Spicy Peanut Quinoa Bowl, a simple grain bowl with quinoa, spinach, chickpeas, avocado, peanuts, and a Spicy Peanut Sauce drizzle. Full of flavor and oh-so easy!

a black bowl filled with quinoa, spinach, chickpeas, and limes with a gold spoon on a white table

Have you ever craved something healthy, crunchy, and full of flavor…but don’t want to spend much time making it? If so, we have the perfect easy recipe for you!

This easy-peasy quinoa bowl recipe combines all of our favorite things — warm grains, leafy greens, a bit of crunch, and a flavorful spicy sauce. And it comes together in only 20 minutes, which makes it a perfect choice for a quick lunch or easy dinner.

👉 Here are three reasons why you need to make this flavorful vegetable grain bowl:

  • It's packed with nutrients. This recipe comes together with nutrient-dense veggies like tomatoes, onions, and spinach, in addition to quinoa and peanuts which are high in fiber and plant-based protein. You'll also get healthy fats from the avocado, peanut butter, and sesame seeds!
  • It's bursting with flavor. Between the spicy peanut sauce, as well as the tasty cilantro and avocado toppings, this grain bowl is sure to have you coming back for seconds—it's that good!
  • It's no-fuss! This grain bowl is the perfect dish to prepare when you're short on time, like on busy weeknights. It's also a great addition to your meal prep menu, as it's easy to store to enjoy leftovers all week long.

Ready to learn how to make this 20-minute, gluten-free vegan grain bowl? Let's do it!


🌱 Ingredients

From the nutty quinoa, to fresh veggies, greens, and spicy sauce — this recipe features super tasty ingredients! Here's what you'll need:

  • Quinoa: our recipe for the perfect bowl includes a simple grain, and quinoa is what we used for this one! Rice or farro would also work will in this dish.
  • Chickpeas: you'll need one can of chickpeas to bring this recipe to life.
  • Tomatoes: we used roma tomatoes for a boost of flavor!
  • Red onion: chopped onions add an amazing flavor to the bowl.
  • Spinach: the greens we used to bring this recipe together. You can also use kale or arugula.
  • Avocado: diced avocado is the perfect topping!
  • Sesame seeds: sprinkled over the quinoa bowls for garnish.
  • Salt and pepper: a pinch of salt and peppers finishes off the flavor of this dish.
  • Spicy peanut sauce: low sodium soy sauce, creamy peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sriracha, chopped cilantro
  • Recommended tools: small saucepan, knife, cutting board
bowls of chickpeas, spinach, quinoa, sesame seeds, and tomatoes on a white table
All the ingredients you'll need for this flavorful vegetable grain bowl

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Make the Spicy Peanut Sauce

First, whip up a quick batch of the Spicy Peanut Sauce! Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.

a hand whisking sauce in a glass mixing bowl on a white table
Whisk together peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sriracha

2️⃣ Step Two: Cook the quinoa

Next, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. This usually means cooking your desired amount of quinoa with double the amount of water, so for this recipe that would be 1.5 cups of quinoa and 3 cups of water (for 4 servings). Put the quinoa and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.


3️⃣ Step Three: Prep the veggies

While the quinoa is cooking, it’s time to prep the other ingredients like dicing tomatoes and avocados, and chopping cilantro.

Combine the chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and chopped onions in a small bowl and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside.


4️⃣ Step Four: Assemble the quinoa bowls

Finally, it's time to build the bowls! Just add the cooked quinoa, the chickpea, tomato, and onion mixture, a handful of spinach, peanuts, and diced tomatoes to a bowl.

Drizzle a bit of Spicy Peanut Sauce over the bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish. Enjoy!

simple quinoa and spinach salad in a black bowl on a white table
Build the bowl with a grain, vegetables, herbs, and a drizzle of sauce.

❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

Are grain bowls healthy?

Grain bowls are generally healthy, but it depends on what ingredients you use to make them! Our key grain bowl ingredients are a simple grain, beans, veggies, spices, and homemade sauce, which are all nutritious ingredients that provide vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. Plus, this Spicy Peanut Quinoa Bowl are high in fiber and plant-based protein!

