Cumin-Infused Vegetables and Chickpeas over Quinoa

by on August 26, 2013
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Cumin-Infused Vegetables and Chickpeas over Quinoa
One of my family’s stand-by meals is the Vegetable Couscous from Jeanne Lemlin’s Quick Vegetarian Pleasures. I’ve mentioned before that I have a sentimental attachment to this almost one-pot meal because it was one of the first things that my husband D cooked for me when we were dating. But beyond that, it’s quick, it’s hearty, and it’s full of ingredients I love. So it’s not surprising that I turned to it–with a few changes–when I needed a potluck dish for the second time in one weekend.

I’d made my Warm Pasta Salad for a potluck with my book group on Saturday night, so I wanted something different for the Sunday potluck at my church. I thought my old favorite Vegetable Couscous would be perfect with quinoa instead of the couscous. The only problem was, the recipe as written just wouldn’t be enough food for a hungry potluck crowd. If you’re a vegan and you ever attend large, non-vegan potlucks, you know that you need to bring a lot of food or risk not having anything to eat. If you’re not right at the front of the buffet line, you may find that once you reach your dish, all that’s left are a few grains of quinoa and a couple pieces of bell pepper. And if yours was the only vegan dish on the table, you may wind up dining on a few grapes and olives, if you’re lucky.

Cumin-Infused Vegetables and Chickpeas over Quinoa

To be certain my family and I wouldn’t have to rely to grapes and olives, I needed to double the recipe, and I had enough of everything except zucchini. So I rummaged around in my fridge and found the vegetables that would go best in the recipe–cauliflower and eggplant–and added them to the mix. I also updated the seasoning a little by using fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika along with a hint of cardamom. I thought the results were fantastic, and best of all, it made a huge platter of food–which was empty by the end of the meal. Fortunately, our church potlucks have become very vegan-friendly lately, so there were plenty of delicious vegan options this time–vegan gumbo, channa masala, chickpeas and rice, even vegan chocolate chip cookies–as well as grapes! But it never hurts to come prepared with a heaping dish of plant-based food.

This dish is smoky and infused with cumin, with a touch of sweetness from the raisins, but it’s very mild in terms of heat, so I served it with a side dish of sambal oelek, a very hot chile paste, for anyone who wanted to spice it up. If you’re a spice lover, feel free to increase the cayenne pepper in the recipe or do as I did and add liberal amounts of chili sauce, harissa, or sriracha to your own plate.

Cumin-Infused Vegetables and Chickpeas over Quinoa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe feeds a crowd! For a smaller family, click here for the 4-serving version of the recipe.
Serves: 8
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 15-oz. can chick-peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 16-oz can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred), with their juice
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed well
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water, with vegetable bouillon or salt)
  • 2 cloves, garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional, if using water)
  • harissa or hot chile sauce or hot sauce for the table
  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sautรฉ 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the garlic, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cardamom, and cayenne and cook 2 minutes more, stirring often.
  2. Stir in the cauliflower, eggplant, chick-peas, tomatoes, raisins, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and continue to cook covered until it is just beginning to be tender, about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the quinoa. Heat a large saucepan and add the rinsed and drained quinoa. Toast it, stirring constantly, until it is almost dry. Add the vegetable broth or water and bouillon and the garlic, bring to a boil, and stir in the salt if youโ€™re using it. Turn heat to very low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat until needed. Fluff with a fork before serving.
  4. Serve with the vegetable mixture mounded in the center of the quinoa and a jar of harissa or hot chile sauce for individual seasoning.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/8 of recipe Calories: 370 Fat: 3.8g Carbohydrates: 73.7g Sugar: 17.4g Sodium: 731.7mg Fiber: 11.9g Protein: 14g

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Smoky and infused with the sultry flavor of cumin, this hearty vegan main dish is deliciously full of cauliflower, eggplant, and zucchini.




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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 moonwatcher August 26, 2013 at 10:28 am

This looks absolutely fantastic, Susan! I am definitely going to try this, although I will halve the recipe, since I probably won’t be feeding a crowd. But I sure will keep it in mind for the next time I do!!




2 Susan Voisin August 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

I’m glad you like it, moonwatcher! Did you notice the link in the recipe for the 4-serving version? I don’t want you to go to the trouble to halve it when I’ve already done that for you!


3 Jessica August 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

Is the eggplant raw or cooked before you add to the pot?

Have you tried adding Tofu to this dish or will Tofu absorb too much cumin?

