Harissa Black Bean Quinoa Bowl, a simple plant-based quinoa bean salad with corn, bell peppers, onion, and spicy harissa sauce. A great meal prep recipe for healthy lunches all week long!

black beans, quinoa, bell peppers, onion, corn, and spicy harissa with an egg on top in a black bowl

We love how easy grain bowls are to make and how great they are for meal prep. And this Harissa Black Bean Quinoa Bowl hits all the boxes by being the perfect “make once, eat all week” meal.

👉 Here are three reasons why you need to make a grain bowl with black beans, quinoa, and harissa sauce:

  • It's great for leftovers. This recipe stands up to the time test as it can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, and in the freezer for up to a month. It tastes even better after being stored so it can soak up all the flavors!
  • It's healthy and balanced. Between the fiber-filled veggies and plant-based protein from the black beans and quinoa, these bowls are super satisfying.
  • It's no-fuss! With less than 20 minutes and a few easy steps, this recipe is ready in a cinch. Perfect for busy weeknights and packed lunches.

Ready to learn how to make this easy vegan Harissa Black Bean Quinoa Bowl? Let's do it!


🌶 Ingredients

This simple quinoa bowl recipe uses lots of tasty ingredients, including the following:

  • Quinoa: our recipe for the perfect bowl includes a simple grain, and quinoa is what we used for this one! Rice would also work well in this dish.
  • Veggies: bell peppers, onion, and corn add nutrients, fiber, and color to harissa black bean quinoa bowls.
  • Black Beans: you'll need one can of black beans to bring this recipe to life.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: for a boost of sweet-tart flavor!
  • Cumin, salt, pepper: what we used to flavor up the dish.
  • Harissa: a spicy sauce that adds heat.
  • Optional: two eggs
  • Recommended tools: mixing bowl, large pan
a white plate with red onion, black beans, corn, quinoa, pepper, sun dried tomatoes, cumin, harissa, and eggs

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Cook the quinoa

First, cook quinoa according to package instructions. This usually means adding one part quinoa and two parts water to a saucepan and bringing to a boil, then reducing heat to medium and cooking covered until quinoa is soft (about 15 minutes).

Set the quinoa aside when it's done cooking.


2️⃣ Step Two: Saute vegetables in a pan

Meanwhile, add a small amount of oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add bell peppers, onion, and corn to the pan. Mix in the seasonings, including cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook until the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.


3️⃣ Step Three: Combine black beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and quinoa with veggies

Next, add black beans and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan with the veggies. Cook for about 3 more minutes, then add the cooked quinoa. Mix ingredients together until well-combined and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

If you decide to add eggs to this dish, you will cook them during this step. To cook the egg, add a drizzle of sun-dried tomato oil to a small pan over medium heat. Add two cracked eggs and cook until sunny side up, or when whites are cooked but yolks are still running, about 5 minutes.

a black bean and quinoa salad in a black pan with colorful vegetables

4️⃣ Step Four: Add toppings + serve the salad

Finally, put it all together by adding black bean quinoa salad to a bowl, top with sunny egg, and add a dollop of harissa sauce. Mix it all up and enjoy!

two black bowls with a quinoa grain salad and a sunny egg on top

❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

Are grain bowls healthy?

Most grain bowls are healthy! Our grain bowls are made with a simple grain, beans, roasted veggies, spices, homemade sauce: all good-for-you ingredients that provide vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. Additionally, these quinoa bowls with harissa are high in fiber and plant-based protein.

What is harissa made of?

Traditional harissa is a paste made from a few simple ingredients, including red chilies, garlic, oil, an acid like vinegar or lemon juice, and spices. Some people use tomato paste, paprika, and other spices and seasonings to make harissa. It's a delicious, spicy condiment that can be used as a topping for tacos, burgers, and grain bowls. It can also be mixed into salad dressings and pasta sauce or used as a dip for raw veggies.

What does harissa taste like?

