This powerhouse of a Mediterranean bowl is loaded with so much vibrant flavor and texture! Plus, it packs well and everything can be prepared ahead so you can assemble it in minutes. A gluten-free, vegetarian–and easy-to-make vegan, quinoa bowl you’ll look forward to all week!

An overhead photo of a mediterranean bowl with quinoa with a fork in it. This is surrounded by a bowl of lemon slices, a bowl of aleppo pepper and another Mediterranean bowl with quinoa.
Photo Credits: Kathrine Irwin

This Mediterranean bowl is the answer to easy, quick, and healthy lunches and dinners–and an antidote to take out temptation! With creamy hummus, tangy feta cheese, briny olives, tart and crunchy marinated artichoke hearts, and fresh cucumber tomato salad, it’s a flavor party in every spoonful. 

You can get fancy and make the hummus and harissa yourself. But I love to keep this quinoa bowl easy with my favorite store-bought goodies and jars. You just have to throw together a 5-minute Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad while the quinoa boils and it’s ready to go! 

Plus, you can make everything ahead and simply assemble in containers for the week. A healthy, packable lunch at the ready in your fridge is my idea of self-care, particularly after a busy holiday season!

Table of Contents
  1. Mediterranean Bowl Ingredients
  2. Swaps and Subs
  3. How to Make this Mediterranean Bowl Recipe
  4. Bitter Quinoa? This is How to Fix it!
  5. Bulgur, Barley, Farro, and Freekeh
  6. What to Serve with Mediterranean Bowls
  7. Protein-Packed Healthy Lunch Bowls 
  8. Mediterranean Bowl with Quinoa, Hummus, and Harissa Recipe
ingredients for mediterranean bowl with quinoa including quinoa, salt, hummus, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon, kalamata olives, green olives, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, parsley, olive oil, Aleppo pepper and sumac.


Mediterranean Bowl Ingredients

Quinoa hails from South America so it’s not native to the Mediterranean diet. But the perfectly nutty, nutrient-rich seed fits right in with Mediterranean flavor-makers like an old friend! This recipe is so adaptable and easy to tweak too. Here’s what I used, but see “Swaps and Subs'' below for more ideas. 

  • Quinoa is a grain-like seed that adds nutty flavor, a pleasantly springy texture, and loads of essential nutrients and protein. 
  • Kosher salt enhances the flavor. 
  • Hummus adds a creamy, garlicky flavor, and is a great source of vegan protein that will keep you full for hours. Make your own or use your favorite store-bought version. 
  • Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad adds freshness, bursting with tart flavor to balance the savory hummus and quinoa. To make it, you’ll need tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, parsley, salt, pepper, sumac, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice. 
  • Feta adds tang and creaminess. Leave it out to make this bowl vegan.
  • Olives: I use a combination of briny Kalamata and buttery Castelvetrano olives, but you can use any olive you like.
  • Marinated artichoke hearts are tart and add good textural variety.
  • Extra virgin olive oil adds richness. Use a high-quality extra virgin variety–I especially love a full-bodied, full-flavor oil like our Greek Early Harvest for finishing. 
  • Aleppo pepper is optional but adds a mild kick and subtle brightness. You can read all about it in our What is Aleppo Pepper guide and head to our shop to try it yourself. 
  • Sumac is used both in the salad and as a final garnish to add bright bursts of tartness for balance. You can find sumac in the spice section at most any grocery store, learn about it in our essential guide, and order my favorite from our shop
  • Harissa sauce adds heat and a complex bright, garlicky, mildly smoky flavor. You can make your own, find it in the international aisle, or order my favorite store-bought harissa at our shop. Or you can omit the harissa if you’re not into spice–this bowl is delicious on its own. 
A mediterranean bowl with quinoa with a forks in it surrounded by a cloth napkin, parsley, a bowl of lemon slices, and the mediterranean cucumber tomato salad.


Swaps and Subs

This versatile recipe can be tweaked endlessly to suit what you like and have on hand. I’m always looking for new ideas, so please let me know if you have any favorite swaps in the comments! Here are my go-tos:

An overhead photo of 2 mediterranean bowls with quinoa, one with a fork in it. These are surrounded by a bunch of parsley, and bowls of lemon slices and aleppo pepper.


