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Creamy Cheesy Quinoa Bowls

4.98 from 41 votes

A simple, savory, and wholesome meal in a bowl, this vegan cheesy kale quinoa recipe is pure healthy comfort food!

vegan quinoa

Vegan quinoa with kale

The one bowl, plant based meal is such a perfect dinner for any cold winter night, and the vegan friendly recipe is super easy to customize.

Make it your own by using up the ingredients you have on hand.

Add your favorite veggies, or swap out the kale for spinach. Try rice or barley in place of the quinoa, or increase the protein in this powerhouse main or side dish with the addition of beans or another favorite protein source.

The vegan quinoa recipe comes with both gluten free and soy free options. And you can opt to eat it as a hot meal or as a cold quinoa salad.

Packed in a thermos, leftovers make a really great lunch on the go.

Readers also love this Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

healthy quinoa recipe

Comfort food quinoa bowls

One of my goals for the year is to really make a conscious effort to slow down, especially when it comes to meals.

Food is such a huge part of my life (clearly – I run a food blog as my Full-Time Job!).

And I grew up in a family that believed in long, relaxing meals together at the table, even on weeknights. We would eat slowly, enjoying both the food and the time catching up with each other.

But working from home, it is often easy to fall into the habit of inhaling my meals much too quickly while focused on other projects, never actually sitting down.

Chocolate Covered Katie Dinner

I know I am not alone in this, and it isn’t only a problem for people who work from home. Many of my friends complain they find themselves doing the same thing, eating lunch at their desk in ten minutes flat so they can get back to work.

Meals like this comforting vegan quinoa bowl dinner ought to be savored slowly, letting your senses take in all of the flavors and textures.

Serve it with rustic bread or a side salad, and a glass of wine if you wish, for a healthy and filling meal that will leave you feeling nourished without weighing you down.

Still craving vegan comfort food? Try Vegan French Toast

Vegan Quinoa Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for the recipe

You will need water, quinoa, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese, milk of choice, optional vegan butter, and greens of choice.

Kale is my favorite green for the quinoa recipe. However, spinach, bok choy, collard greens, and Swiss chard also work.

Feel free to go with red, white, black, tri color, or yellow quinoa. As mentioned earlier, you may also substitute uncooked rice or barley for the quinoa.

I like almond milk or oat milk, or canned coconut milk for a richer quinoa dish. If you prefer, unsweetened creamer can be used instead.

For a protein packed vegan meal in a bowl, add a half cup of black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, or firm tofu when you add the spices.

Or serve the quinoa with Vegan Meatballs

Cheesy vegan quinoa recipe video

Above – watch the step by step recipe video

Vegan Quinoa Bowls

How to make cheesy kale quinoa

Add the uncooked quinoa, water, salt, nutritional yeast or cheese, optional butter, and garlic and onion powders to a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for twenty minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.

Now stir in the milk of choice or creamer and kale. Return the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently until the greens wilt and the quinoa or grains reach your desired texture and thickness.

If you choose to add a source of protein, you can either add it along with the spices or cook it separately and then stir it in near the end.

Portion the quinoa recipe into bowls, and serve hot.

Or let the saucepan cool, then divide its contents into meal prep containers to refrigerate and enjoy leftovers cold or hot throughout the week.

Readers have written in to say that you can also make the recipe in an instant pot.

Add the quinoa, water, salt, spices, nutritional yeast, and optional butter to your machine, and cook on the Rice setting (twelve minutes at low pressure). Quick release the pressure, and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Be sure to try all of these Cauliflower Recipes

Quinoa Meal Prep Dinner

Measuring the meal prep quinoa recipe in grams

Prefer to measure with a food scale instead of cups and tablespoons?

Here are the amounts to use: 300 grams of water, 90 grams of uncooked quinoa, 18 grams of nutritional yeast, 120 grams milk of choice, 25 to 30 grams of raw kale or spinach, and 3 grams of salt.

Do not forget to add in the onion and garlic powders as well.

