One of the keys to eating fast and healthy year-round is finding several meals that you can repeat often, while still being able to switch-up the flavors so you don’t get bored.
That’s why I’m so excited about these make-ahead lunch bowls! You can vary the toppings however you like, but the base ingredients are easy to prepare and can be made up to a week in advance– so your packed lunches are ready whenever you are.
The key to these speedy bowls is making everything in advance. I did it last weekend and it only took about 30 minutes, since I could multitask while my big batch of quinoa was cooking.
As you may know, I love quinoa because it’s technically not a grain– it’s a seed– and it’s a complete source of protein containing all the essential amino acids your body needs.
I like to pair the quinoa with a hefty dose of leafy greens, and then top it all with a variety of seasonal veggies and a super-addictive creamy dressing. The key to the flavor is definitely whatever sauce you put on top!
This week I used a combination of my Oil-Free Arugula Pesto, and a new Creamy Vegan Italian Dressing, which is posted below.
I feel like I say this a lot, but this dressing is my new FAVORITE. I honestly think you could talk me into eating anything with this drizzled on top. (Okay, maybe not liver… but you never know.)
I’ve listed my method for making these bowls below, but feel free to switch up the ingredients depending on the produce that is easily available in your area.
Make-Ahead Vegan Lunch Bowls
- 2 cups dry quinoa , soaked for 15 minutes and rinsed
- 1 pound leafy greens , such as arugula, spinach, or romaine
- 1 large cucumber , chopped
- 1 or 2 bell peppers , chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes , sliced in half
- 2-3 radishes , thinly sliced
- Green onions , chopped, for garnish
- Cooked beans (optional)
- Drain the quinoa and transfer it to a saucepan over high heat with 4 cups of fresh water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover to cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- While the quinoa is cooking, chop the vegetables and prepare the dressing. I like to store each vegetable individually in its own glass container in my fridge, because then they can double as salad toppings each night. (In that case you may want to double the amount of veggies you chop so that you don't run out during the week!) You might also want to roast your vegetables for variety, such as roasted red onions, zucchini, or beets. The options really are endless.
- To prepare the dressing, add all of the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth. (Or whisk them together in a mason jar.) Do be sure to use raw tahini, as the toasted one that is more commonly found in stores tastes much stronger and more bitter to me. The final result should taste closer to Italian dressing!
- Once everything is chopped, blended, and cooked, all you need to do is assemble your bowl. I like to start with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa, 2 to 3 cups of leafy greens (I used arugula this week), and then a handful of each of your favorite chopped toppings. Drizzle the top generously with your favorite dressing and enjoy.
Per Serving: Calories: 376, Fat: 14g, Carbohydrates: 50g, Fiber: 8g, Protein: 15g
Note: If you’d prefer to skip the quinoa, you can simply double-up on the vegetables for a delicious salad or use cauliflower rice as the base, instead.
I hope these make-ahead lunch bowls make your life easier next week! I plan on having these ingredients stocked in my fridge at all times when our new baby arrives, so I always have something filling and delicious on hand.
Reader Feedback: Do you have a go-to make ahead meal?