Equal parts entrée salad & nourishing bowl, these Glow Bowls are the perfect light & healthy meal. Plenty of good-for-you ingredients like quinoa, grilled chicken, end-of-summer veggies, & tons of fresh herbs are tossed into a simple sweet & spicy curry vinaigrette. These quinoa grain bowls are totally light & healthy, but feel totally satisfying all at once. Perfect for meal prep, naturally dairy-free & gluten-free, easily vegetarian & vegan.
Oh man, today, is a good, good day. We’re talking about one of my favorite recipes of all time – GLOW BOWLS!!!
What’s a glow bowl, you ask?
Well, it looks a little something like this…
- Light & fluffy quinoa, tossed with every fresh herb you can get your hands on (basil! cilantro! mint! chives!), tossed with…
- TONS of late summer veggies – grilled sweet corn (summer candy!), red bell pepper (tastes like sunshine!), baby heirloom tomatoes (more summer candy!), cucumbers (so refreshing!), carrots (more summer candy!), &…
- Spicy-sweet oh-so-good curry vinaigrette – liquid sunshine.
I mean…are you glowing yet??
I’ve been making some variation of these quinoa grain bowls for the past 5+ years, the inspiration being a salad at the restaurant in the south suburbs of the Twin Cities that Chris’ family took us to a few times when we first moved to Minneapolis years back. It was the first time I’d eaten anything like it – the contrast of crunchy, fresh vegetables dressed in a lightly sweetened vinaigrette laced with the warm spices of curry.
So, I created my own version – these gorgeous quinoa glow bowls – & without fail, I begin to crave them this time of year. It’s the perfect summertime recipe.
These nourishing bowls are…
- Filled with good-for-you ingredients.
- The perfect balance of light + bright & also hearty + satisfying.
- Easy to customize -As written, this recipe uses animal protein, but it’s easily vegetarian & vegan – I have notes for that below!
- Perfect for meal prep. Meal prep & make-ahead notes below, too!
- & totally glow-worthy!
&, I mean, does it get better than that?! (NO!) ♡ Read on to learn more about this Quinoa Glow Bowls recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
These nourishing bowls are filled with good-for-you ingredients!
Among the many reasons I always come back to this recipe is the fact that these nourishing bowls are literally loaded with craveable, good-for-you ingredients.
Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
What you’ll need to make these quinoa grain bowls:
- Quinoa – I’ve written about it many times before, but I really love the Simply Nature Organic Quinoa from ALDI. It’s affordable & high-quality (my favorite combination!), & I always keep it stocked in my pantry. Tips for cooking perfectly fluffy quinoa below!
- Chicken – I like grilling up chicken thighs & tossing them into these glow bowls for some extra protein. You can, however, make your glow bowls totally vegetarian or vegan, if plant-based is more your speed – I have notes on that below!
- Summer produce – Here’s where the versatility of these bowls comes into play. I like using end-of-summer ingredients, like bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, & tomatoes, but these bowls are very flexible. Use whatever veggies you love most or happen to have in your produce bin!
- Fresh herbs – I love the combination of basil, cilantro, mint, & chives but you can use pretty much any leafy fresh herbs you love.
- & last but not least, curry vinaigrette – I make a simple homemade vinaigrette with olive oil, lemon, curry powder, & honey. The warmth of the vinaigrette really enhances the freshness of these bowls – it’s sort of the star of the show in this recipe!
Quinoa Grain Bowls 101 – How to cook perfectly fluffy quinoa every single time.
When it comes to grains, quinoa is one of my favorites but it can be a little bit temperamental. Undercook it & it’s a crunchy mess. Overcook it & it’s a mushy disaster. But when it’s cooked perfectly, it’s a light + fluffy plant-based protein powerhouse.
Here’s how I always cook quinoa on the stovetop:
- Boil: Place quinoa, water & a generous pinch of salt in a saucepan. Stir to combine, then bring it all to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Simmer: As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, crank the heat down to low, creating a really slow simmer in the pot. Cover with a lid & let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Steam: Once it’s finished simmering, remove the pot from the heat & let it steam for 5-10 minutes more.
