Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls

Crispy sauteed kale and fluffy quinoa salad served with homemade hummus and lemon vinaigrette. Meal prep heaven!

If your family is anything like mine, you probably grew up eating white rice & lots of butter with almost every meal.

Even now, when most of my childhood favorites gross me out, I still love it as a side. But when I started educating myself on how to eat better, I quickly decided that it had to go. There’s no need for me to eat something that has been bleached and processed to the point where it essentially has no flavor or nutritional value. Adulthood, ya know?

So I won’t lie to you and tell you that quinoa tastes just like white rice, because it doesn’t. But it really is a versatile ingredient and has a nice nuttiness. If you’ve tried quinoa before and didn’t love it, I highly suggest giving it another try in a dish like this one. Quinoa has never been my favorite on its own, but I really love the flavor when its mixed together with other ingredients. And it gets even better when its served with a dressing or sauce!

Even the husband loves this recipe, and thats saying something considering the fact that kale and quinoa are not things he usually desires to eat.

And did I mention that you can bring this with you for lunch and you don’t even need to heat it up? Thats my kind of low maintenance meal prep.

You just really can’t go wrong with this one!

The quinoa is easy peasy to make, so just follow the package directions. I then toss my warm quinoa with a little olive oil and some s&p. As for the kale, you’ll want to rinse it and dry it as much as possible before chopping it roughly. Then put a little bacon fat or oil in a pan over medium-high heat and throw it in. The kale will cook down and wilt a bit as you stir it, but I like to let it sit in the hot pan for a minute or so to get it nice and crispy. Those crispy bits add tons of great flavor to the dish!

Now for all the yummy toppings. Feel free to get creative and throw on some of your favorites – artichoke hearts, chopped sun dried tomatoes, some dolmas… there are tons of different things you can add to this to make it your own.

My go-to extras are tomato, kalamata olives (NOMS), cucumbers, and feta (duh). Its best to scoop the seeds out of the cucumber with a spoon before chopping it up – that helps keep it from going bad in case you want to store this in the fridge for lunch for a few days. Make sure your olives are pitted ones, and opt for grape or cherry tomatoes so you don’t have a lot of seeds & goo in your bowls. Nobody like tomato goo.

If you want to keep it super simple, you can eat the bowl as it is with a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. But I try to make my meal planning as fun and flavorful as possible so I never get bored with eating right, and sauces are my favorite way to do that!

The lemon vinaigrette (recipe here) is so tangy and I love how the quinoa soaks it up. And since this is a vegetarian dish, a big scoop of hummus (recipe here) can kick up the protein and fat content so your brain and body will be happy. I eat meatless pretty often, and its helped me to incorporate a wider variety of protein sources.

I know that eating healthy can be a challenge, especially when you’re on the go a ton. I hope that this and my other meal prep recipes will help you to set yourself up for success each week. To check out other recipes like this one, just search “meal prep” in the top menu bar.

And don’t forget to tag me on instagram (@ahintofgarlic) and facebook! I would love to connect with you guys, whether its about food, this year’s goals, or baby mama things. And its always awesome to see pictures of the food you make. Thanks for stopping by!

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls Recipe

Servings: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry organic quinoa
  • 1 bunch organic kale (about 4 cups chopped)
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup organic grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium organic cucumber
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup organic hummus*
  • 4-6 ounces (1/2 - 3/4 cup) lemon vinaigrette*

Instructions

  1. Make your hummus and lemon vinaigrette ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. See the notes below for links to those recipes!

  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions.

  3. While the quinoa is cooking, place a pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of bacon fat, butter or other cooking oil. Rinse and dry the leaves of kale. Remove the stalks and chop into bite sized pieces. Place all the kale in the hot pan and toss well. Be careful, they may pop and sizzle from the heat! Cook the kale until it has wilted a bit and the edges are nice and crispy.

  4. Toss the kale with the fully cooked quinoa and season lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut the olives and tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Chop the cucumber into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and feta over the top of the quinoa mixture.

  5. Serve each Quinoa Bowl with a scoop of hummus and a drizzle of lemon vinaigrette. This meal is great served warm or cold!

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