Quinoa Power Bowl

A quinoa power bowl makes the perfect working lunch. The base is simply quinoa and mung bean, and the magic comes from the deeply sautéed and spiced celery. This bowl welcomes as many, or few, toppings as you like - roasted cherry tomatoes, salted dill yogurt, quick pickled red onions, chopped olives.

Quinoa Power Bowl

This quinoa power bowl is the kind of lunch I liked to pull together back in the days we would work in our studio in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It was something I would make regularly because it checks all the boxes — interesting, seasonal, filling, and nutritious. The base is simply mung beans and quinoa topped lots of good stuff. I'd argue, the magic *really* comes from deeply sautéed and spiced celery. The celery brings an incredible amount of flavor and depth to the rest of the dish, and welcomes all sorts of other toppings - roasted cherry tomatoes, salted dill yogurt, quick pickled red onions, chopped olives.

quinoa power bowl topped with tomatoes, yogurt, onions

The Key to an Easy Power Bowl

I tend to keep a range of cooked beans and grains on hand, and that is one little trick that makes something like this easy to pull together. So, if you want something like this quinoa power bowl to come together quickly, the key is to make components ahead of time. Do a bit of meal prep. I tend to cook components for the week on the weekends, in big batches, and then keep an amount I think we might eat in the refrigerator.  Freeze the the rest after allowing it to cool completely. This way I always have cooked quinoa, barley, brown rice, mung beans, just a quick thaw away.

quinoa power bowl topped with tomatoes, yogurt, onions

Keep it Simple or Load it Up!

When it comes to power bowls, you can make things simple, or flared them out with as many toppings as you like (as pictured). This was a late summer version, but I imagine an autumn version with roasted delicata squash, or baked mushrooms, or herb jam would be great later in the year. Or do a homemade labneh in place of the yogurt.

quinoa power bowl topped with tomatoes, yogurt, onions

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Quinoa Power Bowl

4.75 from 4 votes

This is great at room temperature, or reheated. To transport to work (or picnic) bring the mung beans, quinoa, and celery in a large jar, and any other toppings in small jars. It's quick to combine when you're ready for lunch. 

  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
  • 1 head celery, cut into ½ inch segments
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • a big handful of dill, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups cooked mung beans
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups water, or as much as needed
  • Topping ideas: lots of chopped green olives, lots roasted cherry tomatoes, quick pickled red onions, big dollops of salted dill yogurt, thick threads of olive oil
  1. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat, stir in the celery along with a few large pinches of salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the celery softens, and then starts to brown and caramelize.
  2. Stir in the garlic, and cook for another minute. Stir in the chile flakes, ginger, turmeric, and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or until the spices are fragrant. Stir in the dill, the mung beans, the quinoa, and then 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup of water, enough that the mixture is moist, not dry.

  3. For serving, the toppings are key. At the very least add a dollop of lightly salted yogurt to each bowl. Even better if you have any or all of the following on hand - green olives, salted dill yogurt, roasted cherry tomatoes, quick pickled red onions or shallots.

Serves about 4.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
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This looks amazing! As an amateur food-freezer, I am curious to know why it is important to allow beans/grains to cool completely before freezing, as you noted?


Just made this for dinner, since I had a head of celery in the fridge. It was delicious! I swapped out the mung beans for a tin of brown lentils and left out the quinoa, plus used parsley instead of dill. It only took a splash of water to deglaze the pan and I popped the lid on at the end to let things steam through a bit. What a great way to use celery!


Wow, this looks really good, it’s like a taste bomb, hehe. I hope I’ll like the combo.
@Shira – I freeze beans all the time and yes, the consistency changes a bit, but it’s not a big deal. I would advise you to defrost them on a room temperature – don’t use hot water or anything like this, it will make the beans mushy.


I’d love to try this. I have never used mung beans before. Do you recommend a particular brand? Thanks so much. Lovely!

HS: Hi Linda – I typically just seek out organic mung beans in the bulk section.


After so many years of considering celery a throwaway vegetable, I’m just starting to eat things that are changing my mind. I’m going to have to try this and continue my celery education.


This looks beautiful and delicious. Can you tell us more about freezing grains and beans? I think that is really great advice for helping to bring a more balanced nutritious diet during the week. I’m wondering, does the consistency of the foods change when defrosted? Do you freeze beans in their cooking liquid?

HS: Hi Shira, I typically drain off most of their cooking liquid if I am going to freeze them.


I made almost the same thing for dinner last night. Started with the mung beans and quinoa and added Indian spices and coconut milk – delicious! You’re such an inspiration!


Sometimes impromptu meals are the best meals! I love throwing things together that I have in my fridge and watching it transform into something delicious.

Sarah | Well and Full

Love it! Where in the supermarket can I find mung beans?


Yum!! This seems like the perfect fall lunch! I’ve been meh on quinoa for the past year but have suddenly found myself craving it again recently. Definitely want to try this!


This is the sort of lunch bowl I most enjoy too and most frequently make from various leftovers and weekend batch cooking. But I especially love your topping combination of dill yogurt, quick pickles and green olives. Heaven in a bowl, definitely remembering this combo! Excited for my Quitokeeto order, too!! 😉

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

Off to see the full recipe after I leave a comment. Love the roasted cherry tomatoes and the celery in here. I’m always shocked when people say they hate celery!!!! How is that even possible? You nailed it, it just bring a depth of flavor with fewer calories. I love the nutrient dense grains as well, I’m trying to be better about eating those, especially for lunches and have even learn to spring (or is it sprung…..yikes!) my own mung beans. Awesome recipe!

Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

Ooh, this is awesome! I love how you gave humble little ol’ celery a chance to star in this dish. Will definitely be trying the technique. Thanks for sharing 😀


This looks delicious. I love quick grain bowls, you can throw in whatever you like and it’s such a filling and healthy meal. I love the roasted tomatoes and pickled onion combination.


That looks sooo good!
I’m of the firm beliefe that everything looks and tastes better when eaten from a bowl, especially if it’s as delectable as this! Mung beans are a new love of mine, and quinoa is a long standing one, so this looks amazing! X

Teffy @ Teffy's Perks

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