The taste of harissa depends on what ingredients were used to make it. It typically has a deep, spicy flavor and can be sweet or smoky. It ranges in levels of heat depending on the types of chiles and peppers that were used to make the sauce. Most harissa recipes have strong garlicky flavors with a kick of citrus from lemon or orange juice.


🌿 Recipe variations

The best part about this recipe is that there are so many different ways to serve it! Here are some suggestions to make this Harissa Black Bean Quinoa Bowl your own:

  • Switch up the beans. Try kidney beans or chickpeas instead of black beans.
  • Adjust the spice. While harissa is the key ingredient in this recipe, you can also use sriracha or other types of hot sauce if you don't have harissa on hand.
  • Add fresh herbs. We used cumin, salt, and pepper to boost the flavor, but these bowls would taste great topped with fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or even mint.
a hand scooping a bite of a quinoa and black bean grain salad bowl

🧊 How to store

Got leftovers? Storing grain bowls in the refrigerator or freezer is super easy! Simply build your bowls, store, and pull out for work lunches and busy weeknights.

  1. Refrigerator storage: You can store grain bowls in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy within 3-4 days.
  2. Freezer storage (if applicable): Store black bean quinoa bowls in a freezer-safe container before placing in the freezer. For best quality and flavor, enjoy within one month.

♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips

We love making our recipes as environmentally friendly as possible! Here are some ways that you can make your grain bowls more sustainable:

Choose seasonal ingredients. You can switch up the veggies you add to your harissa black bean quinoa bowl based on what's in season. Check out this guide to find out when specific vegetables are in season near you.

Eco-friendly storage containers. This recipe is great for leftovers and is perfect to make ahead and eat for lunches all week long. Invest in glass storage containers so you can package up the salad and take a container out of the refrigerator whenever you need it.

Recycle or repurpose food cans. Rinse out the cans from the black beans and keep them on hand to reuse. If you're not able to save them, make sure to toss them in the recycling bin instead of the trash.

Use leftover harissa in other recipes. You only need 2 tablespoons of harissa for this recipe, so you will definitely have some leftover! Store the harissa jar in the fridge and use the sauce in other recipes (don't let it go to waste!) like our Maple Harissa Roasted Carrots or Mediterranean Chickpea Harissa Frittata.

a fork breaking a sunny egg on top of a quinoa and black bean salad in a black bowl

🌱 More simple veggie bowls

Want more plant-based bowl recipes? We've got you covered:

Harissa Black Bean Quinoa Bowl

Harissa Black Bean Quinoa Bowl, a simple plant-based quinoa bean salad that's great for meal prep. Only 8 ingredients and 20 minutes!
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Ingredients

  • cup quinoa
  • 1 whole bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen also works
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, save 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 whole eggs, optional
  • 2 tablespoons harissa sauce

Instructions 

  • Cook quinoa: Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Typically this means boiling 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. So for this recipe, boil 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water until soft, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  • Cook vegetables: Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large pan (save sun-dried tomato oil, if possible), sliced bell pepper, sliced onion, corn, cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until soft, about five minutes. Then add black beans and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Then mix in cooked quinoa until well combined, cooking about 1-2 minutes.
  • To cook the egg (optional): add a small amount of oil (sun-dried tomato oil is great!) to a small pan over medium heat. Add two cracked eggs and cook until sunny side up, or when whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes.

Notes

  • Tools needed: large pan, mixing bowl in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days; this is also a great meal prep bowl that can be frozen and reheated up to a month later.
  • Prep ahead: Cook the quinoa and the vegetables ahead of time for easy bowl preparation.
  • Leftovers + storage: Store leftover bowls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days; this is also a great meal prep bowl that can be frozen and reheated up to a month later.
  • To reheat: To microwave, heat on high for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through; on stovetop, put bowl content into a pan and heat over medium heat until warm throughout.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 383kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 298mg, Potassium: 1543mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 612IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 8mg

UPDATE: This post was originally published in January 2019 and was updated for clarity in October 2021.