Filled with flavorful, feel-good ingredients, this Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowl is the ultimate plant-based lunch or dinner. Paired with deliciously tangy avocado dressing, this easy vegetarian grain bowl requires minimal prep work and is make-ahead friendly. Perfect if you need a healthy and satisfying lunch option to bring to work!
Consider this quinoa bowl the queen of plant-based versatility. It works great for meal prep, especially if you need a make-ahead friendly lunch to bring to work or school. The combo is just as delicious for dinner, so don't count it out for evenings. And it's one of the best vegetarian freezer meals, too.
This is the type of colorful, feel-good, delicious meal you're just going to want to eat over and over again. Luckily, this recipe is easy enough to do just that.
As a dietitian, I'm always looking for interesting ways to combine plant-based protein with healthy fats and high-fiber grains and vegetables. These quinoa bowls are an excellent example. They have a complete and balanced mix of nutrients that will help you feel full and satisfied after eating them.
- Sweet potato
- Canned black beans
- Fresh cilantro (optional)
- Olive oil or avocado oil
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
Optional ingredients for serving:
- Pickled red onions - find my recipe for quick pickled red onions here.
- Cherry tomatoes - I like to use multicolor tomatoes for maximum visual appeal.
See recipe card below for exact quantities and preparation.
Here's a basic summary of how to make this quinoa bowl. You can find more detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Toss the sweet potato, beans, oil, and spices, and roast in a 425ºF oven until the sweet potato is tender.
Cook the quinoa.
Blend the avocado dressing until smooth and creamy.
Combine the cooked sweet potato and beans with quinoa, avocado dressing, and optional garnishes.
Hint: If the avocado dressing is too thick, add another tablespoon of water and blend again. Repeat until you have the consistency you want. The dressing should be smooth and pourable but still creamy.
Need to make an ingredient substitution? Here are a few swaps that work well for this recipe.
- Black beans - instead of black beans, you can substitute pinto beans or red kidney beans.
- Spices - use taco seasoning instead of chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.
- Pickled red onion - substitute thinly sliced raw red onion.
Want to change up this recipe? Here are a few ways you can make it your own.
- Spicy - add ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the bean and sweet potato mixture. You can also add a jalapeño pepper to the avocado dressing.
- Burrito bowl - substitute rice for the quinoa—or try this vegetarian burrito bowl recipe from All the Healthy Things
- Breakfast bowl - add eggs!
See this Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl for a similar meal idea.
- Knife and cutting board - to chop the vegetables.
- Mixing bowl - for combining the sweet potato and black beans with seasoning.
- Baking sheet - to roast the sweet potato and beans.
- Pot with lid - for cooking the quinoa. If you don't have one, buy pre-cooked quinoa instead and heat in the microwave.
- Blender - needed to make the avocado dressing. A food processor will also work.
This recipe is great for making ahead of time. Store the cooked quinoa and sweet potato/black beans separately from the avocado dressing. Each can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
You can also freeze the quinoa/sweet potato/black beans for up to three months and the avocado dressing for up to two months. Thaw each overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat the quinoa and vegetables in the microwave by heating in 30 second intervals and stirring until warm. If the avocado dressing thickens in the fridge, stir in a little water until it thins out.
I recommend adding the garnishes (especially the sliced avocado and fresh cilantro) immediately before serving for the freshest flavor.
You might need to adjust the cooking time for the sweet potato and black beans. If the sweet potato is chopped larger than ½-inch (about the size of a potato hash), they will take longer to cook. Instead of judging solely by the timer, try piercing one of the sweet potato cubes with a fork. If the fork goes through easily, it's done!
Start by adding ½ teaspoon salt for every cup of dry quinoa. You can also cook dry quinoa with broth instead of water for added flavor. Once cooked, taste the quinoa and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Yes! If you prefer not to reheat cooked quinoa, you can eat it cold. The result will be more like a grain salad.
Looking for more easy vegetarian meals? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with a quinoa bowl:
Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowl
- Knife and cutting board
- mixing bowl
- Baking sheet
- Pot with lid
Sweet Potato and Beans:
- 1 medium sweet potato chopped into ½-inch cubes
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium ripe avocado peeled and pitted
- ¼ cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon (packed) fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup water
Optional for serving:
- Pickled red onions
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Avocado slices
- Quartered cherry tomatoes
Prepare the sweet potato and beans:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toss sweet potato, black beans, oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl and then spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.
Prepare the quinoa:
- In the meantime, add dry quinoa, water, and salt to a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Turn off heat and let stand covered 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Prepare the Avocado Dressing:
- While the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooking, prepare the dressing. Add avocado, oil, lime juice, cilantro (if using), garlic, salt, pepper, and water to a blender. Blend on high 10 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. If the dressing is too thick, and another tablespoon of water and blend again until desired consistency is reached.
- Add cooked sweet potato mixture and quinoa to bowls. Add pickled red onion, cilantro, avocado, and cherry tomatoes if desired. Drizzle with avocado dressing and enjoy!
- Storage/Making Ahead: Store quinoa and vegetables in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days or store in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months. Store avocado dressing in a separate container and refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. If the avocado dressing thickens in the fridge, stir in water as needed to thin to desired consistency.
- Reheating: Reheat the quinoa and vegetables in the microwave by heating in 30 second intervals and stirring until warm.
- Nutrition facts are estimates only and do not include optional ingredients for serving.