These vegetarian sweet potato quinoa tofu bowls with creamy mint cilantro dressing super flavourful and packed with nutrition for a nourishing, high-protein meatless meal.
If you’re looking for a delicious meatless meal to add into the rotation, you’ll love this nourishing sweet potato quinoa bowl with tofu, lentils, kale and hemp seed dressing.
It’s flavourful, high in protein and fiber to keep you full and a great option for meal prep. The cool and creamy mint cilantro hemp seed dressing balances the spicy sweet potato and tofu and the quinoa and lentils add plenty of protein and texture to the bowl.
Enjoy these hearty bowls for a healthy weeknight meal or pack them up for meal prep to enjoy throughout the week.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Super nutritious! This recipe is high in fiber, high in plant-based protein and micronutrients.
- Great for meal prep. These bowls can be made up to 4 days in advance and enjoyed reheated or cold.
- Easy to customize. From the greens to the grain, there are lots of easy ways to personalize these bowls.
- Vegan, gluten-free and nut-free. Great for those with allergies or other dietary restrictions.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.
For the Sweet Potato Tofu Bowls
- Tofu: Use extra-firm tofu.
- Soy Sauce or Tamari: You can use soy sauce or gluten-free tamari.
- Cayenne: If you’re sensitive to spice, you might want to omit or reduce the cayenne pepper.
- Garlic Powder: Use ground garlic powder for the tofu.
- Sweet Potato: The amount of sweet potato doesn’t have to be exact but you want roughly 2 heaping cups or 1 large sweet potato.
- Olive Oil: For roasting the sweet potato and massaging the kale. Avocado oil or canola oil also works.
- Chili Flakes: The sweet potato is roasted in chili flakes and smoked paprika. If you’re sensitive to spice you may want to reduce or omit the chili flakes since we’re already using cayenne on the tofu.
- Smoked Paprika: Adds a smokey flavour to the sweet potato. You can use regular paprika if that’s what you have.
- Kale: Use any variety of kale or substitute arugula, spinach or mixed greens. Kale is best if you’re making these in advance. If you’ll be eating them right away, fresh greens work too (no need to massage greens like spinach, arugula, etc.).
- Lentils: Use green, black or French lentils. You can also use canned lentils if that’s easier.
- Quinoa: Use white, red or tri colour quinoa or swap it for another grain like brown rice or farro.
- Pickled Onion: These are easy to make with red onion, vinegar and sugar.
- Avocado: Optional but a nice addition to the final bowls.
For the Hemp Seed Dressing
- Hemp Seeds: These may be labelled hemp hearts. They’re fairly easy to find in stores or you can order them online.
- Cilantro & Mint: You’ll need fresh cilantro and mint. Other herbs that would work are chives or basil.
- Lime: You’ll need 1-2 whole limes to make the lime juice.
- Olive Oil: This helps emulsify and smooth the dressing. Avocado oil would also work.
Before You Start: This recipe calls for a batch of quick pickled red onions. Those need to sit for about 30 minutes so prep those first if you’re making them. You can find the pickled onion recipe here (it’s really easy). You’ll need red onion, vinegar and sugar.
Step 1: Start cooking the quinoa & lentils.
Start bringing 2 pots of water to a boil to cook the lentils and quinoa. Once they’re boiling, add the quinoa and lentils separately to each, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes (the lentils may need 20). Once they’re cooked, drain off any excess water and set them aside for now.
Quick Tip: If you don’t want to cook lentils, you can substitute canned lentils, chickpeas or black beans. You could also just double the quinoa.
Step 2: Bake the tofu.
Add the cubed tofu to a bowl and toss with the soy sauce, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place the cubes on a baking tray so they all have a little space around them.
Bake the tofu for 20-30 minutes until browned and crispy, flipping once halfway through (I usually skip the flipping to be honest, it still comes out crispy!).
Step 2: Bake the sweet potato.
Add the sweet potato to the same bowl you used for the tofu and toss with the oil, chili flakes, salt and pepper and smoked paprika.