Looks wonderful, thank you for posting.


4 Susan Voisin August 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm

In this version I added the eggplant uncooked with the cauliflower, but I’ve also make it by microwaving the cubed eggplant for a few minutes and adding it with the zucchini. Either way works fine. As for tofu, I think you could use it instead of the chickpeas, if you like, and it would be fine. If you want it to be firmer, I suggest using cubes of baked tofu.


5 Jean August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

Looks so good! I’m in bed recovering from ankle surgery and can’t get to my kitchen but when I can cook again, I’m making this! I can smell the spices and veggies now! I had to laugh about the realities of being a vegan at a potluck. So true!


6 Wendy Cromwell August 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm

i bet curry in place of cumin would be awesome as well


7 Sally August 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I had to quit staring at the plate and focus on the food. ๐Ÿ™‚ It all looks great. Been trying to up the quinoa consumption.


8 Mr. Krispy August 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Susan, why do you go to the effort of toasting the Quinoa? Why not just cook it? I’ll be making this recipe tonight.


9 Susan Voisin August 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I toast the quinoa for two reasons. First, rinsing makes the quinoa wet, and if you don’t dry it out first, you risk having mushy quinoa. And after having a bad experience with unrinsed quinoa, I don’t take chances anymore. Second, toasting the quinoa gives it a deeper, nuttier flavor.


10 Lisa August 28, 2013 at 11:49 am

I wonder if toasting the quinoa is why yours looks so fluffy? When I first saw the picture, I thought it was rice! My quinoa never looks that white or fluffy. It still tastes great, but maybe toasting it will make it look as pretty as yours!


11 Vicky August 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

This looks fantastic! Real comfort food!


12 Katie Loss August 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Do you peel your eggplant or use with skin? I love curry and this looks absolutely delicious. When I use a prepared curry powder I use my favorite Hot Yellow Curry Powder from Savory Spice Shop.


13 Susan Voisin August 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I don’t peel it because I like the way the skin looks. Plus, I figure that it’s extra fiber. But if you want to, you can peel it. To me that’s just extra work. ๐Ÿ™‚


14 Christy August 27, 2013 at 8:12 am

Thank you so much for your blog! I have been stealing recipes from it for a couple of months now, and everything I make turns out great. I’m especially impressed by your ability to recreate curries and other spicy meals that I thought I couldn’t make at home. I’ve been a vegan for almost 20 years and I’ve never eaten better, or had more fun cooking! Thanks again!


15 leigh August 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Yum! Just picked some cauliflower from the garden and was looking for a new recipe… heading to the kitchen now to make this. Thanks for sharing.


16 Karen Z August 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I made this for my family tonight substituting broccoli for the eggplant and putting it over couscous. They loved it and asked me to save the recipe. Thanks Susan!


17 Rawmazing August 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Looks delicious. I have all the ingredients! Thanks for dinner tonight!


18 Brittany @WeHeartVegan August 28, 2013 at 11:26 pm

This looks so comforting and satisfying!! Can’t wait to give it a try (:


19 Randi August 31, 2013 at 7:42 pm

This looks delicious! I’ll definitely be trying it.


20 phil2 September 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Just made this and its great…….had to play with spices to get the strong spice taste I like. Thank you for posting this……………Be advised it makes a LOT


21 kellie@foodtoglow September 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Hi Susan. Lovely crowd-pleasing, aromatic recipe. I do something very similar for my cancer nutrition workshops, and it is a HUGE hit so I know anyone trying your recipe will find it is a keeper. Nice autumn-hued ingredients for the eyes and palate.


22 Riya@Sprout'd September 4, 2013 at 1:58 am

I can not wait to devour this dish! I ran out of quinoa; will barley or brown rice compliment this dish?


23 Susan Voisin September 4, 2013 at 6:59 am

Sure, any grain will do. Enjoy!


24 Fernanda September 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Happy Birthday Susan!!!
I just wanted to say that I love your website and I use your recipes everyday!

Thank you!


25 Susan Voisin September 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Thanks so much, Fernanda!


26 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica September 9, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I’m making a variation of this for dinner tonight because I have all the ingredients on hand except eggplant (sob! I love eggplant) and I needed to use up my half a head of cauliflower. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you ever tried cooking your quinoa in 1:1 ratio instead of 2:1 like the package says? I have so many people who complain their quinoa is mushy and overcooked, so I showed how to cook it 1 cup of water/broth to 1 cup of dried quinoa and it turns out perfectly every time. You can even do it in a rice cooker too on the white rice setting. I enjoy quinoa so much more now. I have no idea why quinoa growers say to cook it in double the water, as it’s not rice it’s very tiny and once rinsed does not need to absorbed much more water.


