15-Minute Spinach Pesto Quinoa Bowl

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Note from Julie: The photographs for this 15-minute spinach pesto quinoa bowl have been refreshed. The original recipe from 2014 is the same; just the photos have been given a facelift!

    One of my favorite things about summer is the abundant amount of basil that is just flourishing in the garden.

    I do also enjoy that basil is relatively easy to find year-round so I can have pesto when the craving hits.

    I’m also pretty sure we all know by now my affinity for all things pesto, considering I’m raving about pesto above.

    You can really never have enough pesto recipes so why not just another one at you.

    This time, it only takes 15 minutes to make!

    Yes, super super easy and so filling!

    Don’t you love quick dinner ideas?

    This 15-minute spinach pesto quinoa bowl brought to you by…me! ‘

    This came together because I literally did not feel like cooking one night but we needed something to eat and I’m not a fan of going out to eat when we already have food at home.

    Let’s break this down; why is this such a great recipe?

    Quinoa cooks incredibly fast;

    Spinach wilts down and cooks incredibly fast;

    And well, if you already have pesto on hand, you just gotta throw it in, mix everything around, shave some beautiful parm on top and seriously – quick dinner in 15 minutes.

    I got you ;)

    Can you add a protein to this?

    Yes! We’ve added in shredded chicken before or cubed chicken.

    Shrimp would be great in this too.

    Can you make your own pesto?


    In fact, I have a few recipes for homemade pesto if you are interested.

    They all would work in this recipe:

    If you wanted to make traditional basil pesto, use the arugula pesto recipe and sub out the arugula and sub in basil!

    What type of quinoa should I use?

    You can use a mix of regular white quinoa and red quinoa or whatever quinoa you want.

    Can I make this with rice if I don’t like quinoa?


    Farro and other grains would be a good option to sub in here too.

    Other quinoa recipes you may enjoy:

    You'll have dinner on the table in no time with this 15-minute spinach pesto quinoa bowl! Recipe on tablefortwoblog.com
    5 from 5 votes

    Spinach Pesto Quinoa Bowl

    You'll have dinner on the table in no time with this 15-minute spinach pesto quinoa bowl! 
    Prep Time: 5 mins
    Cook Time: 10 mins
    Total Time: 15 mins
    Course: Main Entree
    Cuisine: American
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 4
    Calories: 470kcal
    Author: Julie Chiou
    5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify MealtimeSign up here for all the secrets!


    • 2 cups multi-colored quinoa, uncooked
    • 6 cups baby spinach
    • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for topping


    • Cook quinoa according to the instructions on the box or bag. (Instead of water, I used chicken stock for more flavor but if you want to keep this a vegetarian dish, go with water or vegetable stock.)
    • Once quinoa is done cooking, turn heat to medium then add spinach, pesto, salt, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and heat until spinach has wilted, pesto is evenly distributed, and Parmesan cheese has melted.
    • Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese, if desired.


    Nutrition Facts
    Spinach Pesto Quinoa Bowl
    Amount Per Serving (0.25 of recipe)
    Calories 470 Calories from Fat 162
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 18g28%
    Carbohydrates 64g21%
    Fiber 8g32%
    Protein 22g44%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. 

    Photographs by Erin Alvarez

    Julie Wampler of Table for Two
    Meet The Author: Julie Chiou
    Dinner for Two Cookbook
    Order My Cookbook!

    Dinner for Two

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating


  • Kellie says:

    So, 2 cups of uncooked quinoa will turn into 4 cups of cooked quinoa. Therefore, the recipe would serve 8 1/2 cup servings, not 4. I used 2 cups of cooked quinoa with the rest of the ingredients and it was good. Also added cooked asparagus and some lemon juice..

    • Chris says:

      It’s a main dish, not a ½ cup side.

  • Christine says:

    Hi this looks awesome! What recipe do you recommend for the pesto recipe (to make the actual pesto for this recipe)

  • Megan says:

    quinoa, spinach, pesto – all my favorites together in the same dish, of course. Thanks for tonight’dinner!.

