I somehow missed the whole quinoa bowl craze…not sure what rock I may have been sleeping under but a photo of a rather tasty one floated through my social media feed a bunch of weeks back and I was instantly hooked. Given the very real Covid cooking fatigue (especially for my standard repertoire of dishes) and the fun flexibility of a backdrop of greens and quinoa, these have now solidly been added to my weeknight rotation – what could be better than a light, healthy alternative to a protein heavy dinner that lets me play with whatever ingredients happen to be in the fridge or for which we are in the mood.
This version started because I had a leftover head of lacinto kale that was staring at me every time I opened the refrigerator door – ‘Hello there! You need to cook me!’ So I added some roasted chickpeas and tomatoes, made a lemony garlicky dressing and a soft-boiled egg and by the time the roasting was done, dinner was ready.
I recommend making the lemony, garlicky dressing in a glass jar if you have one. This makes it super simple to shake to combine the ingredients and also great to store any leftover dressing for another meal.
Lastly, let’s talk about minimizing pots and pans so clean up is easier, especially on a weeknight. A few notes on this- firstly, of course you can sub the sautéed kale with any veggies you prefer or might have leftover in the fridge. However, I do love the bite of the Tuscan kale against the sweetness of the roasted tomato – the contrast is delicious. Don’t feel like roasting? You can just as easily dress the chickpeas and tomatoes with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and toss in the bowl and layer on the salad. I also adore this salad with either a jammy-centered or poached egg. I used the same pot to first make the eggs and then a quick rinse to use the same pot for the quinoa. I also toasted the pine nuts in the same skillet I used to then make the kale in. The fewer the pots and pans to clean the better!
So whip up a bowl for dinner and with the beautiful spring weather finally upon us, go ahead and pour yourself a nice glass of crisp dry white wine, grab your bowl and head outside to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. See you on the quinoa bowl bandwagon!
Buona primavera and buon appetito! Hugs xoxo
A flavorful lemony Mediterranean-inspired quinoa salad bowl that makes a great hearty salad for lunch or dinner.
For the dressing:
- 1 lemon
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the bowl:
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- About 4 cups cherry tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 ½ cups dry quinoa
- ½ cup pine nuts
- One large bunch of Tuscan kale, ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
- About 4 cups baby arugula or butter lettuce
- Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 4 eggs, cooked to your liking (soft boiled, hard boiled or poached)
Make the dressing:
In a small bowl, zest roughly ½ the lemon. (It doesn’t have to be exact.) Juice the entire lemon into the bowl. Add in the garlic, salt and a large pinch of pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. (You can also make this in a mason jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.
Prepare the bowls:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Place on ½ of a rimmed baking sheet. In the same bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Place on the other ½ of the rimmed baking sheet. (Note: I have tossed them separately so I can layer them separately for the bowl. Feel free to toss them all together if preferred.) Place in the oven and roast 15 – 20 minutes, checking on them occasionally, until the tomatoes are brown and collapsing and the chickpeas are toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
While the chickpeas and tomatoes are roasting, make the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa through a fine sieve. Drain well. Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil. Add in the quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover the quinoa and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Cover again and allow it to rest while you prepare the pine nuts and kale.
Heat a large dry skillet over medium low heat. Add in the pine nuts and cook until fragrant and toasted. Watch closely and stir frequently so they do burn. Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add in the kale and toss in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until tender.
Assemble your bowls:
Divide the greens among the bowls. Divide the quinoa among the bowls. Arrange the kale, tomatoes, chickpeas. Drizzle with the dressing. Top with the egg, cut in half. Shower with shaved Parmigiano, sprinkle with the pine nuts and a little more dressing. Serve!