Healthy, bright and tasty Greek Quinoa Bowls with layers of fresh and crisp veggies, feta cheese, nutty and protein packed quinoa and a delicious Romesco sauce!
What is Romesco Sauce?
Glad you asked, it was new to me as well. Originating from Tarragona, Catalonia, this Spanish thick and hearty tomato-based sauce was used by fishermen in this area to be eaten with fish. Oh and it just so happens to be gluten free and vegan.
//This post originally published June 2017, updated January 2020//
This is an ideal meal for weekly meal prep! Portion it out for lunches over the week, keeping your belly full, your mind sharp and your body fueled.
What is Romesco Sauce Made of?
A delicious, robust sauce, made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic then blended with almonds and olive oil. It’s seriously, AHMAZING stuff and can be used in so may ways, hot or cold!
Other Uses for Romesco Sauce
- Try it slathered atop any fish
- Swirl a spoonful into soups, like this Beef Minestrone
- Spread on top of grilled chicken or a tender steak
- Schmear on a sandwich — ooh thick slice of mozzarella, beefy steak tomato slice, some basil and this sauce! WOW!
- Stir into any pasta dish
Romesco Sauce Substitutions
- Sure, home roasted red peppers are the best, but you could substitute a jar of (12 oz) roasted red peppers instead.
- Fresh Roasted Tomatoes are delicious, but hey, I get it! Try using a small can of roasted tomatoes, preferably plum tomatoes.
- Add a dash of cayenne pepper (or if you like it hot, up to ½ a teaspoon)
How Long Does Romesco Sauce Last
Another beautiful part of this sauce is it’s longevity and versatility. Refrigerated it lasts up to 1 week, frozen up to 6 months. Try freezing in small tupperware or an ice cube tray and transferring to a baggie. Perfect to toss into soups, stews and sauces. Or thaw and use for this recipe and others.
How to Make Romesco Sauce
Start with a couple of pretty red peppers and a Roma tomato, I had an extra half from another recipe, so just threw it in, it can’t hurt right? Slice pepper in half, removing seeds. Slice tomato in half.
Preheat oven to broil*, but place pan on middle rack. Put peppers on a cookie sheet cut side down and tomatoes cut side up. Place a couple of cloves of garlic amongst the peppers and tomatoes, drizzle it all with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.
COOKS TIP | Don’t want to turn your oven on? Using a cast iron pan or, foil or a cookie sheet you don’t care much about, use your BBQ to roast the veggies. Heat to about 450° and follow the above instructions, watch them a little closer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until tomatoes are slightly browned, but not charred, about this like. Remove tomatoes and set aside.
Now we’re grilling, or charbroiling…let the peppers and garlic (if not too dark) bake a bit longer, but get them nice and charred, you’ll pull the skin off once they are done.
Remove from the tray and place on a plate or in a plastic baggie for about 10 minutes to separate the skin from the flesh. Cover with plastic wrap and let them “sweat” for a bit.
This recipe has been adapted from Closet Cooking
Once they are cooled, peel away the charred skin from the flesh, remove the papery part of the garlic cloves to reveal the subtle softness of the garlic as well.
Gather your ingredients for the Romesco sauce, spices, roasted peppers, tomatoes, garlic, lemon, almonds and olive oil.
Place them all in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
Whir it up several times, then turn on low and drizzle olive oil and puree well.
Make sure it is nice and smooth, then if making ahead of time, store in airtight container, refrigerating until ready to use.
Beautiful isn’t it!?
ASSEMBLING GREEK QUINOA BOWLS
Cook the quinoa while your Romesco is cooling. I happened to have some leftover vegetable broth, but water is just fine too, season with a little sea salt, if desired.
Chop desired topping ingredients for the Greek Quinoa bowl. I like fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, kalamata olives, avocado, lemon, avocado and personally beets, not very Mediterranean but I love them and they add a wonderful sweetness with a little crunch.
Once your quinoa has cooled (doesn’t have to be cold, but cooled is nice). Place a ½ cup of cooked quinoa in a bowl or on a plate…
Then add each of the toppings desired by the plate or bowl until you have used them up. Or portion them out in storage containers for lunch for the week! BAM! Lunch is done!
Place a nice dollop of Romesco sauce in the middle, a lemon wedge on the side and drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the whole thing…delish!
How to Serve Romesco Sauce Greek Quinoa Bowls
- Serve alone or with fresh pita triangles
- Try substituting goat cheese for feta for a milder taste
- Omit feta cheese for a vegan meal
- Try making some of these easy pickled red onions to place on top
- Make some Naan to take it over the top
- Pair with this crisp and refreshing Cucumber Cooler Cocktail.
If you enjoyed this Greek Quinoa Bowl, give these other fresh recipes a try:
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Greek Quinoa Bowl
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- 2 large red bell peppers cut in half or quarters, seeds removed
- 1 large plum tomato cut in half
- 2-4 cloves garlic in skins
- ¼ cup slivered almonds lightly toasted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ⅛-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Bowls
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked
- 1 ¾ cup water or broth
- 1 avocado sliced or diced
- 1 cup tomato diced (I like grape tomatoes or another plum tomato)
- 1 cup cucumber diced (I like English, wash and keep their skins on)
- 1 cup artichoke hearts in brine or marinated, chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives sliced or chopped
- ¼ cup feta cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped (optional)
- lemons sliced
- Romesco Sauce
- Cut red peppers in half, seed and place the cut red peppers face down on lightly oiled pan and tomatoes cut side up. Toss on 2-4 cloves of garlic in skins. Drizzle a little olive oil over the tops of peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top.
- Broil (move rack to middle of oven) for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes start to look a bit shriveled and dry, lightly brown. Remove to a plate and return peppers and garlic to oven, broil for a few more minutes until peppers are nice and charred. Once charred, remove from oven and place on a plate with tomatoes and garlic and cover with plastic wrap, let sit to cool for about 10 minutes. Peel back charred skins on peppers and paper skins on garlic.
- Place peppers, garlic and tomatoes into food processor bowl (or a blender), pulse until blended. Add toasted almonds, lemon juice, spices and pulse. Drizzle in olive oil while pulsing and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, refrigerate until ready.
- While peppers are roasting, start quinoa. Bring water or broth to boil; add quinoa, return to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and the little "tails" come out of the quinoa.
- To Assemble the bowls
- ¼ cup cooked quinoa, per bowl or plate
- Place desired amount of chopped veggies on top of quinoa, add crumbled feta cheese, if desired, add some shredded or chopped beets, spoon a few tablespoons of Romesco sauce in the middle and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Squeeze a lemon slice if desired.
- Fire up your grill and roast your peppers, tomatoes and garlic on the grill using foil, a cast iron pan, griddle or an old cookie sheet. Watch closely, remove and follow steps for removing skins above.
- May replace peppers with 1 (12 oz jar) roasted red peppers
- Tomatoes may be replaced with 2-3 whole canned plum tomatoes.
- Omit feta cheese for vegan meal.