Red Lentil Quinoa Bowl (2024)

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posted: 07/15/22 — updated: 06/06/24 by Deryn Macey Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

Jump to Recipe·4.8 from 10 reviews

These vegan red lentil quinoa bowls are full of nutrition and perfect for meal prep or a healthy meal any night of the week.

Red Lentil Quinoa Bowl (1)

Table of Contents

Why You’ll Love These Bowls

This classic veggie and grain bowl is just uncomplicated, wholesome plant-based food. It features quinoa, lentils, broccoli, squash, carrots and tahini sauce for a delicious and satisfying combo that’s packed with nutrition.

These bowls can be easily adapted with various veggies like sweet potato, you can add greens like kale and they work well with different sauces like peanut sauce, tahini sauce or herb dressing.

The ingredients can be made in advance for quick assembly, otherwise, you’ll need 45 minutes to prepare this dish. Enjoy this recipe anytime for a simple but nourishing and feel-good meal!

Recipe Features

  • Vegan and gluten-free.
  • Easy to make with straightforward, everyday ingredients.
  • Easy to customize to your preference or ingredient availability.
  • They work great for meal prep.
  • Excellent source of plant-based protein and fibre.

Ingredients & Substitutions

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The full ingredient list with amounts is located in the recipe card at the end of the post. This section covers a few notes on the ingredients and any substitutions.

  • Butternut Squash: You’ll need a medium-sized squash or about 4 cups. The amount doesn’t have to be exact. You could also use sweet potato or any other variety of squash like acorn squash or delicata.
  • Carrot: You’ll need 4 medium or large carrots. Alternatives are brussels sprouts, onion, zucchini or bell pepper.
  • Quinoa: Use red, white or tri-colour quinoa. Rinse it well under cold water before cooking it. Substitute any other whole grain like farro, brown rice, freekeh or barley. For a low-carb option, try cauliflower rice or cabbage rice.
  • Lentils: The recipe calls for red lentils but you could use green lentils, brown lentils, French lentils or any other variety.
  • Broccoli: Use fresh broccoli. I like to steam it but you could also roast or blanch it. Alternatives could be cauliflower or kale.
  • Tahini: You’ll need creamy tahini to make the dressing. Note that tahini should only have 1 ingredient – sesame seeds. See the Alternative Dressing section for other options.
  • Lemon: You’ll need fresh lemon for the dressing. One lemon should be enough but you might need two depending on how juicy they are.

Step-by-Step Instructions

The full written and printable recipe card is located at the end of the post. This section shows a quick visual reference for making the recipe step-by-step.

Step 1: Roast the vegetables.

Add the cubed butternut squash and chopped carrot to a baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Roast the veggies at 425 F until tender, about 30 minutes.

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Step 2: Cook the quinoa and lentils.

For the quinoa:

  • Bring water to a boil, using a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. For example, for 1 cup of dry quinoa, you’ll need 2 cups of water.
  • Add the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer lightly for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes without removing the lid.
  • Fluff with a fork and it’s ready to go.

For the lentils, use a 2:1 ratio of water to lentils and cook over medium-low heat until the lentils are tender. Red lentils take about 15 minutes to cook. Green or brown lentils take 20-25 minutes.

Time Saving Tip: Use canned lentils, black beans or chickpeas instead of cooking red lentils.

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Step 3: Steam the broccoli.

To steam the broccoli, bring water to a boil in a steamer pot then add the broccoli and cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender-crisp.

Time Saving Tip: Wash and chop the broccoli a day ahead and store in the fridge to save time and clean up.

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Step 4: Make the tahini sauce.

Add all of the tahini sauce ingredients to a bowl or any container and whisk or shake vigorously to combine. Slowly whisk in water until you have a thick and creamy but pourable consistency.

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Step 5: Assemble your bowls and enjoy!

Once everything is ready, divide the ingredients between 4 bowls and top with the tahini dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and hot sauce if desired, and enjoy your healthy bowl!

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Alternative Dressings

Here are some other sauces that work well with these bowls:

  • Maple Dijon Dressing
  • Miso Tahini Dressing
  • Glory Bowl Dressing
  • Mint Cilantro Dressing
  • Maple Tahini Dressing
  • Almond Satay Sauce
  • Peanut Ginger Sauce

Variations & Additions

  • Try these crispy lentils instead of red lentils.
  • Add a scoop of tzatziki or hummus.
  • Add roasted chickpeas.
  • Add a handful of kale or spinach for some greens.
  • Add brussels sprouts, bell pepper, onion, beets or zucchini to the roasted veggies.
  • Add avocado for a creamy texture and healthy fats.
  • For more protein, add crumbled tempeh, baked tempeh, baked tofu or edamame.
  • For extra flavour and texture, try adding bold ingredients like pickled red onions, roasted red peppers, hot sauce and/or fresh herbs like parsley, scallions or cilantro.
  • Add 1-2 tbsp of nuts or seeds like walnuts, hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds for crunch and healthy fats.
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Storing & Reheating

  • The tahini sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. It will thicken a bit after storing but you can stir in a little extra water if needed.
  • Assembled bowls can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It’s recommended to store the dressing separately until serving.
  • Reheat the bowls in the microwave until heated through.