How to Make this Mediterranean Bowl Recipe

I love this quinoa bowl as a make-ahead dish for weekday lunches. Everything can be prepped in advance so you just need to assemble! Just be sure to store all the components separately. To make it: 

  • Cook the quinoa. Rinse 1 cup of quinoa and add to a large saucepan, along with 1 ¾ cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has doubled in size and absorbed the water. Turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit, covered, for another 10 minutes while you work on other things. Fluff with a fork before using. cooked quinoa in a saucepan with a spoon next to a bowl of salt, a bowl of olive oil and the mediterranean cucumber tomato salad.
  • Make the Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad. While the quinoa cooks, dice 6 Roma tomatoes and 1 large English or hot-house cucumber. Thinly slice ½ a small red onion, and chop the leaves and tender stems of ¾ bunch parsley. Add to a large mixing bowl and toss with a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground sumac, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice.mediterranean cucumber tomato salad in a bowl with a spoon topped with sumac next to a bunch of parsley, and small bowls of olive oil salt, pepper and sumac.
  • Assemble the Mediterranean bowls. Add about ¼ of hummus to the bottom of 6 shallow dinner bowls. Divide the cooked quinoa and the cucumber tomato salad salad on either side of the hummus. Fill the gaps with crumbled feta cheese, pitted Kalamata and Castelvetrano olives, a spoonful of harissa (if using), and marinated artichoke hearts.
  • Finish and serve. Drizzle a little olive oil over the hummus and wherever else you like. And if you like, add a pinch of Aleppo pepper to season. An overhead photo of a mediterranean bowl with quinoa.


Bitter Quinoa? This is How to Fix it!

Like many plants, quinoa has a defense mechanism. These tiny wonder seeds have a coating that contains saponins, bitter-tasting bioactive compounds that occur naturally on quinoa.

In layman's terms, if you've ever eaten quinoa and thought it tasted bitter saponins are to blame. Removing quinoa's bitterness is an easy fix, simply rinse the quinoa under running water while agitating the seeds. A fine mesh strainer works great for this.

Even if your package of quinoa says it's pre-rinsed, go ahead and rinse it anyway. This way you can enjoy all the benefits without the bitterness!

Bulgur, Barley, Farro, and Freekeh

Quinoa is a great option in bowls because it's gluten-free, but if that's not something you have to worry about then take advantage of switching things up with different grains to add a fiber boost to your bowl. Each one provides different textures, flavors, and nutrients. Plus, all can be swapped for Quinoa in this recipe.

  • Bulgur: This ancient grain adds a delightful nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture to any dish. It is not only a versatile ingredient for various culinary creations like soups, salads (tabouli anyone?), and stuffings but bulgur is also packed with fiber, protein, and essential nutrients, making it a wholesome and filling choice.
  • Barley: Known for its subtle nutty taste, barley's versatility shines in dishes like risottos, salads, and soups, as it adds a hearty and satisfying element (even in breakfast recipes like this Burbara recipe). Beyond its culinary appeal, barley is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.
  • Freekeh: With its smoky flavor and hearty texture, freekeh brings a unique and complex profile to dishes. This grain, harvested while still green and roasted, offers a delightful nuttiness and chewiness, making it a wonderful addition to soups, stews, and grain bowls. Nutritionally, Freekeh, is an excellent source of fiber, protein, and vitamins, ensuring a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
  • Farro: With its chewy texture and nutty flavor, farro elevates both sweet and savory dishes alike. Whether used in risotto, salads, grain bowls, or hearty soups, this ancient grain provides a satisfying mouthfeel and a rich, earthy taste. Farro is also a nutritional powerhouse, boasting high levels of fiber, protein, and essential nutrients such as iron and magnesium, promoting heart health and aiding digestion.

What to Serve with Mediterranean Bowls

This quinoa bowl is plenty satisfying all on its own, with the quinoa being a great source of protein. But if you’d like to “beef” it up even more you can add chicken, canned tuna, sardines or smoked salmon. 

