kale pesto, but you can swap it for a vegan parmesan cheese or even some nutritional yeast if desired.
- Carrots: I like to use rainbow carrots since they give them a nice splash of color. If those aren’t available, regular carrots work great.
- Quinoa: You can use white or tri-colored quinoa to make a quinoa bowl. It's a great addition because, on its own, quinoa provides sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids needed - so it's a complete plant-based protein source and packed with tons of nutrients.
- Yuca: Chances are you’ve seen it in your grocery store but maybe haven’t tried it before.
- Baby bok choy: I find baby bok choy a great addition to this veggie and quinoa bowl.
- Microgreens: I love using these tiny little greens in salads and buddha bowls but if you can’t get them, you can also use watercress, baby arugula, or other greens and chop them up a bit.
🤔 What is Yuca Root?
Yuca root, also known as cassava or manioc, is a tuber vegetable that originated in South America but is now a staple ingredient in many places around the world.
It has a tough, brown exterior that's slightly similar to tree bark but not quite as firm. Inside the vegetable is a creamy white color.
The flavor is quite bland and starchy but easily absorbs flavors used during cooking. Yuca must be cooked and can't be eaten raw as it contains poisonous compounds.
🔪 How to Cut Yuca
Yuca root may seem intimidating to prepare, especially if you haven't cooked with it before. But once you know what to do, it's not all that hard.
It is rather hard to cut through so I recommend first cutting it in half and trimming off the ends. That way, you can easily stand it up on its flat surface and trim the peel off.
You will need to use a knife as a peeler likely isn't strong enough to remove the peel. With the flat surface on the cutting board, trim the sides off.
Then cut in half lengthwise and then into smaller cubes.
TOP TIP: Sometimes, there is a large fibrous strip down the middle that is quite inedible which you can also remove by cutting out the core a bit. It may be difficult to see when uncooked.
✅ How to Make a Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowl
There are a few different steps involved when making a Buddha bowl no matter what ingredients you use. But really, while it may look like a lot, it's actually pretty easy to assemble.
- Make the kale pesto. Combine the kale, basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and a few grinds of fresh pepper in a food processor.
Pulse a few times and slowly add in olive oil and vegetable broth to reach your desired consistency. Add the pesto to a small saucepan (or microwave) and heat for a few minutes.
- Roast the veggies. Spread out the carrots and radishes on a baking tray. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt. Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa. Toast the quinoa in a heated saucepan. Add the vegetable stock and bring it to a boil. Then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until all of the stock is absorbed.
Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and let sit covered until you’re ready to assemble the bowl.
- Steam the yuca root for 10 minutes. When it’s done cooking, squeeze lemon juice over the cooked yuca and sprinkle sea salt over the top. Keep it covered and set aside.
- Saute the bok choy. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and cook the bok choy for approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds and set it aside.
- Place all of the ingredients separately in a large bowl. Top it with green onions, microgreens, and a drizzle of kale pesto.
🔪 Helpful Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
Not sure what you need to make a quinoa veggie! Here are some helpful hints.
- A food processor works best to make the kale pesto but you can also use a blender if that's all you've got.
- Steamer basket or a double boiler to cook the yuca.
- A sturdy, well-sharpened knife to cut up all your veggies.
❄️ How to Store and Use Leftovers
If you have leftovers, here are my tips for using them.
- Store leftover ingredients in the fridge. Most will last for up to four days.
- Quinoa veggie bowls are great warm or cold, which makes them great to carry with you on the go.
- If prefer your quinoa bowl heated, store everything separately to make it a bit easier to reheat in the microwave or on top of the stove.
- Make roasted veggie quinoa bowls in advance and carry them with you on the go or to use as a quick lunch throughout the week.
- When making for meal prep, use glass containers and build your bowls ahead of time so you can quickly grab them on your way out the door.
