Glow Bowls – Nourishing Grilled Chicken & Quinoa Grain Bowls with Curry Vinaigrette.

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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.
Side angle of a summer glow bowl in a shallow pink bowl: a bed of quinoa topped with sliced tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, grilled corn kernels & shredded cucumber. The bowl has a small gold fork in it. It sits atop a white marble surface, next to a small dish of curry vinaigrette & a couple of summer tomatoes.

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??

Curry vinaigrette drizzled on a summer glow bowl in a shallow pink bowl from a white ceramic bowl with a spout.

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.

Absolutely addictive.

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!
Side angle of a summer glow bowl in a shallow pink bowl: a bed of quinoa topped with sliced tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, grilled corn kernels & shredded cucumber. The bowl has a small gold fork in it. It sits atop a white marble surface, next to a small dish of curry vinaigrette & a couple of summer tomatoes.

&, 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.

Glow bowls components arranged on a white marble surface: marinated chicken thighs, grated carrot, quinoa, diced bell pepper, cucumber, corn, & fresh herbs (cilantro, mint & basil).

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.

Assembly.

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.

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 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)
Zoomed in shot of summer glow bowl in a shallow pink bowl: a bed of quinoa topped with sliced tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, grilled corn kernels & shredded cucumber.

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!

Summer glow bowl in a shallow pink bowl: a bed of quinoa topped with sliced tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, grilled corn kernels & shredded cucumber. The bowl has a small gold fork in it. It sits atop a white marble surface, next to a small dish of curry vinaigrette & a couple of summer tomatoes.

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! ♡

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Summer glow bowl in a shallow pink bowl: a bed of quinoa topped with sliced tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, grilled corn kernels & shredded cucumber. The bowl has a small gold fork in it. It sits atop a white marble surface, next to a small dish of curry vinaigrette & a couple of summer tomatoes.

Glow Bowls

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Entree Salads & Bowls Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop, Grilling & Smoking, No-Cook
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

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!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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)

Instructions

PREP: 

  • 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:

  1. Prepare the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Notes

  • 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 and 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 SaladAnother nourishing bowl with quinoa, chickpeas, & the light + bright flavors of falafel. Vegetarian, easily Vegan & Dairy-Free!
  • Chicken Shawarma Hummus BowlsA tried & true PWWB fave. Creamy, dreamy hummus topped with quinoa, grilled chicken shawarma & more.
  • Veggie Shawarma BowlsCauliflower, sweet potatoes & chickpeas roast in warm shawarma spices & drizzled with tahini dressing. Vegan, Dairy-Free, & Vegetarian!
  • Autumn Grain BowlsHearty & healthy grain bowls with tons of autumnal flair, including cinnamon maple balsamic vinaigrette. Vegetarian, easily Vegan & Dairy-Free!
  • All PWWB Entrée Salads & Bowls Recipes
Side angle of a summer glow bowl in a shallow pink bowl: a bed of quinoa topped with sliced tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, grilled corn kernels & shredded cucumber. The bowl has a small gold fork in it. It sits atop a white marble surface, next to a small dish of curry vinaigrette & a couple of summer tomatoes.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 5.19.23
    Beef Mitchell said:

    This dressing was absolutely inedible. Ending up tossing it down the sink.

    • 5.21.23

      Hi there – I’m really sorry to hear that you didn’t care for the dressing. It’s surprising, since it’s one of my personal favorites & has been made by countless readers with rave reviews. Do you care to elaborate – what type of curry powder did you use, did you find it out of balance (too sweet or too acidic?). With a little more information, I’d be happy to offer some suggestions to help.

      Jess

  2. 3.19.23
    Hannah Raynor said:

    This was absolutely delicious! Will definitely be added into our meal rotation! So much flavor and I love the veggie crunch!

    • 3.20.23
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Hannah! We’re so glad you loved the Glow Bowls – they’re a PWWB team fave too! Thank you so much for leaving a comment, it means so much!

    • 6.14.23
      Amy said:

      I’ve been trying to get my husband to branch out when it comes to salad. He loved it! So pretty and delicious. It will definitely go in the rotation.

      • 6.15.23
        Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

        Yesss we love converting new salad lovers! So glad to hear you guys loved the glow bowls, Amy! 🙂

  3. 2.28.23
    SheGlows said:

    Alot of work but that comes with prepping fresh meals. This was SO good packed full of flavor!

    • 2.28.23
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So glad you enjoyed!! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment 🙂

  4. 10.21.22
    Anna said:

    I love how easy this bowl comes together. The curry vinaigrette is so tasty I’m going to start putting it on everything!

