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Vegan Quinoa Recipe

4.97 from 26 votes

A simple, savory, wholesome meal in a bowl – this creamy vegan quinoa recipe is pure comfort food!

vegan quinoa
one bowl meal

This healthy and plant-based “one bowl” meal is such a perfect dinner for any cold winter’s night, and the recipe is super easy to customize.

Make the recipe your own, with the ingredients you have on hand.

Feel free to add your favorite veggies or swap out the kale for spinach, use rice or barley in place of quinoa, or increase the protein in this powerhouse recipe with the addition of beans or another favorite protein source.

The vegan quinoa recipe can be both gluten free and soy free, and you can opt to eat it as a hot meal or cold for a quinoa salad. Leftovers make a really great lunch too!

And look! It’s a kale recipe that isn’t Chocolate Chip Kale Cookies!

healthy quinoa recipe

One of my goals for 2018 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 and 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 being on my own and working from home, it’s sometimes easy to fall into the habit of inhaling my meals much too quickly while focused on other projects, never actually sitting down.

I know I’m not alone in this and that 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.

But meals like this comforting vegan quinoa bowl 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.

Creamy Kale Quinoa. This is my new favorite dinner, and it's actually healthy and vegan
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Cheesy Kale Quinoa

This creamy, cheesy kale quinoa recipe is a simple and healthy one bowl dinner recipe the whole family can enjoy.
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 2 – 4 servings
5 from 26 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?

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Published on January 15, 2018

Meet Katie

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

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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!!!!

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