Fresh spring protein bowls


Days are getting longer, snow is melting and some of us may have seen our first robin. Spring is here!

This spring season indulge in a healthy, balanced and delicious protein bowl. Fresh protein bowls are not only a highly versatile and satisfying meal but are packed with grains, vegetables and topped off with a tasty dressing which makes for one colourful meal. One of the best things about protein bowls is they can be made as a batch to be enjoyed all week long.

We’ve rounded up some easy-to-make and nutritious protein bowl recipes to enjoy all season long.

Vegan burrito bowl with creamy cilantro sauce

This vegan burrito bowl will be a great addition to a lunch for work or school or even a quick weeknight meal. Top off with the flavourful creamy cilantro sauce and enjoy! 

Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 cup brown rice (or any whole grain)
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • 1/2  tsp cumin
  • 1/2  tsp chili powder
  • 1/2  tsp granulated garlic


  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 cups lettuce, arugula or spinach

Creamy vegan cilantro sauce

  • 12 oz tofu
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (1 large lime)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 slices jalapeno (optional)


  • Add the rice to a pot with the recommended amount of water. Add spices, salt and beans. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer until rice is cooked and water is evaporated, about 45 minutes. While rice is cooking, prep vegetables.
  • Make the creamy cilantro sauce. Place tofu, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper and jalapeno (optional) into a food processor and process until very smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.
  • This will make 1 ½ cups. Tip: Use the leftovers as dip for veggies, or a flavorful spread.
  • When rice is done, assemble bowls. Place a bed of lettuce in a bowl, top with bean rice mix and arrange veggies over top. Spoon or drizzle creamy cilantro sauce over top.

Teriyaki salmon bowl

This teriyaki protein bowl includes one of our favourite good-mood foods: salmon! A tasty and healthy combination of vegetables, quinoa, salmon with homemade teriyaki sauce.

Yields: 4 servings


  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 4 (4-oz) pieces salmon, skin removed 
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, additional for serving
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 oz mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen, thawed and patted dry (Try: Chopped carrots, red bell pepper, and kale)
  • 4 green onions sliced, white and green parts divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) shelled edamame


  • Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Set aside for serving.
  • While quinoa cooks, place the salmon in a small, shallow dish so the pieces are nearly touching but do not overlap. In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Pour 2/3 of the mixture over the salmon, reserving the remaining 1/3. Let the salmon marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high. Add the vegetables, white and green parts of the green onions. Sauté until crisp-tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. The timing will vary based upon the vegetables you use. Harder veggies like diced carrots will need longer, while softer vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli will cook more quickly. If you are using frozen vegetables, they should all cook in the same amount of time. Add the edamame and 2 tbsps of the reserved marinade and cook 30 additional seconds. Remove to a plate or bowl and cover to keep warm.
  • With a paper towel, carefully wipe the skillet clean. Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and increase the heat to high. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the salmon and 2 tbsps of the remaining marinade to the skillet (discard the salmon marinade left in the dish). Let cook 2 minutes, then turn the salmon pieces and continue cooking 2 to 3 additional minutes, until the salmon is cooked through. (Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry.)
  • To serve, place the cooked quinoa in individual serving bowls. Top with sautéed veggies, salmon, and reserved dark green onions. If desired, sprinkle with a little of the remaining reserved marinade and additional red pepper flakes.

Sweet potato chickpea buddha bowl

This sweet and savoury bowl is quick and simple to make. As a plant-based bowl, it’s made with four kinds of rich vegetables and ingredients that are packed with fiber and protein.

Yields: 3 servings



  • 2 tbsp olive, melted coconut, or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced in wedges
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, halved
  • 1 bundle broccolini, remove stems, chopped
  • 2 big handfuls kale, remove stems
  • 1/4  tsp each salt and pepper


  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (drained, rinsed, patted dry)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4  tsp chili powder
  • 3/4  tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4  tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/2  tsp oregano (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)

Tahini sauce

  • 1/4  cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2  medium lemon, juiced
  • 2 – 4 tbsp hot water (to thin out the sauce)


  • Preheat oven to 400°F, arrange sweet potatoes and onions on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, making sure the sweet potatoes are well coated and placed skin side down on the sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven flip sweet potatoes and add broccolini. Drizzle broccolini with oil and season with a pinch each salt and pepper.
  • Bake for another 8-10 minutes, then remove from oven and add kale. Drizzle kale with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for another 4-5 minutes then set aside.
  • While vegetables are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with seasonings.
  • Once hot, add 1 tbsp oil and chickpeas and sauté, stirring frequently. Sauté over medium hear for 10 minutes. Once the chickpeas are browned and fragrant, remove from heat and set aside.
  • Prepare sauce by adding tahini, maple syrup and lemon juice to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add hot water until a pourable sauce is formed. Set aside.
  • To serve: slice sweet potatoes into bite size pieces. Divide vegetables between three serving bowls and top with chickpeas and tahini sauce.

Which spring protein bowl was your favourite? Take a picture of your meal and tag us on social media @UHNfoundation.

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