Spread it out on a baking tray and bake along with the tofu for 20-25 minutes.
Step 4: Prepare the dressing.
Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small blender or mini food processor and blend until completely smooth. If it seems a little chunky at first, keep blending until you have a very smooth consistency.
Quick Note: This dressing is delicious but with ingredients like fresh mint, cilantro, lime and hemp seeds, it’s a little more elaborate than some of my other bowl dressings. You’ll find some alternative sauces listed below if you don’t have these ingredients on hand and want to make this recipe.
Step 5: Prepare the kale.
Tear or cut the kale into bite-sized pieces and add it to a mixing bowl. Add 2 tsp olive oil and massage it with your hands until softened.
Step 6: Assemble the bowls and enjoy.
Start with the massaged kale, dividing it between 6 servings. Divide the rest of the ingredients and top with a drizzle of scoop of the dressing.
If you aren’t into the cilantro mint dressing, here are some other delicious options:
- Try this marinated tempeh instead of tofu.
- Make this roasted butternut squash instead of sweet potato.
- Swap the quinoa for rice or farro.
- For convenience, use canned lentils, chickpeas or black beans instead of green lentils.
- If you’ll be storing leftovers or making these for meal prep, store the dressing in a separate container and add to the bowls just before serving and leave the avocado off until serving.
- The bowls without the avocado and dressing will store well for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
- You can reheat them in the microwave (leave dressing & avocado off until you’ve reheated) or eat them cold.
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For the Pickled Red Onion
For the Mint Cilantro Dressing
For the Sweet Potato Tofu Bowls
- Make the Pickled Red Onion: Boil water then pour into a container large enough to fit the red onion along with the vinegar, salt and sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add the red onion, making sure it’s all submerged. You can top it off with extra vinegar if needed. Set aside for 30 minutes to “pickle”.
- Preheat the Oven & Boil Water: Preheat the oven to 400 F and starting bringing two pots of water to a boil on the stovetop.
- Cook the Lentils & Quinoa: Cook according to package instructions or see notes for details.
- Bake the Tofu: Add the tofu, cayenne, garlic powder, soy sauce and a pinch of salt and pepper to a bowl and toss to coat the tofu. Evenly spread out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and crispy.
- Bake the Sweet Potato: Add the sliced sweet potato to the bowl you used for the tofu and add 2 tsp of the olive oil, chili flakes, smoked paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread the sweet potato on a baking tray and bake with the tofu for 20-30 minutes until tender and browned.
- Make the Dressing: Place all ingredients in a small blender and blend until completely smooth. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. The dressing may discolour slightly due to oxidation, this is normal.
- Prepare the Kale: Add the chopped kale to a bowl with the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil and the lemon. Massage with your hands for 1-2 minutes until softened.
- Assemble the Bowls: Divide the kale between 4 bowls or containers. Top each with 1/4 cup cooked lentils and 1/4 cup quinoa. Divide the sweet potato and tofu between the bowls. Add avocado, pickled red onions and top each with dressing (leave avocado and dressing off until serving if you’re making these for meal prep).
You may have a little extra dressing depending on how much you want to add to each bowl. The nutrition facts account for using all of the dressing between 4 servings. You can also increase the lentils and quinoa to 1.5 cups cooked to make 6 bowls then stretch the dressing a bit further.
The pickled red onion may make more than you’ll use for the bowls. Extras can be stored in the fridge for 1 week and used in other recipes, sandwiches, wraps, avocado toast, bowls, salads etc.
To cook quinoa, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes then remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
To cook lentils, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup rinsed lentils and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain. If you don’t want to cook lentils and quinoa, omit the lentils and double the quinoa or use chickpeas, black beans or canned lentils instead.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 583
- Fat: 34 g
- Carbohydrates: 49 g
- Fiber: 15 g
- Protein: 26 g
Keywords: sweet potato quinoa bowl, sweet potato tofu bowl