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Simple Caprese Salad Quinoa Bowl (Healthy Recipe)

This beautiful Quinoa Bowl showcases the vibrant flavors of a classic Caprese salad: ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil, creamy mozzarella, and a delectable balsamic-olive oil drizzle.

You can quickly assemble the bowl for lunch or dinner if you have some cooked quinoa on hand.

Caprese quinoa bowl with red cherry tomatoes, white bocconcini cheese, black olives, basil leaves and quinoa in a bowl with a silver fork on the left.

In today’s fast-paced world, finding a meal that offers convenience and nourishment can be challenging.

Enter quinoa bowls.

They’re not just a trendy food item but a versatile, health-conscious option that can transform how you approach mealtime. Plus, the topping options are endless!

This quinoa bowl, in particular, has everything you love about a classic Caprese salad.

Imagine succulent tomatoes, aromatic basil leaves, rich mozzarella cheese, and an irresistible drizzle of balsamic and olive oil resting on a bed of fluffy quinoa, all piled into a single bowl.

The result is a quinoa bowl that’s not only a feast for the senses but also a nutrient-dense, plant-based powerhouse!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are three reasons to try this recipe:

  • Balanced plant-based meal. Enjoy the best of both worlds: the refreshing flavors of a Caprese salad and the nutrient-rich satisfaction of quinoa, a complete protein source.
  • No-cook convenience. You can assemble this healthy, filling bowl in minutes with cooked quinoa ready in the fridge. It’s perfect for busy weeknights or as a last-minute healthy meal.
  • Gluten-free. This quinoa bowl is ideal for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, as quinoa and Caprese salad ingredients are naturally gluten-free (always double-check the label on packaged ingredients).

Ingredient Notes

The beauty of this quinoa bowl recipe lies in the Caprese salad-inspired toppings. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Cooked quinoa – I used rainbow quinoa, which is a mix of white, red, and black quinoa, but you can use any type you prefer. I like preparing a few servings of quinoa for use throughout the week. You can warm it up, but it also tastes great chilled.
  • Tomatoes – I like using halved cherry tomatoes, but you can use any fleshy variety, such as grape tomatoes or sliced roma or plum tomatoes.
  • Mini bocconcini cheese – “Bocconcini” translates to “tidbits” in Italian. This is the perfect description for these small, bite-sized creamy cheese balls. Feel free to use other small mozzarella cheese ball varieties or cut a larger ball into smaller pieces.
  • Black olives – I know olives are not a traditional Caprese salad ingredient, but I love how the briny, slightly tangy element contrasts the succulent tomatoes and creamy cheese. Don’t skip them! You can also use kalamata olives if you don’t have any black olives on hand.
  • Basil leaves – For me, fresh basil is a non-negotiable. Not only is it a staple ingredient in Caprese salads, but the aromas make this quinoa bowl a restaurant-quality meal. If you don’t have fresh basil, substitute dried basil or oregano.
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar – You’ll need good olive oil and high-quality aged balsamic vinegar to drizzle.
  • Salt – To taste (optional).

How to Make a Quinoa Bowl

Here’s how to assemble your caprese quinoa salad bowl:

  1. Add quinoa: Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl.
  2. Layer the toppings: Add the cherry tomatoes, cheese, olives, and a few basil leaves.
  3. Add dressing: Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top.
  4. Serve: Season with salt if desired, and enjoy!

Step-by-step photos on how to assemble the Caprese quinoa bowl.

Recipe Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the best quinoa bowl:

  • Use the freshest Caprese salad ingredients you find. Select ripe, fresh tomatoes, fragrant basil, and high-quality mozzarella for the best flavor.
  • Let the quinoa cool to room temperature before assembling the bowl to avoid wilting the fresh ingredients.
  • Meal prep quinoa. I cook 1 cup of quinoa (about 3.5 cups cooked) for the week. Quinoa also freezes well; if you cook too much, just pop it in the freezer.
  • Prepare the remaining bowl ingredients and keep them stored separately in the fridge to assemble just before serving for a quick meal option.
  • This recipe is one serving, but it’s easy to scale up for a larger gathering or meal prep. Just multiply the ingredient amounts by the number of bowls you need to make.


Here are a few ideas on how to customize this recipe:

  • Dairy-free – For this recipe, you can buy dairy-free soft mozzarella or even make it yourself. I found this Vegan Mozzarella Cheese recipe. It looks like it will work well in these bowls.
  • Add protein – To boost the protein content, consider adding grilled chicken or shrimp. You can also add tofu, black beans, or chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) if you prefer plant-based protein sources.
  • Customize veggies – Feel free to add other veggies like red bell pepper, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, or red onion for extra crunch and flavor. You can even grill the veggies before adding them for a rich, smoky dimension.
  • Add crunch – Sprinkle some toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or crispy chickpeas on top for a contrasting crunch.
  • Other additions – You can also add some leafy greens such as spinach or kale and finish the dish with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.

Caprese quinoa bowl with a silver fork on the left.


This Caprese salad quinoa bowl is best enjoyed immediately to savor the freshness of the ingredients. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to rinse quinoa before cooking it?

Yes, it’s a good practice to rinse quinoa thoroughly under cold running water before cooking to remove the natural bitter-tasting compounds called saponins.

Rinsing also helps improve the texture and taste of the cooked quinoa, making it lighter and fluffier.

What is a good substitution for quinoa in salad bowls?

Depending on your dietary preferences, feel free to pile the Caprese salad components on a bed of couscous, bulgur, farro, or even rice.

Do you eat this quinoa bowl hot or cold?

Many quinoa bowl recipes can be enjoyed both hot and cold. However, this Caprese salad bowl is best enjoyed cold, as warming may wilt the fresh ingredients and cause them to release moisture into your bowl.

More Quinoa Recipes

If you have some leftover quinoa, try these easy recipes:

Simple Caprese Salad Quinoa Bowl

Simple Caprese Salad Quinoa Bowl

Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

All the flavors of the Caprese salad in a filling quinoa bowl. You only need cooked quinoa and a few other ingredients to make lunch or dinner in just a couple of minutes.


  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup mini bocconcini cheese (small mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup sundried black olives in oil
  • 5-6 basil leaves (chop if the leaves are big)
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp (or to taste) good quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste (optional)


  1. Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes, mini bocconcini cheese, black olives, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt if desired.


1. The recipe is for one serving. Just multiply the ingredients to make more.

Nutrition Information
Yield 1 portion Serving Size full recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 433.7Total Fat 22.9gSaturated Fat 7.8gTrans Fat 0.3gUnsaturated Fat 14.8gCholesterol 35mgSodium 312.3mgCarbohydrates 38.5gFiber 6.3gSugar 6.1gProtein 18.4g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

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