grilled vegetable primavera bowls with pesto & smoky chickpeas! an easy 30-minute vegetarian recipe perfect for the end of summer, with grilled zucchini, grilled bell pepper, grilled artichoke hearts, and smoky grilled chickpeas, plus orzo & lemony pesto. totally healthy, naturally plant-based, easily made gluten-free, & perfect for meal prep!
you know what’s the worst? like, actually, THE WORST?
when you’re going out for dinner so you carefully study the menu online beforehand to decide what you’re going to order & you sit all day, salivating & imagining the flavor explosion that’s going to happen come dinnertime & then…
then the meal is just NOT as good as you imagined.
as luck would have it, this happened to me recently. i was meeting my girlfriends for dinner one night, so i obviously scoped out the menu 2 days before hand & literally dreamed about the primavera bowl i was going to devour for the next 2 days.
it was so promising: crispy chickpeas, grilled zucchini, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, & spoonfuls of pesto served over top.
i know. drool-worthy, right?
then?! then IT happened. the very thing we hate the most.
my sad little bowl was a) tiny & b) soooooo bland.
lucky for me, i had half a pint of jeni’s salted peanut butter ice cream in the freezer, which i devoured, pretty much in spite of my sad & tiny salad, the minute i got home.
lucky for you? i recreated the grilled vegetable primavera bowls at home. they’re easy to make, healthy, & every single bite BURSTS with flavor.
no tiny bland salads here. ever. ever ever. pinky swear.
(because, i get it, that’s the worst.)
grilled vegetable primavera bowls: an easy 30-minute vegetarian meal for the end of summer!
i’m really, really excited to share these grilled vegetable primavera bowls with you today! they are 100% plant-based, 100% easy to whip up during the week, &, unlike the sad little salad i had at dinner with my girlfriends last month, they are 100% flavorful.
chris & i have been on a journey to eating more plant-based meals in our home for awhile now, but it’s a mission i’ve been taking more seriously in the past year or so. it’s not that i don’t love meat, or that i don’t think all things, meat included, are fine in moderation. we just also really love veggies! eating plant-based is cost effective, and when it’s done well, tastes super fresh & has a way of making you feel really freakin’ good after you eat them.
like, ahem, these grilled vegetable primavera bowls. they’re totally affordable, especially right now since everything is in season, & totally delicious (also especially right now, since everything is in season!).
what’s not to feel good about that?!
how to make grilled vegetable primavera bowls:
the unexpected star of these grilled vegetable primavera bowls are the marinated grilled artichoke hearts.
if you’ve never had marinated grilled artichoke hearts, you must. you can find them in most grocery stores near the olives & pickles. i find mine at trader joe’s for about $3 a jar, & they are eat-straight-outta-the-freakin’-jar levels of deeeeeelicious.
not only do the marinated grilled artichoke hearts add a little bit of a meaty texture & tons of smoky grilled flavor to these grilled vegetable primavera bowls, they serve a dual purpose since we can reuse the delicious oil they’re packed with to season up the rest of the dish!
whenever i’m cooking up a fast & simple meal, i love using each ingredient to its fullest extent. if a super delicious component of the dish is marinating in a super flavorful oil, why not put the oil to good use elsewhere in the dish? it’s cost-effective, reduces waste, & tastes pretty damn good. need i say more?
next up? all the grilled vegetable primavera goodness.
we season up long strips of zucchini, red bell pepper, & chickpeas with the marinated artichoke oil & tons of lemon, then grill them to smoky, crispy perfection.
grilling chickpeas isn’t something i thought to do until recently, & i’m obsessed with it now! they take on tons of flavor from the grill, & they get totally crispy/smoky/charred on the outside, while staying a little tender on the inside for the perfect bite. you’ll want to use a grill basket to grill them up. if you don’t have a grill basket, pop a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil over your grill. same difference!