If you have extra ingredients and don't want to make another quinoa Buddha bowl, here are some ideas:
- Cooked Quinoa: You can use cooked quinoa leftover to make a Spring Asparagus and Pea Salad or make this Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad.
- Roasted veggies: Any leftover veggies can be added to a salad or used in a vegetable stir fry to use them up.
- Kale pesto: Use it in place of regular pesto in just about any recipe. It'd be great in this Summer Pesto and Zoodles and Tomato Salad recipe or serve it up with a freshly cooked Cauliflower Steak.
- Yuca: Leftover cooked yuca can be sauteed with garlic and butter or fried until crispy and served up as a side dish, or use raw yuca to make this Yuca with Garlic Sauce by The Spruce Eats.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- If you want to make it ahead, you can store it ready to carry in glass containers or store the ingredients separately for a quick lunch at home.
- Feel free to change it up and add different ingredients. Roasted tempeh, chickpeas, or lentils are great to boost the amount of protein in the bowl.
- If you aren't familiar with cooking yuca root, check above for more on how to prep it.
- You can easily make this dish vegan by using vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast in the pesto.
If you can't find the yuca or aren't a fan, you can swap it for potatoes or sweet potatoes.
It can be eaten however you prefer! It works eaten hot or warm but also tastes great cold too.
🌎 Sustainability Suggestions
As we acclimate to some of the environmental challenges we face today, it is also important to learn how to cook with foods that are sustainable and eco-friendly options. These foods will become more accessible and an integral part of our diet.
One of the key benefits of yuca root is its resilience and adaptability to various environmental conditions. Unlike other crops that require a lot of water and fertilizers, yuca can thrive in poor soils and with minimal irrigation. It is also resistant to pests and only diseases, which means that farmers can reduce the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals that can harm the environment.
Moreover, yuca is a highly productive crop that can yield up to 25 tons per hectare, making it an efficient use of land and resources. This makes it an ideal crop for small-scale farmers who want to maximize their yields and income without sacrificing the health of the soil and the environment.
Furthermore, yuca can be processed into a variety of products, such as flour, starch, and biofuels, which can create additional income opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs. The production of yuca-based products can also reduce waste and promote circular economy practices, which are crucial for achieving a sustainable future.
Overall, yuca root is a sustainable and eco-friendly crop that can provide multiple benefits to both farmers and consumers. By promoting the cultivation and consumption of yuca, we can contribute to a more sustainable and resilient food system that is better for the planet and for our health.
➕ More Easy Lunch Recipes
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Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowl
Kale Pesto Ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups kale lactino or green
- 1 ½ cups basil leaves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese *use vegan parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ - ¾ cup vegetable broth
- freshly ground pepper
Roasted Vegetable Bowl Ingredients:
- 8 ounces red radishes (about 12 -14) halved
- 8 rainbow carrots assorted colors, sliced
- 1½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed and cleaned in a stainer
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
- 1 yucca root cut into bite size chunks
- ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 12 ounces baby bok choy 2 bunches, cleaned
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 green onions sliced
- In a food processor, combine kale, basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Pulse a few times and slowly add in olive oil & vegetable broth until desired consistency.
- Add the pesto to a small pot (or microwave) and heat for a few minutes. Makes about 1 ½ cups of pesto. Refrigerate and save any leftovers.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place in oven and roast for approximately 20 - 30 minutes.
Bowl Ingredient Prep
- Place 1 cup of dry quinoa into a slightly heated pot. Toast grain for a few minutes before adding the 1 ¾ cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer & cook covered, for approximately 15 - 20 minutes, until all of the stock is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let sit covered.
- Steam the yucca root for 10 minutes (in a steamer basket or double boiler). When done, squeeze ½ lemon juice over cooked yucca root & sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Keep covered & set aside.
- In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, and braise the bok choy for approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set aside.
- Place all of the ingredients separated in a large bowl. Top it with a green onions, microgreens, and a drizzle of kale pesto.