These quinoa veggie bowls are a one pan & one pot dish that are easy to make and full of flavor! Quinoa coated in a pesto cream sauce mixed with sautéed veggies equals an easy meal for dinner or lunch. I add beans for extra protein, but you could also add shredded chicken.
How to Sauté Vegetables
Sautéed vegetables are one of my favorite ways to eat veggies! The nutritional value is maintained and even enhanced when you add in olive oil thanks to those fat soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E & K). These vitamins need fat to be absorbed in the body, so sautéing them in a healthy fat like olive oil or avocado oil is a great way to increase nutritional value.
My go to saute veggie recipe is simple: just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, garlic, salt and pepper – that’s it! Of course, I change it up depending on the meal. But this combo never fails to be delish on its own!
Tips: cut the veggies up into uniform pieces. This way they cook evenly, and some won’t be crunchy while others are soft. A great tip I learned in school from a chef: when using fresh garlic or dried herbs add them into the oil for a minute or two before adding in the veggies. This allows the garlic or dried herbs to infuse into the oil. If you are using fresh cut herbs like dill or rosemary add those near the end to prevent them from burning.
In this recipe, we sauté the onions, squash and asparagus first. Since they are more fibrous, they take longer to break down and become soft. Once they start to become softer, I add in the tomatoes and spinach. Stir it for a few minutes and done!
How do You Cook Quinoa?
As you probably already know, I love quinoa! I use it in a lot of my recipes, like my kale and quinoa wrap, and love that it’s high in protein and fiber, making it a great alternative for those needing a gluten-free option.
The typical ratio of liquid to quinoa is 2:1. In this recipe, I cooked 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water. I cook it in vegetable or chicken broth to add in flavor, since it can be pretty blah without it. Usually it takes between 15-20 minutes for the quinoa to absorb all the water.
Creamy Pesto Cream Sauce
I wanted to make a a savory, creamy sauce for these quinoa bowls, so I made a pesto cream sauce. Heat equal parts cream and milk over low-medium heat, add in the pesto, whisk in the cheese and viola you got a creamy pesto sauce ready to go!
Note: this is a thin sauce, and I wouldn’t recommend using it for pasta. To get a thicker sauce, flour would need to be added. Since the quinoa will absorb the sauce, I made the consistency thinner.
Assembling the Quinoa Veggie Bowls
I start my quinoa veggie bowl prep first with the sautéed veggies. As they cook, I get the quinoa going. Then I work on the pesto cream sauce. Once the quinoa is done, I set it aside to cook down and when the sauce is ready, I pour it from the small sauce pan into the pot of quinoa. Mix it in well, and the quinoa is ready to be served! When the sauteed vegetables are done, I add in a can of beans. I use whatever I have on hand. For these shots, it was great northern beans.
Scoop some pesto quinoa onto a plate, pile it up with the sautéed veggies and beans, and viola you got delicious quinoa veggie bowls made! This meal is perfect for meal prepping too. What I do is store the sauteed vegetables in a container and add to other dishes throughout the week so that I got variety. Same thing with the pesto quinoa. I might add the pesto quinoa to a salad or wrap – hope you enjoy!
Quinoa Veggie Bowls With Pesto Sauce
For the Sautéed Veggies
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup asparagus chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 zucchini quartered
- 1 yellow squash quartered
For the Pesto Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa cooked
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons already made pesto
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
For the Sautéed Veggies
- Heat the oil and minced garlic over medium heat in a large pan.
- Sauté the onions, aspargus, yellow squash and zucchini for 5-10 minutes.
- Add in the spinach and tomatoes and sauté an additional 5 minutes or until veggies are soft.
For the Pesto Quinoa
- Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups vegetable broth to a boil in a pot. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes. The quinoa is done cooking once all the broth is absorbed!
- As the quinoa cooks, heat the milk and cream in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat. Make sure to not let it boil.
- Add in the pesto, turn heat to low and cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the cheese and stir until smooth.
- Pour pesto sauce over cooked quinoa and mix well
- I start with sautéing the veggies. As the veggies cook, I then start the quinoa. Then, I get going on the pesto sauce!
- The pesto cream sauce is a thinner consistency, because the quinoa will absorb the liquid.
If you ever make a recipe, tag me on Instagram @monicanedeff.rdn I love seeing your creations and sharing them with the community! Please comment and give this recipe a star rating if you’ve made it as it greatly helps support this blog and my small biz, thank you! Happy cooking!