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15-Minute Spinach Pesto Quinoa Bowl


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

Spinach Pesto Quinoa Bowl

You'll have dinner on the table in no time with this 15-minute spinach pesto quinoa bowl! 
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4
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  • 2 cups multi-colored quinoa, uncooked
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ 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.


Serving: 0.25 of recipe | Calories: 470 kcal | Carbohydrates: 64 g | Protein: 22 g | Fat: 18 g | Fiber: 8 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Entree
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pesto, quinoa, spinach

Photographs by Erin Alvarez

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Recipe Rating


Thursday 30th of July 2020

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

Monday 3rd of August 2020

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!


Sunday 12th of July 2020

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!


Saturday 4th of January 2020

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


Monday 18th of November 2019

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


Sunday 27th of October 2019

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

Julie Wampler

Tuesday 29th of October 2019

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