Chimichurri bowls are a balanced, nutrient-dense, sensational vegetarian meal that I simply cannot get enough of. The bowls begin with a bed of high-protein quinoa and are studded with crispy chickpeas, roasted cauliflower, and big hunks of fried feta. Everything is laced with a gorgeous arugula chimichurri and finished with pickled red onions and chipotle almonds. This is what I mean when I say nutritious AND delicious. 💯🤤

bowl with quinoa, cauliflower, chickpeas, pickled red onion, arugula, radish and fried feta

The recipe story:

I hope y’all aren’t mad we’re making fried feta again. Or that it’s another bowl recipe. #sorrynotsorry Some recipes I have to think about for quite a while, test multiple times, etc. Other recipes are simply a no-brainer. Something I know will turn out delicious. This recipe is in the latter category.

A hearty ‘nourish bowl’ is exactly what I crave during these annoying months of January through March. These chimichurri bowls are hearty but light, full of flavor and wildly nutrient-dense.

They are satisfying enough to be an easy weeknight meal (my husband loves these bowls!) but also a great meal to prep for lunches throughout the week. I currently have leftovers in the fridge and I’m wicked excited for lunch.

This recipe requires a handful of fresh ingredients, some pantry staples that I bet you already have, and about 30-40 minutes. Let’s chat about how to make it!

What you will need to make chimichurri bowls:

ingredients needed for the recipe

Cauliflower: grab a bag of pre-cut cauliflower florets for an easy shortcut!

Chickpeas: also called garbanzo beans, you can find these at any grocery store in the bean/rice aisle.

Cooking oil: this recipe calls for both extra virgin olive oil (for roasting the veggies and in the chimichurri) and avocado oil (for frying the feta).

Spices: salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin all give a lovely flavor boost to the chickpeas and cauliflower.

Chimichurri: the chimichurri is the real star of the show here. It combines arugula, garlic cloves, pickled jalapeños, fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar and olive oil for an epic sauce with so much flavor.

Feta: for this recipe you will need a block of feta, not the pre-crumbled kind. I like to buy mine at Costco because it’s a great price but you can find block feta at most regular grocery stores.

Cornstarch: the cornstarch lightly coats the feta pieces simply to ensure they don’t melt into a mess in your pan. You can also use arrowroot starch.

Quinoa: quinoa is a fabulous source of plant-based protein, fiber and B vitamins. As a shortcut you could buy the pre-cooked quinoa packets.

Toppings: arugula, pickled red onion, chopped almonds and thinly sliced radishes are all yummy (but optional) finishing touches! Feel free to use some creative liberty and use what you have on hand!

How to make:

food processor bowl with arugula, parsley, garlic, pickled jalapeno, salt and pepper

Arugula chimichurri: Blend together the chimichurri sauce in a food processor. This chimichurri is slightly different than traditional chimichurri sauce because it features arugula and pickled jalapenos, so good!

sheet pan with garbanzo beans and cauliflower

Cauliflower and chickpeas: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and add cauliflower florets and chickpeas. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle of salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin. Use your hands to toss and make sure everything is evenly coated. Roast for 25 minutes. During the last 2-3 minutes of cook time switch the oven to broil to get just that extra bit of browning and crispiness. Remove from oven and drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of chimichurri on the cauliflower and chickpeas, tossing to coat.

side by side images of cauliflower and chickpeas being tossed with chimichurri

Fried feta: Slice a block of feta into ¼-inch planks. Then slice the planks in half so you have square planks of feta that are about 1 ½ inch x 1 ½ inch. (reference the recipe video to see exactly how to do this!) Place cornstarch in a shallow dish or medium bowl and coat each piece of feta in cornstarch, tapping off the excess. If you have time, place the feta in the freezer for 10-30 minutes before frying.

In a large ceramic-coated nonstick skillet heat a big swish of avocado oil over medium high heat. I cannot emphasize this enough, the oil must be HOT before adding the feta. When the oil is hot, add the feta pieces in a single layer and take care not to crowd the pan. The trick here is to get a good, quick sear on the feta before it melts. Fry the feta for 90-120 seconds per side until golden brown, immediately remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

sheet pan with roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and chimichurri

Bowls: while the roasted veggies are cooking, make the quinoa. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and then add it to the boiling water. Cook for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain the quinoa (in that same sieve) and add it back to the pot. The hot pot will help evaporate any steam or moisture left in the quinoa making it perfectly fluffy.

bowl of cooked quinoa

Assemble your own bowl by tossing a portion of quinoa and arugula with a spoonful of chimichurri. Top with chimichurri chickpea cauliflower mixture, pickled red onions, thinly sliced radish, fried feta and chopped almonds. Spoon on a little more chimichurri because FLAVOR BAYBAY and dive headfirst into this bowl of goodness.

assembled recipe with roasted veggies, pickled red onion, radish, fried feta

Variation ideas:

There are lots of fun ways to add a little variety to this recipe, here are a few!