Leftover quinoa? Make Breakfast Quinoa

Creamy Cheesy Vegan Quinoa Recipe
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Creamy Cheesy Quinoa Bowls

This creamy, cheesy kale quinoa recipe is a simple and healthy one bowl vegan dinner recipe that the whole family can enjoy.
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 2 – 4 servings
5 from 41 votes


  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast or Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each garlic and onion powders
  • 1 cup kale or spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice or unsweetened creamer
  • optional 2 tsp butter or vegan butter for added richness
  • optional protein of choice


  • Bring the first 5 ingredients and optional butter to a boil. Once boiling, turn to a simmer and cover 20 minutes or until fluffy. Stir in the kale and milk or cream, and return to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently until kale wilts and quinoa reaches your desired texture and thickness. If adding a protein, such as tofu or beans, you can cook the protein first or stir it in with the quinoa, depending on what type of protein you’re using and if it needs to be cooked longer.
    Although I haven't tried it, a few readers say you can make this in the Instant Pot. One reader, Rebecca, did it this way: "I combined the first five ingredients and cooked on the “RICE” setting (12 minutes low pressure). I quick-released the pressure and added the remaining ingredients. It turned out perfectly!"
    View Nutrition Facts


For a keto alternative, try this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice!

Have you made this recipe?

Tag @chocolatecoveredkatie on Instagram

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Sweet Potato Salad, a great recipe for parties and can be served hot or cold

Sweet Potato Salad

Published on March 13, 2024

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

Learn more about Katie

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  1. Natasha @ Thoughts of Tradition says

    I appreciate the surplus in vegan meal recipes, as I am trying to eat less meat and dairy. I have made and enjoyed your mushroom barley soup and sesame cauliflower, and this looks just as delicious, so thank you for this.

  2. Kalindi says

    Ooooh I will definitely be trying this! I love quinoa bowls and have done something similar but never with the cream part. Coconut milk sounds like an awesome addition and I already see all the yummy variations — thanks Katie!

  3. Sue says

    I just happened to have all the ingredients, so I made this right away. It was creamy and delicious, perfect for lunch on a cold day!

    • Kathryn says

      This recipe tastes cheesy and mild. Very similar to many comfort foods. It’s not coconutty, just nice and savory.

  4. Fay says

    I just made this dish and it was delicious.
    To me it tasted like Risotto without the labor.
    I put regular nut milk and I think next time I’ll
    Add some portobello mushrooms.
    Definitely will make this again.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Sheri says

    I made this tonight and used low fat almond milk (instead of cream) and did not add the optional buttery spread either and it was delicious.. I also used spinach instead of kale. It was true comfort food.

  6. Cassie Thuvan Tran says

    One of my favorite ways to make quinoa even more comforting is to add canned tomatoes or tomato paste with curry powder! It tastes like a quinoa curry this way! SO yummy. I love this idea, especially since people are making more of an effort to eat plant-based and healthier as well!

  7. Jennifer says

    I made this earlier this week….. this ‘cheesy’ dish is AH-MAZING!!!!!! I’ve been putting the leftovers on top of a salad woh black beans for lunches at work…. so good. Thank you for sharing another super yummy recipe!!!

  8. Dani says

    I love this recipe, I’ve already made it 3 times! I like to use spinach instead of kale. It’s a great easy meal to whip up after a day of work, and there’s enough for dinner and lunch the next day. One of my very favorite Chocolate Covered Katie recipes 🙂

  9. Amanda says

    I made this in my Instant Pot. I combined the first five ingredients and cooked on the “RICE” setting (12 minutes low pressure). I quick-released the pressure and added the remaining ingredients. It turned out perfectly! Thank you!.

  10. Jess says

    Fabulous!! My first savory recipe from your website and it was a hit with hubs and both kids (3 & 7)! We aren’t vegan so I used chicken stock instead of water and butter for the spread. We love nutritional yeast and added more when serving. I went with coconut milk and kale. Doubled it but next time I’ll triple or quadruple. 🙂
    Total comfort food and awesome flavor/texture combos. Thank you!!!

  11. Sarah-Beth says

    Having this right now with spinach and it’s delicious-like a healthy vegan risotto. I love your blog Katie and when I first found it I was a carnivore but I’m now vegan and much more aware about the importance of nourishing foods and healthy fats. Thank you! Btw it made 2 servings for me. Do you think I can heat up the leftovers?

  12. Hellen says

    sharing Veg Quinoa Recipe
    I tried it.It is good & tasty. Quinoa seeds are very healthy to body
    It have a rich amount of fiber,antioxidants and iron

  13. Holly says

    This recipe is fantastic! It is my go-to food when I’m craving something warm and soothing and it’s easy to make little adjustments depending on how my taste buds are feeling that day (personally, I usually only use about 1 tablespoon of the nutritional yeast because the flavor is pretty strong to me). I don’t know how many times I’ve made it since I first tried it, but it continues to hit the spot every time. I also love that it takes almost no time or effort at all! Great recipe, Katie!