More Recipes

Loving this quinoa bowl? Check these out too:

  • Quinoa Grain Bowls: Hearty quinoa bowls with tempeh and chili maple dressing.
  • Vegan Quinoa Power Bowls: Squash, kale, quinoa and maple dijon tahini dressing
  • Rice and Lentils: Quick Mediterranean-inspired one pan rice and lentils.
  • Roasted Vegetable Lentil Salad: Wholesome lentil veggie bowls with a balsamic drizzle.
  • Sweet Potato Quinoa Tofu Bowls: Kale, pickled onion, quinoa, tofu, sweet potato and hemp seed dressing.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.


Red Lentil Quinoa Bowl (9)

Red Lentil Quinoa Bowl

5 Stars4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars1 Star4.8 from 10 reviews

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Print Recipe

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A classic veggie and grain bowl that’s perfect for a wholesome dinner or healthy meal prep idea.


For the Bowls

  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (or 1 medium squash, the amount doesn’t have to be exact)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (approx. 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed (approx. 2 cups cooked)
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli

For the Lemon Tahini Sauce


  1. Preheat Oven: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roast Squash and Carrot: Add the peeled and cubed butternut squash and chopped carrot to a roasting tray. Add 2 tsp olive oil and a generous sprinkling of sea salt and pepper and use your hands to mix so everything is coated. Roast for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  3. Cook the Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa well under cold water. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add 1 cup uncooked quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and lightly simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
  4. Cook Lentils: Rinse the red lentils. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add 1 cup lentils, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender.
  5. Steam Broccoli: To make the broccoli, steam on the stovetop for 4-5 minutes until bright and tender-crisp.
  6. Make Tahini Sauce:To make the tahini sauce, mix everything but the water together until fully combined. Slowly add water 1-2 tbsp at a time until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. It should be thick but pourable.
  7. Assemble the Bowls: To assemble, divide everything between 4 containers or bowls and serve right away.


Assembled bowls can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave. Recommended to store the dressing separately until serving.


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 524
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 88 g
  • Fiber: 18 g
  • Protein: 23 g

Originally published July 17, 2019.

Bowls Fall Gluten-Free Main Dishes Nut-Free Recipes Soy-Free Sugar-Free

posted by Deryn Macey on July 15, 2022

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22 comments on “Lentil Quinoa Bowl”

  1. Cynthia October 4, 2022 @ 2:55 pm Reply

    YUM! I added a handful of arugula to the bowl for another hit of green. It was yummy. I also used a maple cinnamon tahini dressing that I had left overs from another recipe that was also great. I will make this dressing as soon as the other is finished.

  2. Ruth October 2, 2022 @ 7:08 pm Reply

    This is a nice simple meal that I’ve made a few times. Nutritionally dense and easy to prepare. I haven’t used squash, just sub with yams, as I always have them on hand. Today I was a little low on the broccoli, so added some Brussel spouts to the yams and carrots. Added some sprouts and pumpkin seeds on top for some freshness and crunch. I’ve enjoyed a few of your recipes now and always come back to them. Thank you!

  3. Jen M March 12, 2022 @ 7:12 pm Reply

    A simple and flavourful bowl. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Amanda January 15, 2021 @ 1:20 pm Reply

    As a new vegan, I am always trying to find delicious recipes. I have to say this is one of my absolute favorites. Everything goes together very well, it’s super filling, and the sauce is so yummy. I honestly feel like I can eat this every day. It’s definitely on my regular rotation.

  5. Brandy January 8, 2021 @ 6:44 pm Reply

    I roasted the broccoli but otherwise made it as written. It was sooo good! The sauce is divine!

  6. Geri June 23, 2020 @ 8:03 pm Reply

    Very good! Followed the recipe as written…loved it! Will make this one again soon.

Red Lentil Quinoa Bowl (2024)


Are lentils and quinoa healthy? ›

Benefits of Lentil Quinoa Salad

It is a complete protein source, making it beneficial for vegetarians and vegans. It also supports digestive health, provides essential minerals, and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Cherry tomatoes contain Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and antioxidants like lycopene.

