We’ve been having some beautiful weather here in Portland. 

Gorgeous weather is typical for this time of year. For a couple of short weeks between the winter rains and spring showers there is February, aka February Fakeout. Because even though we know what is coming – several months of grey skies and lots of rain – the 60 degree weather and bright springtime sun of February gets us believing that Spring is here and here to stay. 

People are emerging from their winter cocoons, walking around the streets in short sleeve shirts and cutoff shorts, smiling and saying “hi” to one another. Bars and restaurants open up their sidewalk seating for one big month-long happy hour. Parks are crowded with people playing soccer and children running around playgrounds, and for this brief moment in time life is extraordinarily beautiful. 


Then comes March. The sun disappears, the clouds start rolling back in, and the rain starts up again. We find our ways back into our homes or layer ourselves in expensive rain gear (unless you’re a true Oregonian, we don’t own rain gear) and hang our heads for another couple of months of rain. February is a confusing time of year. I feel that it is spring, but I know that it is still winter. My body starts to crave the fresh vegetables that aren’t in season, and yet, I still want the hearty comfort food that comes with these shorter days and cooler weather. 

For that reason, we’ve been doing a lot of these quinoa bowls. 


It all started with the sauce.

A few months ago I was introduced to Yumm! Sauce. Made famous by Cafe Yumm!, this sauce was so mind-blowing good that they started packaging it and selling it in local grocery stores. While I have seen and heard about this sauce for years now, it wasn’t until recently that I finally tried it myself. My introduction to Yumm! Sauce was as salad dressing. Friends of ours had brought it over for dinner and graciously left it behind. By the next day I was cleaning out the jar with carrot sticks, trying to get every last lick. I was hooked. Since then I have tried it on everything – it’s the sriracha obsession of 2015 – but my favorite way to eat it is over rice or quinoa mixed in with some fresh, seasonal vegetables.  

Last weekend I realized I would save a lot of money if I started making my own version of Yumm! Sauce at home. This recipe isn’t meant to exactly replicate Yumm! Sauce – I made some significant changes in the ingredients based on what I had lying around my kitchen. The result is a slightly lighter, smoother version of the sauce and equally delicious. 



This recipe is as versatile as the sauce and I’ve never had the bowl the same way twice. Switch it up with your favorite beans, vegetables, and grains for a delicious way to celebrate that not-quite winter, not-quite-spring time of year. 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Hearty Quinoa Bowls with Cheesy Garlic Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes: 4 servings
  • You will need

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • ½ bunch fresh kale, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • Cabbage/Carrot Salad (recipes follows)
  • Cheesy Garlic Sauce (recipes follows)

  • Cabbage/Carrot Salad
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
  • ¼ cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

  • Cheesy Garlic Sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked 2-4 hours
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • salt, to taste

  • Extras
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  1. Thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Transfer it to a medium-size pot with 2 cups of water and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for 35-45 minutes until all the water has evaporated and the quinoa is light and fluffy.
  2. While quinoa is cooking prepare the rest of the vegetables. Preheat oven to 350F. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt, to taste. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes, flipping occasionally.
  3. Combine the ingredients for the Cabbage/Carrot Salad and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Drain and rinse the cashews. Place in a high-powered blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients for the Cheesy Garlic Sauce and puree until completely smooth.
  5. Steam the kale with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and salt to taste until it just begins to wilt. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. To assemble the bowls, place a ½ cup of cooked quinoa at the bottom of each bowl. Top with sweet potatoes, cabbage, chickpeas, avocado, and kale. Top with cheesy garlic sauce and serve immediately.
You will have plenty of cheesy garlic sauce left over. Use it for vegetable dip, salad dressing, or marinade

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