  • Instead of quinoa, try brown rice, white rice, farro or any other grain of choice.
  • Add in or swap veggies. Try sweet bell peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts or zucchini.
  • This meal is an amazing vegetarian entrée but you can always pair it with fish, chicken or meat for more protein!
chimichurri bowls with fried feta, roasted garbanzo beans, arugula, quinoa and pickled red onion

FAQs:

Is this gluten-free?

As written, yes, these chimichurri bowls are gluten-free.

How could I make this vegan?

Omit the cheese.

I don’t like feta is there another cheese I could use?

Halloumi is another sturdy cheese that grills or fries up beautifully. You do not need to use cornstarch if you use halloumi.

Can I prep this ahead of time?

There are a couple of options.
Option one: You can fully meal prep and assemble the chimichurri bowls and store the leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge up to four days. I recommend waiting to add the fresh arugula until right before serving.
Option two: complete prep steps like chopping the veggies, draining the chickpeas, cooking the quinoa and making the chimichurri ahead of time. Then, you can easily roast up the cauliflower, fry the feta and assemble the bowls when it’s dinner time.

close-up view of cauliflower, blog of chimichurri, garbanzo beans, sliced radish and square of fried feta

If you love these chimichurri bowls you love these other easy dinner ideas:

Watch how to make:

If you make this recipe please don’t forget to drop me a comment and star rating and snap a photo to share with me on Instagram! It makes my day to hear from y’all!

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bowl with quinoa, cauliflower, chickpeas, pickled red onion, arugula, radish and fried feta

Chimichurri Bowls with roasted cauliflower and chickpeas

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Erica
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Roast + Fry
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Chimichurri bowls featuring herbaceous arugula chimichurri, roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, fluffy quinoa and fried feta. YUM.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Cauliflower and chickpeas

  • 1 lb cauliflower florets (or 1 small head), cut into uniform florets
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and cumin
  • 1/2 cup arugula chimichurri, divided

Fried feta

  • 6oz block feta, sliced into planks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Avocado oil or olive oil, for frying

Bowls

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickled red onions
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds, chopped (I used chipotle almonds)

Instructions

Cauliflower and chickpeas: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and add cauliflower florets and chickpeas to the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and seasonings and use your hands to toss and make sure everything is evenly coated. Roast for 25 minutes. During the last 2-3 minutes of cook time switch the oven to broil to get just that extra bit of browning and crispiness. Remove from oven and drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of chimichurri on the cauliflower and chickpeas, tossing to coat.

Fried feta: Slice a block of feta into ¼-inch planks. Then slice the planks in half so you have square pieces of feta that are about 1 ½ inch x 1 ½ inch. (see video for a visual reference if needed!) Place cornstarch in a shallow dish or plate and coat each piece of feta in cornstarch, tapping off the excess. If you have time, place the feta in the freezer for 10-30 minutes before frying.

In a large ceramic-coated nonstick skillet heat a big swish of avocado oil over medium high heat. I cannot emphasize this enough, the oil must be HOT before adding the feta. When the oil is hot, add the feta pieces in an even layer and take care not to crowd the pan. The trick here is to get a good, quick sear on the feta before it melts. Fry the feta for 90-120 seconds per side until golden brown, immediately remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Bowls: while the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasting, make the quinoa. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and then add it to the boiling water. Cook for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain the quinoa (in that same sieve) and add it back to the pot. The hot pot will help evaporate any steam or moisture left in the quinoa making it perfectly fluffy.

Assemble your bowls by tossing a portion of quinoa and arugula with a spoonful of chimichurri. Top with chimichurri chickpea cauliflower mixture, pickled red onions, thinly sliced radish, fried feta and chopped almonds. Spoon on a little more chimichurri because FLAVOR BAYBAY and dive headfirst into this bowl of goodness.


Notes

Have leftover chimichurri? Whip up this chimichurri mayo!

Refer to above blog post for ingredient substitution ideas and answers to frequently asked questions.

Nutrition information is an estimate and may vary slightly.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 643
  • Sugar: 7.1 g
  • Sodium: 1091 mg
  • Fat: 34.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 62.6 g
  • Fiber: 12.7 g
  • Protein: 25.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 37.9 mg

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