Weeknight Dinner: Lemon Basil Quinoa Bowls

I love a straight-forward recipe for a delicious weeknight family dinner.  Quinoa is the featured protein. Lemon juice and fresh herbs are the featured flavor kickers. Garnet yam, red bell pepper, and kale add to the whole food, plant-based variety of tastes, textures, and nutrition.

For this dinner, I used a quick-cook variety of quinoa, found at my local Grocery Outlet bargain store. As with any quinoa, I rinsed the quinoa at least twice in a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, to remove the soapy taste of the saponin (a naturally occurring pesticide).


Lemon Basil Quinoa Bowls, by Vegnbythebook

Serves: 4


  • 1 garnet yam, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup quick-cook quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeds and inner membrane removed, diced
  • 1 large handful kale, chopped
  • 2 scallions, roots removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 branch of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 branches fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 Meyer lemon (remove the seeds)


  1. Steam the diced yam for 12-15 minutes, until it can be pierced easily with a fork
  2. While the yam steams, prepare the quinoa. According to the package instructions for the quinoa I used: Boil 4 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, until just soft. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve and return to the pot (heat turned off).
  3. When the yam finishes steaming, remove from the steamer and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Place the bell pepper and kale in the steamer basket and steam for 3-4 minutes to slightly soften.
  5. Turn the heat back on to medium-low under the pot of cooked and drained quinoa. Stir in the steamed yam, bell pepper, and kale. Heat for 2-3 minutes to warm up everything.
  6. Turn off the heat. Stir in the sliced scallions, basil, parsley, and lemon juice.
  7. Divide into four bowls and serve.

OPTIONAL GARNISH: chop up more fresh basil and parsley, to garnish individual servings, to taste.

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