    • 10.21.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Yes! The curry vinaigrette totally makes it! We’re so glad you loved it, Anna!

  5. 9.11.22
    Caitlin said:

    Delicious!!!! So easy and tasty. 10/10 will definitely keep this in our dinner rotation! Love that it tastes so healthy and refreshing too.

    • 9.12.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Caitlin! So glad to hear that you loved these Glow Bowls, thanks so much for dropping a comment!

  6. 8.29.22
    Katie said:

    These bowls are so good! The curry vinaigrette is 10/10! They will definitely be going in the regular dinner rotation!

  7. 8.29.22
    Ana said:

    This is SO flavorful! It is the perfect light, but satisfying meal. I will definitely be making the dressing to marinate chicken to use outside of this bowl too!

  8. 8.11.22
    Lauren Hobson said:

    Made these for dinner and used farro instead of quinoa. Such a great summer meal. the curry dressing is amazing. As always an easy flavorful recipe!

    • 8.11.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thanks, Lauren!! Farro is the perfect substitute – so glad you loved these bowls!

  9. 7.19.22
    E said:

    Delicious recipe! My husband and I love the curry dressing. The first time we had it, we used chicken. The second time, we used sweet potato instead of chicken. Both were great! I also cooked frozen corn kernels in a frying pan instead of using fresh corn.

    • 7.20.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thank you so much! We love how versatile this recipe can be & are so glad you enjoyed!! Will have to try the curry vinaigrette with sweet potatoes some time – that sounds delicious!

      • 9.26.22
        Jim S said:

        Three generations loved these GLOW Bowls. I did make several substitutions, which were all in the spirit of PWWB: I used Israeli (pearl) couscous instead of quinoa; I marinated the chicken thighs in the PWWB Greek marinade; I grilled the red bell pepper; I used a lemon vinaigrette for the couscous salad; and I served the grilled corn on the cob and the grilled chicken thighs separate from the couscous salad. As always, the PWWB recipe was great – interesting flavors and very helpful, easy-to-follow guidance on grilling techniques.

        • 9.27.22
          Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

          Thanks so much, Jim! We are so glad you loved it and the whole family enjoyed! If you like these you should check out our Cozy Autumn Grain Bowls next!

  10. 8.12.21
    Anna B. said:

    Really enjoyed this bowl of summer! The curry vinaigrette was something I hadn’t seen or tasted before and I really liked it in this application. I only wish I had read through the post earlier (I just skimmed the recipe until the day of) so I could marinate my chicken for longer. I was only able to marinate it for 3ish hours? Otherwise, highly recommend! And so easy. We grilled the red bell pepper with some mushrooms that needed using up.

    • 2.22.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Anna! So glad to hear that you loved these Glow Bowls – the Curry Vinaigrette is definitely the star! Thank you so much for dropping a comment!

  11. 8.11.21
    Katie said:

    We just made these bowls for a weeknight dinner and they were ACE! We prepped ahead like Jess suggested on Sunday (everything but the quinoa) and then grilled the chicken and cooked the quinoa live on a weeknight, tossed everything together, and then had a fresh, healthy, delicious meal on a Tuesday night that was quick and easy!

  12. 8.10.21
    Melody said:

    Full disclosure: I did NOT make this recipe as described. HOWEVER, I did make the sauce exactly as the recipe states, poured it over some chickpeas, and made some wraps. Y’all, the dressing alone is worth it. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my rotation!

  13. 6.21.21
    Madison said:

    I could drink this curry vinaigrette it’s so good.

    • 6.28.21

      Hahaha, I couldn’t agree more – one of my absolute favorites, too! xx

    • 8.11.22
      Phyllis said:

      I made this tonight and OMG it is so SO SOOOOO good!!! Quick, easy, nutritious AND delicious! What more can you ask for!! I’m picking out my next recipe now! I think it’s going to be the pesto shrimp skewers 😋

      • 8.12.22
        Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

        Hi Phyllis! Thanks so much for your comment, we are SO glad to hear that you loved these Glow Bowls – they are a PWWB fave! Hope you do try the presto shrimp skewers too & let us know what you think!

  14. 5.15.21
    Haleigh said:

    This recipe was so refreshing and absolutely delicious! My husband was skeptical at first because he doesn’t always go for salad/grain bowls, but he loved. It’s a complete meal and will he on repeat at our house this summer!

  15. 9.24.20
    Jessica Ranes said:

    Curry vinaigrette is a GAME CHANGER! So refreshing and filling.

    • 3.10.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Jessica! Yessss! So glad you enjoyed this vinaigrette, thank you for sharing!