These quinoa chickpea buddha bowls can be made to conform to almost any diet. With sumac and smoked paprika, roasted chickpeas, quinoa, veg, optional shrimp and a creamy tahini dressing, it is sure to please a wide group of eaters.
Maybe you don’t have that family. Maybe you are lucky and only know people who only eat the same things. No one has any intolerances, food preferences or lifestyle choices that impact how you cook when friends or family get together. If you exist, maybe you live in a utopian alter reality where donuts are healthy and sitting on the couch gives you abs or just not North America. Either way, can I visit? It seems these days everyone is not eating something. So, what is one to do when all these people and their diverse diets get together?
A. Spend a lot of time and money making two or three different meals.
B. Stop inviting those people over (you know, siblings, children, best friends…).
C. Go out to eat $$$.
D. Make one meal that everyone can eat.
Options A-C are always possibilities, but they’re not very sustainable or realistic ALL THE TIME. But option D? What on earth can I make that will feed my vegan friend, my gluten free friend, my general omnivore friend, and my paleo friend all at once? Quinoa Chickpea Buddha bowls. That’s what.
A couple weeks ago I went on a trip to Florida with my mom, my youngest brother, and my daughter, Willow. We rented a condo, and in order to make the trip more budget savvy we stocked the fridge with food for breakfast and lunch and went out to eat at night for dinner. My mom asked me to come up with a meal plan for the week, but it had to fit with how each individual likes to eat. To give you an idea of my challenge, here are our various diets:
Stacy (Me): I try to eat lower carbs, some protein, and lots of veggies. Almost no sweets! I like spicy, garlicky, bold foods.
Danny: A newbie vegetarian who loves pasta and veggie burgers (i.e. carbs)
Mom: Omnivore with acid reflux disease who lives on sweets. Avoids foods that are spicy, garlicky, or bold.
Willow: Requires general bribery or ketchup to consume anything that’s not pizza or ice cream.
We basically have opposing diets. So when my mom asked me to come up with a meal plan for the week, I had my job cut out for me. The dish that won everyone over, these quinoa chickpea buddha bowls.
Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowls FTW
The chickpeas are crunchy and flavorful and while sumac and smoked paprika have bold flavors, they are not spicy at all (Points for mom). I roasted them together on the same sheet pan with some broccoli to save time and clean up. Quinoa, as you probably know, is a higher protein grain. I used just a 1/4 cup in my salad where my mom and brother had a little more. The carrots I shaved down with a vegetable peeler to make carrot “noodles”. A low carb or paleo eater could bulk up on these, broccoli, and the spinach while skipping the quinoa and chickpeas.
We found a fish monger that sold seafood caught by small, local fisheries fresh from the Gulf of Mexico. We bought some shrimp and sautéed them in some olive oil for the finishing touch and added protein for my mom and me. I just separated the components on a plate for Willow, with a bottle of ketchup close by (she likes quinoa, shrimp, and avocado). Avocado and tahini dressing for everyone!
Meal Prep without Meal Prep
These quinoa chickpea buddha bowls have a lot of components, but what I love about them is that they keep really well. On our trip, I made a bunch of each ingredient and just kept them stored separately in the fridge. When lunch time came around, all you had to do was build your bowl. Everything was ready. You can heat up the quinoa or eat it cold. Both ways are great! The components of this salad will stay fresh in the fridge in a sealed container for 4-5 days. So while you’re making lunch, you are also meal prepping for the rest of the week. Meal prep with out doing an extra meal prep.
HAVE IT YOUR WAY
These quinoa chickpea buddha bowls really are super versatile and easily customizable. If you have a family like mine, you no longer need to bang your head against the wall when everybody comes over. Also, you can change this up. Like a different grain? Try rice or millet! Want to try other protein sources, try lentils or grilled chicken breast. Don’t like carrots? Try zucchini “noodles”. Make it your own and have it your way, without cooking 3 different meals, going out to eat, or shunning your loved ones from your life.
When you make these Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowls, let me know how it goes! Did it appeal to all your eaters? Rate the recipe and share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Use the hashtag #popkitchen when you post photos of recipes you’ve made to your Instagram and tag @pop_kitch. I’ll share my favorite photos on POP KITCHEN’s account.
Looking for more salad recipes, try these:
Need more Gluten Free recipe? Check out these!
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ tsp sumac (if you can't find sumac or smoked paprika, try substituting chili powder and cumin or regular paprika and oregano)
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 bundle of broccoli, about 3 cups, cut into medium florets
- 2 Tbsp pure (refined) olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked and rinsed well in a fine mesh strainer (don't skip rinsing or you'll end up with bitter quinoa)
- 2 carrots, peeled and shaved down into thin strips
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 avocado
- 1 lb shrimp (optional), shells removed and deveined (ask your fish monger do this! You'll save lots of time)
- ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp honey (sub maple syrup if vegan)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra vrigin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp water for thinning
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Chickpeas: Turn your oven on to 350 F/180 C/4 gas. On a sheet pan, lay down a kitchen towel and place your drained chickpeas on top. Fold the towel over top and pat the chickpeas dry. This will help the chickpeas get extra crispy. Take away the towel so the chickpeas roll off onto the sheet pan. Scoot them all over so they only take up half of the sheet pan. Sprinkle the chickpeas with the sumac and smoked paprika.
- Broccoli: Place the broccoli florets on the other half of the sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over top of the chickpeas and broccoli followed by seasoning them both with the sea salt. Toss the broccoli florets with the olive oil and salt until they are fully coated, keeping them separate from the chickpeas. Then, toss the chickpeas together so they are fully coated with oil and spices. Place in the oven and roast 15 minutes. Turn over the broccoli and shake up the chickpeas and bake another 15 minutes.
- Quinoa: While the chickpeas and broccoli are roasting, cook the quinoa. Place the rinsed quinoa, a pinch of sea salt and 2 cups of water into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Veggies: While the quinoa is cooking, you can shave your carrots. I peel off the outer skin and then run my vegetable peeler over them again and again in the same spot until most of the carrot is gone. You should have nice long carrot "noodles". I will also slice some avocado.
- Dressing: In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the tahini dressing. It will look separated at first, but keep stirring, it will all come together. Taste to adjust the seasoning if necessary. Needs more acid? Add more lemon. More sweetness? Add honey. Saltiness? Obviously, salt.
- Shrimp: Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp of pure olive oil to the pan and let it get hot. It will look shiny and super swirly in the pan. Add your shrimp and sear each side. Shrimp do not need to cook long. Once they turn bright pink they are cooked. They will need about 2 minutes per side. Season with sea salt with they are finished.
- Build the Bowls: Of course, each bowl can be different depending on your dietary preference. Less quinoa and chickpeas for a lower carb diet, no shrimp for a vegan diet. Here is a baseline to follow. And ½ a cup of cooked quinoa and a handful of baby spinach into each bowl. Divide the chickpeas and broccoli evenly between the 4 bowls. Top each bowl with a bundle of carrot noodles, ¼ of an avocado, cooked shrimp, if using, and a good drizzle of the tahini dressing. You can sprinkle a pinch of salt a little extra sumac on top for extra lemony-ness.