This Cuban quinoa bowl is gently flavored and served with smoky grilled sweet potato, plantain & a zippy avocado-mango salsa. Quick to make, and so tasty.
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I know, you've probably read the title of this dish and thought 'how ridiculously long is that?!' I thought the same myself but couldn't really decide on a part to take out to make it shorter. Sure, I could have just said 'Cuban quinoa bowl' but that would have been a bit vague and not really tell you much. Plus, it would miss out all of the good stuff that goes with the quinoa.
And I couldn't pick one of the other bits over the others to highlight. So, you got the lot, but hey, it gives you a fairly good idea what delights I have in store - if I just added 'delicious' and 'quick' then you'd pretty much have the full picture!
In fairness, this is really more Cuban-style than actually Cuban food (try Cuban roast pork, lechon asado for a more authentic flavor), but I was trying to limit words in the title. I know it doesn't show. However there's no limit on how tasty this dish is.
Quinoa is a great, healthy grain to use as a base to add lots of flavors (as in my leftover steak and quinoa bowl). This quinoa bowl is also vegan, gluten free and dairy free. The quinoa is lightly dressed with cumin, lime and orange, with some added onion, garlic and pepper.
The mango and avocado salsa has a punchy fresh lime and cilantro dressing. And the dish is topped off with the tasty smokiness of the grilled sweet potato and plantain. Sweet and savory combine in an all-round delicious dish.
How to make this Cuban quinoa bowl
This dish is really quick to make - the sweet potatoes are largely cooked in the microwave then finished off on the grill, along with the plantain. This is a great cheats way to get some fantastic grilled taste without it taking too long or the sweet potato drying out.
When I first made this, I made the quinoa almost risotto-style with the onion, garlic and pepper cooked first and the quinoa put in and cooked in with the onion base, but it seemed to take most of the good flavor out of the base, so although it means an extra pan, I would suggest instead cooking the onion, garlic and pepper alongside while the quinoa cooks and adding at the end with the citrus dressing to give more of a flavor boost. Finally, chop the salsa ingredients, then serve it all up.
This Cuban quinoa bowl is a delicious, healthy, quick and easy meal to make. It might seem like it has lots of 'bits' to it and have a long name, but nothing takes that long and the mix of flavors is so tasty, I wouldn't be without any of it. Make sure you get a nice mix of things on your fork as you eat, combining sweet and savory deliciousness. I hope you'll give it a try and agree.
Try these other vegetarian grilling ideas:
- Grilled nectarine salad
- Israeli couscous with grilled vegetables
- Halloumi burger
- Plus get more vegetarian meals in the archives.
Cuban quinoa bowl with grilled sweet potato and plantain and avocado-mango salsa
- ½ onion or 1 small
- ½ red pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 sweet potatoes or 2 if large
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ cups quinoa 360ml
- 3 cups water 720ml, or light stock
- 1 plantain or 2 if smaller, the ones labelled for frying, the medium-sweet ones
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 ½ lime juice ie 1 ½ limes
- 1 mango large
- 1 avocado
- 2 tablespoon cilantro coriander, chopped
- Dice the onion and pepper relatively small and finely chop the garlic. Warm the grill and heat the water or stock.
- Wash then pierce the sweet potatoes a few times. Wrap the sweet potatoes in kitchen roll and microwave on high for around 2-3minutes, turn over, then another 2-3minutes (time depends on size of potato and microwave power). They should be soft when squeezed once cooked.
- Warm 1tbsp of oil in a small pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion, pepper and garlic until the onion is soft and starting to brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, put the quinoa and water/stock in a pan, bring to the boil and cook until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa has slight 'tails', around 10 minutes.
- While it's cooking, slice the sweet potato fairly thickly, around ½in/1.5cm, with skin on and peel then slice the plantain. Grill both on the barbecue for around 3-5 minutes each side until you have a few blackened marks on all the slices. If you don't have a barbecue, you can also do this on a grill pan.
- Once the quinoa has cooked, add the onion mixture along with the remaining 1tbsp of oil, cumin, orange juice and juice of ½ lime. Mix well.
- Peel and dice the mango and avocado then mix with the juice of a lime and the chopped cilantro.
- Put some of the quinoa in the bottom of four bowls then top with the grilled sweet potato (you can peel before serving if you like, it just holds together better on the grill with skin on), plantain and some salsa.
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Remember to pin for later!
I found it to be less than the sum of its parts. Despite loving all the ingredients in the recipe the flavours just did not seem to come together for me and I struggled to finish it.
Sorry to hear it didn't quite work for you.
This looks amazing Caroline! This will definitely be on my to do list!
Thanks Hadia, hope you enjoy!
great recipe!! our first Cuban/Quinoa meal!
Great, I'm glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for letting me know.
I love Cuban spices and this is a great, light idea.
Thanks, Peter, I agree Cuban spices are so tasty!
I love your Cuban Quinoa Bowl, it looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday, I just pinned this recipe it looks so good! Hope you are having a great week and come back soon!
Thanks, Miz Helen, it's a tasty meal. Hope you also have a great week.
This looks like such a lovely, healthy dish! I have a thing for Cuban food and this healthier version hits all those flavor notes. Great tips, too! What a great addition to Fiesta Friday!
Thanks, I am just getting in to Cuban food and do love the flavors. Happy Fiesta Friday and thanks for co-hosting!
Julie is HostessAtHeart
I just love roasted veggies and can only imagine how delicious this recipe is!
I can totally eat this recipe! I don't think it contains any of my food allergies. It would be great to try when I have my vegetarian friends over because I am a little scarce on full fledged vegetarian meals ideas. I'm much better at side dishes, salads, and even appetizers. Plus, it looks beautiful as well. The long title didn't scare me away, and I find the description helpful. Happy FF, and have a wonderful weekend!
That's great, Kaila, I hope you manage to try it and enjoy it!
Thanks, Sarah, it is really tasty!
Thanks, Faye, we are big fans of sweet potatoes too!
Ashlyn @ Belle of the Kitchen
What a gorgeous meatless meal. I'm loving those grilled sweet potatoes!
Thanks, Ashlyn, they are a big favorite in our house!
Joy @ Joy Love Food
I love quinoa, this sounds so good and I think the name is very fitting and descriptive!
Thanks Joy. Quinoa is great, I am always looking for new ways to eat it!
Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere
Wonderful Weekday Supper! This looks amazing! I have been looking for some new things to throw on the grill, sweet potatoes and plantains just made the list! Do the plantains grill up quickly or more slowly like a potato?
Thanks, Sarah. Sweet potato on the grill like this are a regular in our house now the weather is better again. I asked my grillmaster (aka husband) who cooked the plantain how long they took and he can't remember but I am pretty sure it will be relatively quick, as they don't take long to fry, as I also do sometimes.
I am beyond excited to try this one out. These flavors look like perfection to me.
Thanks, Kristen, I hope you manage to try it and like it!
This looks lovely and healthy 🙂