  14. Erin says

    I’ve been looking forward to making this since you first posted it, Katie, so I decided to make it for dinner last night. When I got to the adding kale/spinach step, I realized that someone had eaten most of the spinach, so I nipped out to the store to get more. When I got back, the house smelled delicious but would have smelled that much better if I had remembered to turn off the burner before I left. Fortunately, the recipe is so quick to put together that I was able to make a second batch, which was somehow even better than the first. It’s definitely going into regular rotation. Thank you for the recipe!

  15. Jade Schumacher says

    This is one of my all-time favourite recipes of yours!! I love subbing onion powder for half a diced onion, and I definitely love to triple the recipe because I want it to last!!! There was a day I subbed the coconut milk for cream of mushroom soup, and added in chopped mushrooms in addition to spinach and it was heavenly!! This recipe is so flexible, fast, and fun! Thank you Katie!

  16. Maryann says

    Great recipe! I substituted homemade tofu ricotta for the buttery spread and the cashew cream and added a whole bag of frozen chopped spinach. It was fabulous! Thanks Katie for another marvelous recipe!

  17. Laura says

    Ive made this for dinner tonight, and even without the addition of cream, it tastes amazing!
    My only concern,is that even though I have followed the recipe exactly, there is just about enough for me, let alone 2-4 servings!
    I am in the UK so have a feeling my measuring cup is smaller than a US one. Is there any way you could let me know how many grams one cup would be, so I can readjust the recipe? (for reference, my measuring cup came out at 100g of raw quinoa).

    Many thanks

  18. DAWN says

    This recipe could not have been any easier and it’s was SO good! It is my new favorite comfort food and will become part of the rotation of regulars.

  19. Shilpa says

    I love this recipe and make it often, but to say it serves 4 is a major stretch! I get 2 meager portions out of this recipe.

  20. Jeannie says

    YUM!! This’ll be my go to for quinoa!! Wow, so delicious!! In the past I’ve never enjoyed quinoa, I think it’s the bitterness even though I rinse it well prior to cooking, but this recipe blew my mind!! Absolutely delish. Thanks for making me a convert. I’m just beginning to try a vegetarian diet, mostly for health issues I’ve been having, esophagitis, specifically, and all the problems that come with too much animal products in my diet. Bloating, heartburn, aching joints, insomnia, headaches, trouble swallowing, just to name some. Ok, thanks so much, looking forward to more of your healthy recipes.

  21. Diana says

    I made this for dinner and it was delicious! I’m so glad I found this recipe and I will definitely be making again.

  22. Kris says

    I just made this. I had some mushrooms that need to get eaten, so I fried them up and added them. It was soooo good! I went back for seconds. Thanks for another great recipe! :o)

  23. Becky says

    Just had this for dinner and it completely hit the spot as I was craving some comfort food! Next time I am going to add tuna, peas, carrots and mushrooms to make it like a easy stove top tuna casserole!

  24. J says

    Delicious! I used homemade cashew cream and Earth Balance for the buttery spread. Great side to my veggie burger. Thanks for this super easy, but good protein, recipe 🙂

  25. Jackie says

    5 stars
    Katie!! Promote this recipe a lot more. I have been making it since it first came out and it has never failed me – works great as make-ahead lunches.

    I usually double the recipe and since I use my Instant Pot, I reduce the liquid to the ratio 1 cup quinoa to 1.5 cups liquid (1 cup water and half cup almond milk). I dump everything except kale/spinach (I use buttery spread so no cream) and cook it on high pressure for 1 minute and natural release for 10 minutes.

    I like to stir in my greens with a few chilli flakes. I have taken to see it as a base “alfredo” recipe and add toppings as I please.

    Thank you once again for this 🙂

  26. AFried says

    Reminds me of a Patricia Wells recipe with risotto and Parmesan. I used culinary Almond milk and spinach. I was afraid it would be too soupy but it had a wonderful porridge like texture. I will make this again and try some asparagus tips( like Wells recipe) and maybe a different cream.

  27. Katie says

    I can’t explain how much I LOVE a healthy recipe that doesn’t require any vegetable chopping!! Rich, comforting and so easy! Another amazing recipe from my all time favourite blogger 🙂

  28. Brittany says

    5 stars
    This recipe worked out great. I added both vegan parm shreds and nutritional yeast, it was so cheesy 😍 also added microgreens and spinach to make it guilt free lol yummy!!!!

  29. Libby says

    5 stars
    I made this using spinach instead of kale, and nutritional yeast instead of vegan cheese, which I personally do not like. It is just delicious! A wonderful way to cook quinoa.

4.98 from 41 votes (41 ratings without comment)

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