& last? you serve it all up on a bed of baby arugula & orzo, then top it all of with another squeeze of lemon & spoonfuls of your favorite pesto. ?
my favorite pesto? lemony kale pesto, obviously. it’s easy to make, stores well, & adds the perfect pop of flavor to any dish. if you don’t feel like whipping up a batch of homemade pesto, though, you can definitely just use your favorite store-bought kind. no shame in that game! if your store-bought pesto could use a little bit of livening up, just squeeze a little fresh lemon juice into it. you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!
30 minutes later, there you have it: easy, healthy, & SO flavorful grilled vegetable primavera bowls. do weeknight dinners get better than that?!
winner, winner 30-minute flavor bomb plant-based dinner!
if you love these grilled vegetable primavera bowls, here are a few other easy & healthy weeknight meals you’ll love!
- grilled veggie burrito bowls with green rice
- summer glow bowls
- grilled chicken shawarma hummus bowls
- grilled vegetarian tacos (with portobellos & poblanos & chipotle lime goat cheese drizzle!)
- all pwwb weeknight recipes
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grilled vegetable primavera bowls with pesto & smoky grilled chickpeas! an easy 30-minute vegetarian recipe perfect for the end of summer, with grilled zucchini, grilled bell pepper, grilled artichoke hearts, and smoky grilled chickpeas, plus orzo & lemony pesto. totally healthy, naturally plant-based, easily made gluten-free, & perfect for meal prep!
- 4 ounces orzo
- 2 lemons, zested & juiced
- 1 12-ounce jar marinated grilled artichoke hearts, drained & oil reserved
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 medium zucchini (about 1 pound), cut lengthwise into ¼-inch strips
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 cups baby arugula, or greens of choice
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- Kosher salt, for seasoning
- for serving: kale pesto, lemon wedges for spritzing
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place a grill basket on the grill, over direct heat. If you do not have a grill basket, you can also place a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil over part of the grill.
- Cook the orzo: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo, then cook to al dente according to package directions, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Season the chickpeas & zucchini: Place the chickpeas and zucchini in 2 separate bowls. Season the chickpeas with the cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil from the jar of marinated grilled artichokes. Toss to combine and set aside. Season the zucchini with the Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil from the jar of marinated grilled artichokes. Toss to combine and set aside.
- Grill: Place the zucchini on the grill grates over direct heat, grilling for 3-4 minutes per side. Place the chickpeas in the prepared grill basket and grill for 8-10 minutes, tossing the chickpeas every few minutes to get them evenly toasted & browned. Roll the red bell pepper into the excess oil from the zucchini or chickpeas to coat, then place on the grill grates over direct heat and grill for 8-10 minutes, flipping the pepper every few minutes, until the pepper is charred. Remove from the grill. Once cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off of the pepper, then slice the pepper into thin strips.
- Assemble the grilled vegetable primavera bowls: Add a few handfuls of baby arugula to the bottom of a bowl. Top with a spoonful of orzo, some grilled zucchini, grilled red pepper, grilled chickpeas, and a few of the marinated grilled artichoke hearts. Finish the bowl with a drizzle of pesto and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Toss to combine, as desired. Enjoy!
- Grilled artichoke hearts are one of the stars of this grilled vegetable primavera recipe! Be sure to buy good quality marinated grilled artichoke hearts. I like the kind from Trader Joe’s, but I know I’ve seen similar products at Whole Foods and other mass grocers.
- Pesto! Use whatever you love. I’m biased toward my lemony kale pesto – it’s the best!
- Meal prep: These grilled vegetable primavera bowls are totally meal prep friendly, & perfect to pack for lunches during the week. Make everything as described, then portion into your favorite individual containers, omitting the pesto and the squeeze of fresh lemon until you’re ready to eat these bowls. They are great warm, cold, or at room temperature, and will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Want to add meat? Season up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts or grilled shrimp the way Step 3 calls for seasoning the chickpeas, and toss them on the grill. Easy!
Keywords: grilled vegetable primavera, healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner