Real Food Whole Life

Easy Southwest Quinoa Bowls

RecipesRobyn Downs11 Comments

Simple, fresh ingredients combine in these Easy Southwest Quinoa Bowls, perfect for a light dinner or lunch on-the-go.

Easy Southwest Quinoa Bowls #vegan #glutenfree

Quinoa salad is just one of those recipes everyone should have in their cooking arsenal. It's easy to make, is lovely served warm or at room temperature, and can be packed to take for lunch anywhere. It's perfect as a side to grilled or baked meat or fish, and also works on its own as a filling main dish. 

These Easy Southwest Quinoa Bowls start with a base of fluffy warm quinoa, then come alive with the addition of bright summer veggies, protein-rich black beans, a tangy honey-lime dressing, and crunchy pumpkin seeds. The recipe is very adaptable, so feel free to let your imagination and preferences guide you when it comes to the vegetable combination. Use what's fresh, what you like, and what you have! 

These bowls are naturally gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and vegan. If you like feta and you're not dairy-free, it would be a nice topping for these bowls. Diced avocado would also be a tasty addition, though neither is necessary as these bowls are full of flavor as is. Sunflower seeds will also work in place of the pumpkin seeds.

Easy Southwest Quinoa Bowls, an easy healthy lunch or dinner recipe that is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.

Kid-friendly notes. The vibrant colors and mild flavors of these bowls will appeal to some kids, but here are some options for resistant eaters:

  • Before adding the dressing to the quinoa set some aside. Drizzle with olive oil or add a bit of butter and a pinch of salt. This preparation may appeal to the kids who prefer noodles with butter, and is more nutritious (it's also messier, but we'll just ignore that part).
  • Serve all the veggies separately on the plate, or serve them family-style in small bowls at the table. Let the child serve himself the veggies, then toss them in the bowl. Again, messier, but surprisingly effective. 
  • Let her use the pumpkin seeds as "sprinkles" to top off her bowl masterpiece.
Easy Southwest Quinoa Bowls, an easy healthy lunch or dinner recipe that is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. #vegan #glutenfree



1½ cup quinoa

2 ¾ cups chicken stock or water

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 orange, red, or yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 ears corn, kernels cut off or 1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted

⅓ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup chopped cilantro

For the Dressing

¼ cup lime juice (from about 2-3 limes)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon mild chili powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

2 teaspoons honey

½ cup olive oil


1. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with a tight fitting lid along with the chicken stock. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let stand for an additional 5 minutes.

2. While the quinoa cooks make the dressing by whisking the lime juice, salt, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and honey until well combined. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk again until well combined.

3. In a large bowl add the warm quinoa and pour over the dressing. Add the black beans, cabbage, tomatoes, bell pepper, and corn. Stir to combine, then top with pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish.

Making this recipe? Let me know what you think and any adaptations you make in the comments. I really love hearing from you!

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