- Fluff: Uncover & use a fork to fluff up the quinoa until it’s light & fluffy.
A couple of reminders for cooking with quinoa:
- How much quinoa do you need? Quinoa triples in volume as it cooks – for example, 1 cup dry quinoa will yield 3 cups cooked quinoa.
- 2:1 ratio: Quinoa is best cooked with a 2:1 water:quinoa ratio. For every 1 cup of quinoa, use 2 cups of water. My stove runs a touch hot, so I always add in the smallest extra splash of water.
- Storage: Cooked quinoa will keep for up to 1 week, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze cooked quinoa or in a freezer container for up to 1 month.
Glow Bowls Assembly, Prep Tips & More…
Another beautiful thing about these glow bowls? They’re pretty freakin’ easy to throw together!
As is the case with any grain bowl-esque recipe, there are a number of components to prep, but they’re all quite simple & many can be done ahead of time (more on that below!).
Note: full Recipe Directions provided in the Recipe Card, below.
To make these quinoa glow bowls…
- Whip up the Curry Vinaigrette, which is a simple one-bowl operation. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl & whisk it all up. Better yet, measure everything into a jar then seal & shake to combine (one of my favorite lazy girl hacks – less dishes to wash!).
- Grill up the chicken & sweet corn: The curry vinaigrette is amazing on the glow bowls, but it doubles as a great marinade for protein. Marinate the chicken with some of the vinaigrette, then toss it on a hot grill along with the sweet corn. Grill for a few minutes per side, until caramelly & charred.
- Toss it all together! Add all of the Glow Bowl ingredients to a large mixing bowl & toss, toss, toss!
Make-Ahead & Storage.
Quinoa grain bowls are super make-ahead friendly. You can make these bowls for dinner one night & enjoy the leftovers for lunch, or go ahead & prep them entirely in advance to have on hand as a great healthy grab-&-go meal throughout the week. They’ll keep for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If you’d like to do just a little prep in advance to help cut down on the active prep time when you make your Glow Bowls, there are a couple of different routes you could go:
- Cook the quinoa: Cook the quinoa according to Recipe Directions, below. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (5 minutes active prep)
- Make the vinaigrette: Prep the curry vinaigrette according to Recipe Directions, below. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (5 minutes active prep)
- Marinate the chicken: Once you’ve prepped the curry vinaigrette, use half of it to marinate the chicken according to Recipe Directions, below. Marinate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 12-48 hours. (<5 minutes active prep)
- Chop the veggies & herbs: Grate a cucumber & carrot. Halve or quarter some cherry tomatoes. Dice a bell pepper. Store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (10 minutes active prep)
Prefer Plant-Based? Vegan & Vegetarian options…
While I like these glow bowls with bites of grilled chicken mixed into them, know that you definitely have options if you prefer to keep things plant-based!
For vegetarian glow bowls, feel free to swap chicken with…
- Crispy curried chickpeas – Drain & rinse a 14-ounce can of chickpeas, then toss them into half of the curry vinaigrette/marinade. Roast at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until crispy & delish.
- Roasted cauliflower &/or sweet potatoes – Chop up a small head of cauliflower &/or a small sweet potato into bite-sized pieces, then toss them into half of the curry vinaigrette marinade. Roast at 425 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, until browned & tender.
- OR crispy tofu – Dice a block of firm tofu into 1/2-inch cubes, then coat with half of the curry vinaigrette/marinade & 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Roast at 425 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden & crispy.
For vegan glow bowls, you’ll also want to make sure to use a vegan sweetener in place of honey in the curry vinaigrette. Pure maple syrup is my go-to for this kind of thing, but agave nectar works great, too!
I can’t emphasize it enough – I love these glow bowls so, SO much. If you’re one for a light + bright quinoa grain bowl, I know you will them too! Get ready to get your glow on!!!
