Lentil Quinoa Bowl
These vegan red lentil quinoa bowls are full of nutrition and perfect for meal prep or a healthy meal any night of the week.
Why You’ll Love These Bowls
This classic veggie and grain bowl is just uncomplicated, wholesome plant-based food. It features quinoa, lentils, broccoli, squash, carrots and tahini sauce for a delicious and satisfying combo that’s packed with nutrition.
These bowls can be easily adapted with various veggies like sweet potato, you can add greens like kale and they work well with different sauces like peanut sauce, tahini sauce or herb dressing.
The ingredients can be made in advance for quick assembly, otherwise, you’ll need 45 minutes to prepare this dish. Enjoy this recipe anytime for a simple but nourishing and feel-good meal!
- Vegan and gluten-free.
- Easy to make with straightforward, everyday ingredients.
- Easy to customize to your preference or ingredient availability.
- They work great for meal prep.
- Excellent source of plant-based protein and fibre.
Ingredients & Substitutions
The full ingredient list with amounts is located in the recipe card at the end of the post. This section covers a few notes on the ingredients and any substitutions.
- Butternut Squash: You’ll need a medium-sized squash or about 4 cups. The amount doesn’t have to be exact. You could also use sweet potato or any other variety of squash like acorn squash or delicata.
- Carrot: You’ll need 4 medium or large carrots. Alternatives are brussels sprouts, onion, zucchini or bell pepper.
- Quinoa: Use red, white or tri-colour quinoa. Rinse it well under cold water before cooking it. Substitute any other whole grain like farro, brown rice, freekeh or barley. For a low-carb option, try cauliflower rice or cabbage rice.
- Lentils: The recipe calls for red lentils but you could use green lentils, brown lentils, French lentils or any other variety.
- Broccoli: Use fresh broccoli. I like to steam it but you could also roast or blanch it. Alternatives could be cauliflower or kale.
- Tahini: You’ll need creamy tahini to make the dressing. Note that tahini should only have 1 ingredient – sesame seeds. See the Alternative Dressing section for other options.
- Lemon: You’ll need fresh lemon for the dressing. One lemon should be enough but you might need two depending on how juicy they are.
The full written and printable recipe card is located at the end of the post. This section shows a quick visual reference for making the recipe step-by-step.
Step 1: Roast the vegetables.
Add the cubed butternut squash and chopped carrot to a baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Roast the veggies at 425 F until tender, about 30 minutes.
Step 2: Cook the quinoa and lentils.
For the quinoa:
- Bring water to a boil, using a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. For example, for 1 cup of dry quinoa, you’ll need 2 cups of water.
- Add the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer lightly for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes without removing the lid.
- Fluff with a fork and it’s ready to go.
For the lentils, use a 2:1 ratio of water to lentils and cook over medium-low heat until the lentils are tender. Red lentils take about 15 minutes to cook. Green or brown lentils take 20-25 minutes.
Time Saving Tip: Use canned lentils, black beans or chickpeas instead of cooking red lentils.
Step 3: Steam the broccoli.
To steam the broccoli, bring water to a boil in a steamer pot then add the broccoli and cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender-crisp.
Time Saving Tip: Wash and chop the broccoli a day ahead and store in the fridge to save time and clean up.
Step 4: Make the tahini sauce.
Add all of the tahini sauce ingredients to a bowl or any container and whisk or shake vigorously to combine. Slowly whisk in water until you have a thick and creamy but pourable consistency.
Step 5: Assemble your bowls and enjoy!
Once everything is ready, divide the ingredients between 4 bowls and top with the tahini dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and hot sauce if desired, and enjoy your healthy bowl!
Here are some other sauces that work well with these bowls:
Variations & Additions
- Try these crispy lentils instead of red lentils.
- Add a scoop of tzatziki or hummus.
- Add roasted chickpeas.
- Add a handful of kale or spinach for some greens.
- Add brussels sprouts, bell pepper, onion, beets or zucchini to the roasted veggies.
- Add avocado for a creamy texture and healthy fats.
- For more protein, add crumbled tempeh, baked tempeh, baked tofu or edamame.
- For extra flavour and texture, try adding bold ingredients like pickled red onions, roasted red peppers, hot sauce and/or fresh herbs like parsley, scallions or cilantro.
- Add 1-2 tbsp of nuts or seeds like walnuts, hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds for crunch and healthy fats.
Storing & Reheating
- The tahini sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. It will thicken a bit after storing but you can stir in a little extra water if needed.
- Assembled bowls can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It’s recommended to store the dressing separately until serving.
- Reheat the bowls in the microwave until heated through.
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Red Lentil Quinoa Bowl
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
A classic veggie and grain bowl that’s perfect for a wholesome dinner or healthy meal prep idea.
For the Bowls
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (or 1 medium squash, the amount doesn’t have to be exact)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (approx. 2 cups cooked)
- 1 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed (approx. 2 cups cooked)
- 4 cups chopped broccoli
For the Lemon Tahini Sauce
- 5 tbsp tahini (75 g)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup, optional
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- pinch of pepper
- water to adjust consistency
- Preheat Oven: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roast Squash and Carrot: Add the peeled and cubed butternut squash and chopped carrot to a roasting tray. Add 2 tsp olive oil and a generous sprinkling of sea salt and pepper and use your hands to mix so everything is coated. Roast for 35-45 minutes until tender.
- Cook the Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa well under cold water. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add 1 cup uncooked quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and lightly simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
- Cook Lentils: Rinse the red lentils. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add 1 cup lentils, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender.
- Steam Broccoli: To make the broccoli, steam on the stovetop for 4-5 minutes until bright and tender-crisp.
- Make Tahini Sauce: To make the tahini sauce, mix everything but the water together until fully combined. Slowly add water 1-2 tbsp at a time until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. It should be thick but pourable.
- Assemble the Bowls: To assemble, divide everything between 4 containers or bowls and serve right away.
Assembled bowls can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave. Recommended to store the dressing separately until serving.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 524
- Fat: 12 g
- Carbohydrates: 88 g
- Fiber: 18 g
- Protein: 23 g
Keywords: lentil quinoa bowl, lentil bowl
Originally published July 17, 2019.
YUM! I added a handful of arugula to the bowl for another hit of green. It was yummy. I also used a maple cinnamon tahini dressing that I had left overs from another recipe that was also great. I will make this dressing as soon as the other is finished.
This is a nice simple meal that I’ve made a few times. Nutritionally dense and easy to prepare. I haven’t used squash, just sub with yams, as I always have them on hand. Today I was a little low on the broccoli, so added some Brussel spouts to the yams and carrots. Added some sprouts and pumpkin seeds on top for some freshness and crunch. I’ve enjoyed a few of your recipes now and always come back to them. Thank you!
A simple and flavourful bowl. Thanks for the recipe!
As a new vegan, I am always trying to find delicious recipes. I have to say this is one of my absolute favorites. Everything goes together very well, it’s super filling, and the sauce is so yummy. I honestly feel like I can eat this every day. It’s definitely on my regular rotation.
I roasted the broccoli but otherwise made it as written. It was sooo good! The sauce is divine!
Very good! Followed the recipe as written…loved it! Will make this one again soon.
I followed the recipe exactly, minus the dressing – I added a little bit of maple syrup and some olive oil to add some richness.
It was delicious.
I was skeptical, but I will definitely make this again!
Super easy and super delicious!
This was delicious. Filling and easy to make too. Thank you!
This was tasty, easy and filling. I used sweet potato instead of squash and have a few bowls ready to go in the fridge for the next couple of days. Thanks!
Hi, I am very excited to try this! Two questions. I have two different quinoa blends that I can use, one being Rosemary & Olive Oil and the other being, Roasted Red Pepper & Basil. Which would you recommend to use for this dish? Secondly, can I use almond butter as a substitute to tahini for the sauce?
I would probably do the olive oil rosemary one but either would be fine. I wouldn’t use almond butter in this particular recipe but if you Google almond butter dressing you should be able to find one that works. Or try the almond satay sauce from this recipe: https://runningonrealfood.com/broccoli-brown-rice-bowl/. Thanks!
Quinoa made in your Instant Pot comes out perfectly cooked and fluffy every time. Use the “pot in pot” method and you can store the finished product in the fridge in its cooking container – – no cleanup!
You can also use your rice cooker on the white rice setting, with the same ratios as for white rice. Super easy!
I love quinoa! Should I really worry about the fact that it’s high in carbs if I am trying to eat high protein for health and weight loss?
No. Weight loss is going to come down to your overall calories, not exact grams of carbs or protein. You need to create a consistent caloric deficit to achieve weight loss and if some of those calories come from quinoa, totally fine. If you enjoy it, I see no reason to remove it from your diet. Quinoa also does contain a decent amount of protein as far as whole grains go.
I am new to vegan food. Is this dish served cold?
Warm usually but you can also eat it cold..up to you!
I am looking forward to making this today. Please forgive my silly question, as I am new to this lifestyle. So far thoroughly enjoying this new way to my family. Tahini??? I am looking for a sauce, spice … sorry not familiar with what to look for to buy. Your blog, insight and recipes are so much appreciated.
Tahini is a butter much like almond or peanut butter but it’s made from sesame seeds. It should be available in any well-stocked grocery store, if not…online, in a health food store or a Middle Easter or Mediterranean grocery store. Good tahini should be smooth, creamy and not bitter, it should have just one ingredient: sesame seeds. If you can’t find tahini, you could also use a store-bought sauce or make another sauce you like. Thanks!
Thank you for your prompt reply, much appreciated.
Refrigerated section or shelves?
Have a blessed day
Absolutely loved how easy and versatile this recipe was! My husband and I are newly vegan and this recipe was one of our favorites of the week!
So glad you guys enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know.
Yum! I added 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp maple syrup to the dressing and cut back on the lemon juice to what I could get out of one small lemon. Added the broccoli to the roasting pan halfway through to save a pot.
Sounds amazing! Thanks for letting me know and sharing your adjustments!