Quinoa Bowl with Almond Pesto

breakfast dressings & sauces mains recipes Apr 21, 2021

I was recently asked by a family friend how I continue to find inspiration for the content I share both here on my blog as well as on social media. Of course, I, like anyone else, can lack inspiration at times. But overall, I just feel like there are SO many incredible foods and wellness topics to dive into that it can actually be touch to narrow it down!

When it comes to recipes specifically, I often gain inspiration from what is in season (read more about why eating seasonally is one of the best things you can do for your health). But I also find that dining out is one of the best ways to open our minds to new foods, combinations and flavors.

And not only does eating out encourage me to utilize new ingredients in my home cooking, but I also find it fun to recreate some of my go-to restaurant meals. My Homemade Flower Child Mother Earth Bowl is the perfect example of how you can have some fun putting your own at-home spin on a longtime favorite.

For this particular recipe, I was inspired by the Quinoa Bowl from Cafe No Sé here in Austin. This is always on my list of best spots for brunch or lunch in town, and everything on the menu is truly delicious. You can read more and also find my other healthy dining recommendations in my Austin Restaurants That Make Clean Eating a Treat blog post.

While every now and then I’ll get adventurous with my order, the Quinoa Bowl is one I continue to come back to because it simply never fails to hit the spot. So what’s in this famous bowl ? It’s a tasty combo of:

  • Poached egg
  • Quinoa
  • Fried chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Hearty greens
  • Almond pesto 

I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to chat with the chef about how he prepares all of these components, so I had to use a bit of my own creativity and best judgement. Which is half of the fun!

Quinoa is a the base of this loaded bowl, of course, which is an easy thing to make a large batch of to enjoy both in this recipe as well as other own salads and bowls throughout the week. Plus, quinoa is incredibly nutritious and is one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein (and it’s gluten-free – it’s actually a seed, not a grain).

Life-changing tip – cook your quinoa (as well as grains, rice, etc.) in bone, chicken or veggie broth for an additional punch of flavor.

But I’d say the real star of the show here is the combination of the egg, chickpeas and pesto. Rather than a poached egg, I made 6-minute eggs (my favorite), which have the perfect runny center and can be made in a batch ahead of time to enjoy for days to come.

Here’s a guide to make the perfect 6-minute egg, but note you can also cook them longer depending on how firm or runny you prefer your yolks!

As for the Crispy Chickpeas, not only are they healthier than the fried version in the original recipe, but you’d truly never know the difference. I love whipping up a batch of these to add a little crunch and texture to just about any meal.

And lastly, the Almond Pesto is essential for flavor and a “sauce” in this yummy bowl. I whipped up my own version that takes less than 5 minutes to make, is dairy-free and yields enough to have extras for meals throughout the week (it’s perfect on pasta!).

Once you have all of your cooked components ready to go, just throw them all in a bowl with the fresh ingredients, top with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and black pepper, and enjoy! While we all might not be able to hit Cafe No Sé, you can bring this goodness into your own kitchen any day of the week.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try!


 YIELDS1 Serving


Quinoa Bowl
  •  ½ cup cooked quinoa
  •  1 cup chopped, hearty greens (I used kale & rainbow chard)
  •  â…“ cup sliced radishes
  •  ½  avocado, sliced
  •  â…“ cup sliced or shredded carrots
  •  2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  juice of 1/2 lemon
  •  6-minute egg (recipe in blog post above)
Crispy Chickpeas
  •  1  can chickpeas (15 oz), drained, rinsed & dried
  •  1 tbsp avocado oil
  •  ½ tsp garlic powder
  •  ½  paprika
  •  pinch of salt & pepper
  • Almond Pesto
  •  1 cup raw almonds
  •  2 cups fresh basil
  •  juice of 2 lemons
  •  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  •  2  garlic cloves
  •  salt & pepper to taste


For the Crispy Chickpeas, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add chickpeas and avocado oil to a baking sheet, and mix to coat completely. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven, and toss with spices while chickpeas are still warm.

For the Almond Pesto, add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until combined, and season to taste.
To create your bowl, toss greens in EVOO and lemon juice.

Add greens to bowl with quinoa, radishes and carrots.

Top with Crispy Chickpeas, Almond Pesto, avocado and 6-minute egg.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and black pepper.


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