What can you eat with peanut sauce?

The delicious flavors of peanut sauce pair well with a variety of dishes. One of the most common ways to eat it is with pasta or salads. You can also combine it with grain or veggie bowls, or even use it as a condiment on sandwiches or roasted vegetables.


👉 How to serve

You can serve this quinoa bowl any way you like. Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy it:

  • As a main dish. Cook up a quinoa bowl with peanut sauce for dinner, or save the leftovers and enjoy for lunch! These provide an excellent balance of nutrients and filling protein and fiber, so they will hold you over until your next meal.
  • Wrap it in a tortilla. Instead of serving as a “bowl”, place the ingredients inside a tortilla and enjoy.
  • Try out different ingredients! Swap spinach for kale, quinoa for brown rice, and peanuts for almonds in this recipe for a different taste and texture. The possibilities are endless!

🧊 How to store

These Spicy Peanut Quinoa Bowls are the perfect make ahead recipe! All you have to do is cook the quinoa, mix up the chickpeas, tomatoes, and onions, and make the sauce up to three days ahead of when you want to eat it. Whether you prepared it ahead or you have leftovers, here's how to store it for the best quality:

  1. Refrigerator storage: Store leftovers in an airtight glass storage container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  2. Freezer storage (if applicable): We don't recommend freezing this bowl as the fresh ingredients will not keep. However, you can make a big batch of the Spicy Peanut Sauce and freeze to use as needed.

♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips

Looking for ways to make your kitchen more sustainable? Here are some environmentally friendly tips to use when making this recipe:

Make a big batch of the spicy peanut sauce. Since spicy peanut sauce is so versatile, you can use it to add flavor to a variety of dishes. We love making extra peanut sauce to use as dressing in salads or as sauce for noodles. Doing this is a great way to save trips to the store!

Don't toss the veggie scraps. Any scraps that you accumulate can be used to add flavor to homemade vegetable broth. If you're not able to save them, the next best eco-friendly choice is tossing them in the compost pile.

Buy quinoa in bulk. You can purchase quinoa in bulk at most grocery stores, which is a great way to cut back on packaging waste and save some money.

a black bowl with quinoa, spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes, and limes with a gold spoon

🥗 More simple plant-based bowl recipes

Love this spicy plant-based grain bowl? Check out our other favorite bowl recipes:

Spicy Peanut Quinoa Bowl

Spicy Peanut Quinoa Bowl, a simple grain bowl with quinoa, spinach, chickpeas, avocado, peanuts, and a Spicy Peanut Sauce drizzle. Full of flavor and oh-so easy!
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups quinoa, dry
  • 1 cup chickpeas, about 1 can (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 whole roma tomatoes, diced
  • ½ medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 whole avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, as garnish
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Instructions 

  • Make spicy peanut sauce: In a medium bowl whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha until well combined and set aside.
  • Cook quinoa: Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Typically this means quinoa with double the amount of water (1.5 cups of quinoa and 3 cups of water for this recipe) and bringing it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cooking covered until all water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Mix salad ingredients: Combine drained chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and chopped onion in a small bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Build bowl: Add about ¾ cup cooked quinoa, chickpea/tomato/onion mixture, spinach, peanuts, and diced avocado to a bowl. Drizzle with Spicy Peanut Sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro before serving.

Notes

  • Tools needed: small saucepan, knife, cutting board
  • Prep ahead: Cook quinoa up to three days ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Leftovers + storage: Store leftovers in an airtight glass storage container in the refrigerator for up to four days. We don’t recommend freezing this bowl as the fresh ingredients will not keep, however you make a large batch of the Spicy Peanut Sauce and freeze to use as needed.
  • Nutrition notes: This plant-based quinoa bowl is an excellent source of plant-based protein, whole grains, and fiber.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 541kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Sodium: 703mg, Potassium: 823mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1568IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 6mg

UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in March 2020 but updated for clarity in October 2021.