  • Vicky says:

    Excellent recipe! Very easy to prepare. Made no changes, tasted amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  • Macie says:

    Can you heat this up as left overs? Would it still be good? I was thinking of doing this like a night before and taking it for lunch a couple days.

    • Julie says:

      Yes, we make this all the time and heat it up for leftovers! Enjoy!

  • Tally erp 9 says:

    This sounds yummy! Will have to try it. Thanks for sharing

  • Kristina says:

    Can’t wait to make this!!

  • Jenny hathaway says:

    Looks delicious, would you happen to have the nutritional info for the recipe?

  • mamie says:

    This was great! I used yakina greens in place of the spinach, so I sauteed them in olive oil before tossing with the rest of the ingredients. Quick and easy side for roasted chicken.

    • Julie says:

      Sounds perfect!

  • Lori Q says:

    I make this and reheat the leftovers for breakfast with an egg or two on top. My new favorite breakfast!

    • Julie says:

      Oh, I love that idea!!

  • Melanie Munoz says:

    mmm so perfect! I added chicken I cooked on a pan with a couple different seasonings. turned out great :)

  • Jenny says:

    Can u use frozen spinach?

    • Julie says:

      Yes, just make sure you drain it well.

  • Aleta says:

    I just made it but added a little garlic and served with basil pesto chicken. It’s really good.

  • Levina says:


  • Paula says:

    This was today’s lunch. Yummmm!!

  • Angela Severtson says:

    This dish is soooooooo satisfying. I halved the recipe as my husband does not like quinoa, and it came out amazing. Will definitely continue to make!

  • Maureen says:

    This sounds perfect for the mother/daughter weekend we have planned! I’ll let you know if it was as big a hit as I anticipate.

  • Dawn says:

    Just had this for dinner. I prepared it as you listed, using vegetable broth in place of water for the quinoa and used Tastefully Simple’s pesto. It was quick, easy and the family loved it!

  • Katie D says:

    Any recommendations for replacing the cheese? I have vegan pesto and would like to keep the dish dairy free.

    • Julie says:

      I’m not familiar with vegan cooking or dairy-free substitutions for cheese. Vegan butter?

  • Violette says:

    Can I give this 10 stars? No joke, this is my current go-to meal. So ridiculously easy to make and tastes just as good three days later. I make a big batch on Sunday and bring leftovers for lunch a couple of days that week. Thanks Julie!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Haha too funny! Thank you for the feedback!!

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks so much for the great recipe! It’s so easy and so delicious. I make it once a week. I like to sautée mushrooms while the quinoa is cooking and add them at the end.

  • Susanne says:

    Can you cook this in an instant pot on rice setting?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      You probably could, but I haven’t tried it that way so I’m not positive how it’d work

  • SANDRA says:

    Hi, I just made these and they are very good! I’ll defiantly be making them again!

  • Heather says:

    We made it with freekeh instead of quinoa and loved it!

  • Jackie says:

    This is so tasty! I used vegetable broth and added some sauteed vegetables (an onion and a bunch of asparagus) with the cheese and pesto at the end. There wasn’t any parmesan available so I used what was either gouda or edam. Thank you for sharing this – I will make it again!

  • Molly says:

    I’d like to make this for a breastfeeding mama and her hubby because these are flavours they’d enjoy (and not have an adverse effect on the taste of her milk) but wonder how well it would work if I were to make a batch and freeze half for them? I’ll be subbing some home-grown organic kale for the spinach and maybe also adding some other protein like chicken, garbanzos or edamame to bulk up the protein for them both. I don’t have much experience with quinoa since my family doesn’t care for the taste of it. Your recipe looks so simple and perfect!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      i haven’t tried freezing quinoa myself but i honestly can’t see it doing poorly. i know pesto freezes extremely well so i would totally give it a shot! yes, those protein options you mentioned sound like great additions!

  • 5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify Mealtime