So this bowl is vegan by accident. When I decided I wanted to make a veggie-centric hearty yet healthy power bowl, I chose the components that I thought would make it as delicious as possible. Turns out, sometimes maximum deliciousness doesn’t involve meat or cheese (or French fries) at all. Who knew?
Also, have you ever had hummus warm? And as a component of a dinner rather than a dip? If not, I recommend that you do. It’s really delicious and richly comforting. Homemade hummus is my favorite (by far) but if you don’t have it on hand and there’s a store bought hummus you like, use it (and tell me which one it is because I need a fix for lazy days). I don’t recommend trying to make hummus from scratch on the same night as you make these bowls. You could, but it feels ambitious to me, and I think if anything healthy eating needs to be brought down to earth. Leave your ambitions at work or the gym or someplace more glamorous than your kitchen.
It looks like there is a lot going on in here, but the prep for the recipe is pretty simple. Especially if you have a Trader Joe’s near you where you can pick up a bag of pre-chopped butternut squash and a box of frozen quinoa (removing as many roadblocks as possible makes weeknight cooking less daunting). From there it’s just about slicing an avocado, chopping an onion and some peppers, timing the roasted veggies, and zapping a few things in the microwave.
Pretty colors, huh? This recipe takes about an hour to put together, with 15 minutes of that time actually actively cooking. It’s filling, comforting, rainbow-licious (??(sure)), amazingly flavorful, and somehow magically vegan.
Quinoa Power Bowls with Avocado, Hummus, and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
Makes 2 big bowls
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into about 1″ cubes (or get some pre-diced from TJ’s or Wegmans or wherever)
1 medium red onion
1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper (or a handful of mixed baby peppers like I used here)
2 cups quinoa, cooked (or a bag of frozen quinoa)
4 cups fresh arugula, spinach, or baby kale
1 small avocado
1 cup of your favorite hummus
olive oil, for roasting
salt and pepper
chopped parsley, for garnish
Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste
1. Start by preheating your oven to 400F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced butternut squash in a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes (it will take a full hour for it to get nice and caramelized and delicious, but the squash needs a head start on the peppers and onions).
2. While the squash roasts, roughly dice peppers, cut onion into chunky wedges, and set aside.
3. If you are cooking quinoa from scratch, start the pot now. Follow the directions on the bag to end up with two cups of cooked quinoa, and don’t forget to add salt. If you are cooking quinoa from frozen, wait until assembly time.
4. In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl (big enough to toss your baby greens of choice in) make your vinaigrette. Mix together olive oil, garlic, and smoked paprika and microwave for 30 seconds. When the paprika and garlic are warm and fragrant, add honey, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Take out 2-3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette for topping finished bowls, and pile your 4 cups of greens in the large bowl, but wait to toss them until you are ready to plate.
5. When the butternut squash has roasted for 30 minutes, take the pan out of the oven, toss the squash around and scoot it all to one side of the pan. Lay out your peppers and onion wedges on the other side, add salt and pepper, and return the pan to the oven for another 30 minutes.
6. When the vegetables are tender and nicely caramelized, you’re ready to start assembling bowls. Start by microwaving your frozen quinoa (if that’s what you are using). Then load about a half cup of hummus in each bowl and microwave them for 45 seconds each. Add a scoop of quinoa next to the hummus.
7. Toss the greens in their bowl with the paprika vinaigrette. I like to squish the greens a bit for this, so they soften and wilt. You get a lot more greens on your plate that way, plus they are easier to eat (and more delicious in my opinion).
8. Pile the roasted veggies on top of the bed of hummus/quinoa/greens you just made. Then finish the bowls by slicing up your avocado and arranging on top, drizzling everything with the reserved vinaigrette, and topping with a bit of chopped parsley (if you’re into that).