Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowl

This delicious and healthy Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowl is my proposed cure for the fears we have about living a healthy life. Tasty, healthy food is a good cure for just about anything.

A glass bowl is full of quinoa, peas, asparagus, and topped with spinach leaves. The text at the top reads, "Quinoa & Pesto Veggie Bowls."

I heard someone say once that the nervous energy we feel before giving a presentation is simply our body misinterpreting excitement for fear. That makes sense. I wonder if the same could be true for our lives? We really should be excited by changes in our diets or lifestyle. These are changes that can take our lives to the next level, but sometimes all we sense is fear.

We fear losing the comfort of our every-day food.

We fear the time we’ll have to spend in the kitchen instead of watching our favorite TV shows. It’s understandable. No one wants to miss out on House of Cards!

But what if we flipped that fear word out and said instead, we are excited to try new foods. We’re excited for a little time in the kitchen in order to eat healthy, home-cooked meals?

Sometimes changing one little word makes all the difference.

Looking down on a food processor bowl with oil, spinach leaves, nuts, and garlic.
Fresh Asparagus on a cutting board.
Looking down on a skillet full of asparagus and peas.

I remember when I first made the decision to go vegetarian. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I tried it over and over again and it never took. It was discouraging.

And then one day I woke up with an epiphany. I was heading into what I thought was going to be one of the the worst days of my life — driving to court; going through a divorce. It was not a happy time in my life, for sure. I felt like one big failure.

But then that epiphany happened: I realized my new single mother lifestyle could make the transition to a vegetarian lifestyle a little easier. I was going to be my own woman now and one of the things I wanted for my life was to be vegetarian, so I did it.

I made that change and I never looked back. Sometimes that’s how life decisions work.

A closeup of a bowl of a Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowl with fresh spinach on top.
Looking down on a glass bowl with quinoa, asparagus, and fresh spinach leaves. A white dinner napkin and fork sit above it.

What You’ll Love About this Quinoa and Pesto Veggie Bowl

If you’ve been contemplating a change in your lifestyle lately, this Quinoa and Pesto Veggie Bowl might be a good dish to help. First, the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is readily available at most grocery stores. Availability of ingredients is important. You can also find asparagus in the produce aisle, and frozen peas are available year-round.

If you’ve never tried growing your own basil, I highly recommend it. Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow and adding a few chopped leaves here and there on various recipes can add such amazing flavor. Besides, having fresh basil growing on your deck or even in a pot by your kitchen window will make you feel so…healthy!

Also, the age-old question posed to vegetarian and vegans across the world — how do you get your protein — is answered quite easily with this recipe. Quinoa is a great plant-based source for protein.

More than anything you’ll love how easy this dish is to make and how completely delicious it is.

A closeup of a fork on a white napkin. The fork holds a bite of quinoa pesto with asparagus. The bowl with the rest of the meal sits next to it.
Looking down on a bowl of quinoa with asparagus and peas and fresh spinach leaves.

I hope you try this recipe and that you love it as much as we do. Asparagus season is hitting its peak in April so you should take the opportunity to try it if you haven’t before. You’ll be so glad you did. If you make this recipe, take a picture and share it with me using #namelmarly on Instagram or Twitter. I love seeing your photos!

Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowls

Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowl

Enjoy this simple Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowl and taste the difference a plant-based diet can make for your life, one delicious bite after another.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 364kcal
Author: Namely Marly


  • 2 cups quinoa uncooked
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves washed and chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup kale de-stemmed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt preferably sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups asparagus washed and chopped
  • ½ cup fresh greens such as spinach or watercress


  • Rinse the quinoa with a fine-mesh strainer. Pour both the vegetable broth and the quinoa in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the moisture is absorbed.
  • Add the garlic, walnuts, fresh basil, olive oil, kale and salt to a food processor (or blender) and pulse for a few seconds. Push down any ingredients on the side of the bowl again, and pulse again until the most a nice, consistent texture is achieved. Stir the pesto into the cooked quinoa and stir until evenly combined.
  • Spray a skillet with a light coating of vegetable spray and place over medium heat. Add the frozen peas and chopped asparagus and cook for about 10 minutes until the asparagus is tender, but not mushy.
  • Place the pesto quinoa in a bowl and top with cooked asparagus and peas. Add the greens as a garnish.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)


Look for asparagus that is firm, with heads that are dark green or maybe even slightly purple.
Nutrition Facts
Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowl
Amount Per Serving
Calories 364 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 832mg35%
Potassium 564mg16%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 2310IU46%
Vitamin C 27mg33%
Calcium 73mg7%
Iron 4.4mg24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


4 Responses to Quinoa Pesto Veggie Bowl

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyjoi tydings Reply

    I loved the story behind this and the beautiful pictures to occupy the steps!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMalaika Reply

    Thank you so much for this article and recipe… I’ve been trying to go vegan for awhile… now. I need to reframe how I see my kitchen.. I like the idea of growing the basil…I will use growing my own basil as a way of starting a new lifestyle.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Malaika! Thanks for your note. I love the idea of growing your own basil as inspiration for your diet too. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. It took me awhile to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan. Just give yourself some grace as you make these changes…and tend to your sweet basil plant too!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCharlene Reply

    I’ve been looking for vegan bowl recipes, and this one caught my eye! I’m not vegan, but I want to head in that direction. Anyway, I tried the recipe, adjusting the recipe down to a fourth of what is called for (I live alone.) It’s really good! I’ll definitely do it again, but, as with trying anything new, it’s a learning curve. I might make a slight adjustment here, a tweak there. Overall, I’m very happy with my first attempt, and I don’t even LIKE asparagus!!

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