Bowls are still trending, and for good reason. They’re an easy way to pack loads of nutrition and flavors into a fun presentation that’s easy to eat anywhere. And this recipe for Thai peanut quinoa bowls is our latest obsession. It’s a well-balanced meal that’s meant to be dairy-free, and suits most dietary needs.
Thai Peanut Quinoa Bowls to Round Out a Healthy Dairy-Free Diet
This recipe might looks complicated with ingredients, but it’s really three easy parts that can be made ahead. And you can make simple substitutions without sacrificing flavor. I’ve included several special diet options in the section below, and in the recipe itself. But here are some additional tips for making these Thai peanut quinoa bowls fit into your regular meal plan.
Look for Convenience: You can buy precooked and frozen quinoa, cut or spiralized vegetables, and dairy-free roasted chickpeas at the store. We all love homemade, but if you’re schedule is jam-packed, these are great shortcuts that preserve nutrients.
Swaps are Simple: Don’t be afraid to use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Snap peas, snow peas, green peas, roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes, and edamame are all great options that meld well with the Thai peanut flavor. in a pinch, you can even use bagged coleslaw mix in place of the red cabbage and carrots! And if you don’t have quinoa, you can enjoy these as Thai peanut rice bowls. Cook the same amount of white or brown rice as directed in the recipe. But reduce the cook time to 11 to 13 minutes if making white rice.
Spiralizing is Optional: I know that spiralizing is huge right now, but it isn’t essential. If you don’t have a spiralizer, simply thinly slice the zucchini. If you’re not a fan of raw zucchini (like me!), use the cooking instructions that I provided in the recipe. Or substitute thinly sliced cucumber.
Special Diet Notes: Thai Peanut Quinoa Bowls
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, tree nut-free, optionally soy-free, and optionally refined sugar-free.
For vegan and vegetarian Thai peanut quinoa bowls, substitute baked and diced tofu for the tuna. It can often be found near the fresh tofu in stores. Or you can simply omit the tuna for lighter bowls.
For peanut-free Thai quinoa bowls, substitute sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter.
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1½ tablespoons sugar (can sub coconut sugar)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, gluten-free tamari, or coconut aminos (for soy-free)
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- ⅛ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- 4 tablespoons water, or as needed
- 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 medium zucchini, spiralized (see Zucchini Note)
- 1 carrot, peeled sliced into thin strips
- ⅔ cup chopped red cabbage
- 1 (5-ounce) can solid white albacore tuna in water, drained (see above for Vegan option)
- Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- ½ lime, halved into 2 wedges, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce or tamari, ginger paste, cayenne, and fish sauce (if using). Whisk in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream.
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the chickpeas on your prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Drizzle on more olive oil if the chickpeas seem to dry.
- Spread the chickpeas into a single layer and roast for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- While the chickpeas roast, fill a medium pot with about 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the quinoa. Boil the quinoa, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the quinoa through a fine mesh sieve, and return it to the pot, off the heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and divide it between two bowls. Top with the zucchini, carrot, cabbage, tuna, and roasted chickpeas.
- Drizzle on as much Thai peanut dressing as desired.
- Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve with a lime wedge, for squeezing on.
- Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.