If you give them a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡Print
A plethora of good-for-you ingredients like quinoa, grilled chicken, end-of-summer veggies, & tons of fresh herbs are tossed into a simple sweet & spicy curry vinaigrette. Equal parts entrée salad & nourishing bowl, these Glow Bowls are the perfect light & healthy meal!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 pound chicken thighs (or thinly pounded chicken breast)
- 2 ears sweet corn, husked
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 large carrot, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 large cucumber, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded & diced
- 3/4 cup packed leafy fresh herbs & tender stems (such as basil, cilantro & mint), finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or green onions
- 5.5 ounces spring greens (or arugula or baby kale)
- curry vinaigrette, below
for the curry vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested & juiced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey (or pure maple syrup or agave nectar)
- optional: pinch of red chili flakes or cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt* (if curry powder is salted, omit or add salt just to taste)
- Cook the quinoa: Add 2/3 cup dry quinoa & 1 1/3 cup water or stock to a medium saucepan with a lid. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil (uncovered) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low or medium-low, bringing the quinoa to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat & let stand (covered) for 5 minutes. Uncover & fluff with a fork. Set aside, or store in an individual airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Chop & prep the veggies: Husk the sweet corn. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes. Grate or thinly slice the carrot & cucumber. Dice the red bell pepper. Set aside, or store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Prep the curry vinaigrette/marinade: Add all listed ingredients to a medium bowl or a jar. Whisk or seal & shake to combine. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The curry vinaigrette may settle a bit as it rests – just give it a good shake before you drizzle it over a glow bowl!
- Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken thighs in an medium bowl or container. Pour half of the curry marinade over top, tossing to coat the chicken in the marinade. Cover/seal the bowl & place in the refrigerator to marinate for 12-48 hours.
Glow Bowls Assembly & Serving:
- Prepare the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling.
- Grill the chicken & sweet corn: Brush the corn with a little oil, or lightly spritz with your go-to cooking spray. Season with salt & ground black pepper. Place the chicken & corn on the preheated grill. Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, or until fully cooked through. Grill the sweet corn for 3-4 minutes per side, or until nicely charred. Remove from the grill. Once cool enough to handle, chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces & slice the sweet corn kernels off of the cob.
- Assemble the glow bowls: Combine the quinoa, grilled chicken, grilled sweet corn, tomatoes, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, & chopped fresh herbs in a large mixing bowl. Pour the remaining curry vinaigrette over top. Toss to combine, ensuring all of the quinoa is well coated in the dressing. Taste, seasoning with additional salt or ground black pepper as desired.
- Serve: Add a generous handful of greens to a serving bowl. Top with the quinoa mixture. Drizzle with any remaining curry vinaigrette & garnish with some additional finely chopped fresh herbs, as desired. Enjoy!
- Storage: Store the assembled Glow Bowls in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also divide them into individual portions for the perfect grab-&-go meal prepped lunch. They will keep for up to 4 days.
- Meal prep: If you’d like to do just a little prep in advance to help cut down on the active prep time when you make your Glow Bowls, there are a couple of different routes you can go:
- 15-minute meal prep: Chop the veggies, mix the curry vinaigrette, & marinate the chicken according to Recipe Directions (prep notes), above. Store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- 20-minute meal prep: Cook the quinoa according to Recipe Directions (prep notes), above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (5 minutes active prep)
Keywords: glow bowls, quinoa grain bowls, nourishing, healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, meal prep, easy, easily vegetarian, easily vegan
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.
Love these summery Quinoa Glow Bowls? Here are a few more nourishing bowls to try!
- Falafel-ish Quinoa Salad – Another nourishing bowl with quinoa, chickpeas, & the light + bright flavors of falafel. Vegetarian, easily Vegan & Dairy-Free!
- Chicken Shawarma Hummus Bowls – A tried & true PWWB fave. Creamy, dreamy hummus topped with quinoa, grilled chicken shawarma & more.
- Veggie Shawarma Bowls – Cauliflower, sweet potatoes & chickpeas roast in warm shawarma spices & drizzled with tahini dressing. Vegan, Dairy-Free, & Vegetarian!
- Autumn Grain Bowls – Hearty & healthy grain bowls with tons of autumnal flair, including cinnamon maple balsamic vinaigrette. Vegetarian, easily Vegan & Dairy-Free!
- All PWWB Entrée Salads & Bowls Recipes
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