To build out a low-carb, high-protein meal plan that you can prepare ahead of time, start with egg muffins for breakfast, like my egg bites inspired by spanakopita or my simple chicken and veggies version. Then enjoy this Mediterranean bowl for lunch and lentil soup for dinner! You can make everything on Sunday night to set yourself up nicely for the week ahead.

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5 from 4 votes

Mediterranean Bowl with Quinoa, Hummus, and Harissa

Suzy Karadsheh
an overhead photo of a mediterranean bowl with quinoa with a fork in it.
This protein-packed quinoa bowl is your answer to healthy, satisfying lunches you'll look forward to all week! You can get fancy with homemade hummus and harissa, or keep things easy with your favorite store bought goodies. You just have to throw together a 5-minute Mediterranean cucumber tomato salad while the quinoa boils and it’s ready to go! Or prep everything ahead and keep in separate jars so you just have to assemble–it's delicious right out of the fridge.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 15 minutes
Total – 25 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 6
Course:
Entree, Lunch

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Cook the quinoa. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa with 1 ¾ cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has doubled in size and absorbed the water. Turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit, covered, for another 10 minutes while you work on other things. Fluff with a fork before using.
  • Assemble the Mediterranean bowls. Using 6 shallow dinner bowls, begin dividing the hummus in the middle (about 2 large spoonfuls per bowl). Divide the quinoa and the salad on either side of the hummus. Fill the gaps with the feta cheese, olives, a spoonful of harissa (if using), and marinated artichoke hearts.
  • Finish and serve. Drizzle a little olive oil over the hummus and wherever else you like. And if you like, sprinkle on Aleppo pepper and/or sumac to season. Enjoy immediately.

Video

Notes

  • Getting ahead: For meal prep, the elements of the bowl can be made ahead and simply assembled in glass containers. It’s best to keep the salad in a separate container unseasoned, then toss it in just before you eat.
  • Here are my go-to swaps and substitutions (and please let us know if you have any favorite swaps in the comments!): 
    • Quinoa: Substitute with other whole grains, like farro, lentils, barley, or freekeh.
    • Hummus: Substitute with another rich Mediterranean dip like baba ganoush or muhammara. Or try a flavored hummus like beet or roasted red pepper
    • Feta: Substitute with marinated feta for added richness, goat cheese, haloumi (you can even fry it for a nice savory crunch), or cotija.
    • Olives: Or substitute with capers, pepperoncini peppers, cornichons, pickled onions, turnips, cucumber, giardiniera, or other pickles you like–anything bright and briney for balance.
    • Marinated artichokes: Substitute with other marinated antipasto, like roasted peppers or marinated mushrooms. 
    • Aleppo pepper: Substitute with any red chili flakes you have, like crushed red pepper or Urfa biber.
    • Sumac: Swap with lemon or lime zest. 
    • Harissa: Substitute with your favorite hot sauce or swap with chermoula for a more herbaceous take.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.
  •  

Nutrition

Calories: 325.7kcalCarbohydrates: 30.2gProtein: 12.1gFat: 18.1gSaturated Fat: 4.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 6.4gCholesterol: 16.8mgSodium: 927.6mgPotassium: 320.9mgFiber: 7.1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 523.9IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 148.2mgIron: 3.3mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Comments

  1. Marcia says:

    5 stars
    I’m new to quinoa and was pleasantly surprised- subbed goat cheese and this was a winner. Watch out LDL! 😁

  2. Carolyn says:

    5 stars
    This was so delicious and satisfying. While I was eating it I was thinking, "no wonder she dances around when she eats this."

  3. Mary says:

    I love this as a lunch to take to work! I make a batch of homemade hummus and use it for lunch and a mediterranean breakfast bowl for breakfast. That way none of my hummus goes to waste!

  4. Stefanie A says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe, especially the cucumber/tomato salad addition. It's super easy to make ahead for lunch for the week. I can easily eat this for the whole week and not get bored. It's also super easy to throw together and I feel satisfied afterwards but not stuffed.