How much water do I need for 1 cup of red lentils? ›

Red Lentil to Water Ratio

To cook red lentils so that they retain some of their shape but are still cooked through, use 2 cups water to 1 cup lentils. To cook red lentils so that they break down into a puree, use 3 cups water to 1 cup lentils.

Which lentils are healthiest? ›

Urad dal or black lentil is one of the most nutritious pulses known to mankind. Low in fat and calories, Urad dal helps to improve digestion. With it being a rich source of protein and vitamin B3, it makes our bones stronger and is said to boost energy levels, enhance heart health and strengthen our nervous system.

Is quinoa a substitute for lentils? ›

They both give some great nutrients and are awesome sources of protein and fiber. Can you substitute quinoa for lentils? You can, but they are both very different in taste and texture. So it depends on what you are making.

Is there any downside to quinoa? ›

Allergy to other foods used as grains: Quinoa may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to foods used as grains, such as buckwheat, wheat, and rice. If you have allergies to grains, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before using quinoa.

Is it safe to eat quinoa every day? ›

You can eat one-two cups of cooked quinoa in a day. You should avoid eating it if you experience stomachache, itchiness or vomiting after consuming it. A study by Harvard Public School of Health has reported that eating a bowl of quinoa daily is healthy and without any side effects.

Should you rinse red lentils before cooking? ›

Lentils to do not require soaking like other pulses. Rinse your lentils with fresh water before boiling to remove any dust or debris. Cook on a stovetop, using 3 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc) to 1 cup of dry lentils.

What happens if you don't soak lentils? ›

Soaking dried beans and lentils before cooking is not always necessary, but it can help reduce cooking time and improve their digestibility. Here's what happens if you don't soak them: 1> Longer Cooking Time: Beans and lentils that haven't been soaked will generally take longer to cook compared to soaked ones.

How much red lentils per day? ›

Eating half a cup of cooked lentils gives you lots of essential nutrients and their high fiber content makes you feel full. However, the fiber in lentils can be hard for your body to break down. Eating too many lentils can cause gas, bloating, and cramping.

Is it okay to eat red lentils every day? ›

However, it's worth bearing in mind – if you are planning on eating lentils every day – that the fibre they contain can be difficult to break down and can potentially cause gas and cramping if you eat too much of it.

Are red lentils protein or carbs? ›

Lentils are good source of protein. A ½ cup serving of cooked lentils provides about 12 grams of protein. With such high protein content, you are sure to be fuelled up all day long.

Are lentils anti-inflammatory? ›

Overall, lentils are a highly nutritious food with various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. The fiber and protein content in lentils make them beneficial for weight management, blood sugar regulation, and supporting overall gut health.

Is quinoa good for your gut? ›

Studies suggest quinoa may improve gut health by enhancing the diversity of beneficial gut bacteria and reducing the inflammatory symptoms of conditions like colitis. Acting as a prebiotic, quinoa supplies the fuel for beneficial gut bacteria, allowing them to thrive.

Is quinoa anti-inflammatory? ›

Quinoa (kiːnwɑː)

With its mild nutty flavor, this edible seed packs a powerful nutrition punch, containing anywhere from 17-27 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per cup cooked. Quinoa is also considered to be a whole grain, gluten free and contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Is quinoa a protein or carb? ›

Quinoa is considered a carbohydrate because it contains many carbs per serving. Although it contains some protein, the macronutrient distribution is closer to what you find in other grains and starches.

Are lentils healthy or fattening? ›

The Bottom Line. Lentils are a nutritious food that's low-fat and high in protein and fiber. While they make a delicious addition to a soup, stew or salad, you should not eat them raw. No matter which type of lentils you buy, you can easily cook them by boiling your lentils in water on the stove.

Is quinoa healthy or fattening? ›

Rich dietary fibre and protein increase metabolism, and that makes quinoa good for weight loss. Cooked Quinoa contains five grams of dietary fibre per cup. Eating high fibre foods is often the missing piece when a person is trying to shed weight.

Are lentils good or bad for gut? ›

Lentils are rich in a type of fiber that helps your digestive system work as it should and fuels good bacteria in your gut. Fiber may also help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. “Fiber plays an important role in regulating our bowels and protecting the immune system,” says Homan.

Are lentils and quinoa a complete protein? ›

​​Quinoa and lentils​

Though technically incomplete, quinoa's reputation as a high-quality source of protein is well-earned. This is where legumes high in lysine, such as lentils or chickpeas, can be an ideal match.

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