Quinoa Bowls With Sweet Potatoes Black Beans and Spinach
Quinoa Bowls With Sweet Potatoes Black Beans and Spinach

Need a good meal to prep? These quinoa bowls are loaded with creamy black beans, vitamin-packed sweet potatoes, wilted spinach, and crunchy pepitas! Do it all on a Sunday and you’ve got lunch ready for the week!

In this recipe

  • Prepare quinoa bowls
  • What are Pepitas?
  • Bitter quinoa? rinse it out!
  • Customizable

This bowl is packed with healthy foods, vibrant colors, and layers of sweet and tangy flavors. Sweet potatoes, beans, spinach, and quinoa are tossed together with citrus and sour cream sauce. Eat each component individually or all together. It’s a bowl for everyone!

Building bowls is like combining leftovers to create a whole new meal. They take lots of things in small batches and mix them together.

For this recipe, you’ll roast sweet potatoes, sauté spinach, boil quinoa, and roast seeds. That might seem like a lot, but each component is cooked in the same two pans, saving time on cleanup. Better yet, bowls make a great meal ahead of time. Do a little prep work over the weekend and you can have bowls ready for a weekday dinner or lunch all week long.

When making nutritious bowls like this, I like to prepare everything ahead of time and group them by element. For example, I’ll be peeling and dicing my sweet potatoes and having all the spices mixed in a nearby bowl. I do the same with the black beans. (Try this recipe for homemade beans on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker!)

What are Pepitas?

You may be wondering what a pepita is and where can I find one? Pepitas are green, shellless seeds of a specific type of squash called the oilseed squash. Pumpkin seed oil is made from the seeds or eaten out of hand, similar to sunflower seeds.

You can find them in the health food bulk container section at your local grocery store. If you can’t find Pepitas, you can substitute sunflower seeds and eliminate the roasting step.

Bitter quinoa? rinse it out!

You may also be wondering about quinoa, which is actually a seed even though it’s often referred to as a grain.

From time to time I meet people who don’t like quinoa. They usually tell me they taste bitter, and with good reason. Quinoa’s natural coating, saponin, tastes bitter.

Some companies sell it prewashed and some don’t, which is why you might have tried it once and liked it, but had it another time and hated it.

The solution to bitter quinoa is simple. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under running water for a minute to remove the coating, leaving you a happy eater of fluffy, non-bitter seeds (which happen to be gluten-free and high in protein).

A bowl for all eaters!

Bowls make great family meals, especially for those with kids who would prefer the beans not to touch the potatoes (pity!). Children can eat each component separately on a plate, while adults eat everything combined in one bowl. They still only do one meal, but actually everyone is happy! Yay!

That being said, bowls aren’t just for families. They’re ideal for busy professionals who are tired of pre-packaged microwave meals and late-afternoon runs of vending machines.

Less than an hour of prep work on Sunday provides a healthy lunch for four of the next five workdays. Toss it in your fancy lunch bag (I know you have one) and reheat it for quick lunchtime meals all week long!

As written, this recipe is vegetarian, but feel free to make up some chicken or use leftover protein from other meals and add it to your bowl. Everything goes!

Looking for more grain bowls?!

  • Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowls
  • Black Bean Burrito Bowl
  • Grilled Shrimp Taco Bowl
  • Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl
  • Black rice bowls with tofu and vegetables

Quinoa bowls with sweet potatoes, black beans and spinach

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
45 minutes

total time
55 minutes

4 servings


For the sauce:

  • 1/4 Cup sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon Franken Red Hot Sauce or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon water

For the quinoa:

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 Cup dry quinoa

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Pepitas:

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/4 Cup Pepitas

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the sweet potatoes:

  • 1 lb sweet potatoespeel and cut into ½ cm cubes.

  • 2 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/4 Cup water

  • 2 tablespoon Brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the black beans:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/2 Middle yellow oniondiced

  • 2 cloves chopped garlic

  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 Bay leaf

  • 1 (15 ounces) can black beansrinsed and drained

  • 1/4 Cup water

  • 1 teaspoon apple vinegar or lime juice

For the spinach:

  • 8th ounces baby spinachtwo large handfuls per person

  • 3 tablespoon water

  • 2 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the garnish:

  • 2 ounces Cotija cheesedecay

  • lime wedges

  • Freshly chopped coriander


  1. Make the sauce:

    In a small bowl, combine sour cream, Frank’s Red Hot, lime juice, and water. Cover and put in the fridge.

  2. Cook quinoa:

    Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for about a minute. In a medium saucepan, combine water, quinoa, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

    Cover and cook over medium heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff up with a fork and keep covered.

  3. Toast the Pepitas:

    Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the pepitas and salt. Stir frequently and toast until the seeds begin to pop and some parts turn a toasted brown color, about 5 minutes.

    Place on a large plate. Scoot Pepitas to the side. You will place the sweet potatoes on the other side.

  4. Cooking Sweet Potatoes in Sugar and Spices:

    Using the same pan you used to roast the pepitas, keep the heat on medium and add 2 teaspoons oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the diced potatoes. Stir to coat. Cook for about 1 minute. Stir again. Add the water. Cover and leave untouched for 5 minutes.

    Combine sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Add the spice mixture to the potatoes. Stir to coat.

    Cook uncovered for another 7 minutes. Don’t stir. The sugar should be caramelized, one side of the potatoes should be brown, and the potatoes should be tender but still holding together.

    Remove the potatoes from the pan and place them on the plate next to the Pepitas. Tent with foil to keep them warm.

  5. Make the beans:

    Place the pan back on the stove over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Once the oil is simmering, after about a minute add the diced onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and bay leaf. Cook until onions are soft, about 2 minutes.

    Add the beans, 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Turn to medium-high, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes.

    Divide the beans evenly among four bowls. Wipe pan with a paper towel and set over medium-high heat.

  6. Wilting the spinach:

    Add 3 tablespoons of water to the pan, followed by the whole spinach. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss gently until the spinach has wilted – this should take about 2 minutes.

  7. Serve bowls:

    To the bowls of black beans, add 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup quinoa, and the spinach. Garnish with toasted pepitas, crumbled cotija, a squeeze of lime and a squirt of creamy hot lime sauce.

nutritional information (per serving)
600 calories
22g Fat
85g carbohydrates
22g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!