27 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica September 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm

P.S. turned out great, I threw in some soy curls too (my bf adores them) and served it over black and white quinoa. Definitely Moroccany ๐Ÿ™‚


28 Gen September 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this recipe – it was wonderfully satisfying, and the spice blend was particularly nice. Thanks!


29 Katie Loss September 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

LOVE! this recipe. I took it to my omni book group last night sans quinoa and it was a huge hit. I made the big batch so I could have leftovers at home. It is particularly good as both a hot or cold leftover because the time in the fridge infuses the flavors even more. An added bonus: I’m not usually a big fan of either cauliflower or eggplant and this is a delicious way to combine them both!


30 Kirsten September 20, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I can’t get over how delicious this is. I’m so glad I didn’t halve the recipe, because it’s even better as leftovers today than it was last night. My husband and toddler and I should have no trouble finishing it all!


31 Andi October 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Susan, I did the recommended half recipe since I live alone and it is fantastic! I have lunches ready for the week now. I made brown rice instead of quinoa (because that’s what I had in the house) and I had to omit the cardamom – I thought I’d bought some but apparently I hadn’t. I can’t believe that the finished product looks just like your picture! I am new to your website but am already a fan. Thanks so much!


32 Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen November 26, 2013 at 12:42 am

This recipe looks absolutely delicious and I love your plate – it is gorgeous! I can’t wait to make this quinoa dish!


33 Emerald January 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm

This is so similar to a fav that my boyfriend and I love to eat! The big differnce is after the quinoa is cooked in water and cumin seed and turmeric, we add chickpeas that have been marinated in lemon, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. So delicious!!


34 Texas Ann January 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I just made this and it is great. I made the full recipe. Can I freeze?


35 Susan Voisin January 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

The vegetables may get a little too soft, but other than that, it should freeze okay. Glad you enjoyed it.


36 Emily January 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I didn’t have any pots big enough to hold all this food, so I made it in the crock pot instead and it turned out quite good!


37 Laina February 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Hi Susan,

This is a very flavorful dish. It’s another winner!

It seemed a little on the dry side (for me). I realize we are all different.

Since you already add raisins, I thought I’d use them and try to incorporate a fat so that I’d absorb nutrients better. I was going to use cashews, but then a thought hit me to make a cashew cream sauce with the raisins. So I did!

I used a cup of cashews soaked in water for an hour, drained and added the cup of raisins and enough soy milk to cover the cashews and blended away. I added some water too, probably a cup.

So this took it over the top for me!

Thanks so much for making my journey to health a tasty one!

Also, I follow Dr. Gregor and in a recent video of his, I found out that turmeric is so healthy! He said to add black pepper and the body will absorb the turmeric to a much greater degree.


38 Erin March 10, 2014 at 11:40 am

Susan, I just wanted to thank you for sharing this one. It was absolutely delicious! I am using recipes from your blog to feed my family for this entire week, and I am so thrilled with how you take healthy ingredients and make them into wonderful meals. The only recommendation I would add to this recipe is to make more quinoa, as it makes such a large amount.


39 Sybil June 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

I am a new vegan, who was looking for recipes on line and stumbled upon your site. I am hoping to make the veg and chickpeas over quinoa today. It looks so good. Thanks for being there for people like me who have so much to learn.


40 Kim July 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

Made this last night and it was fantastic! Didn’t add the cardamon (my stupid Safeway’s spice rack is lame) and I didn’t add the tomatoes as my boyfriend is allergic to whole tomatoes. Instead I added a small can of tomato paste and a cup of veggie broth (and then some additional water so didn’t burn). I added Sriracha to my bowl, the man went without and we both loved. I think we added more than needed eggplant and cauliflower (I even have leftover eggplant that wouldn’t fit in the pot) so I think for reheating I’m going to add some more raisins to get some more sweetness. This one is a keeper and we’ll be making again.


41 Misty S.D. September 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Made this for dinner tonight. Yummy! It does taste better the longer it sets, so I’ll definitely be having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.


42 Nicole Hundelt September 14, 2014 at 4:56 pm

I’ve made this many, many times. Everytime I do I can’t believe how good it is!!! I always make the large batch. Extra is wounderful for lunches for the week!


43 Brock lee December 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I made it In a crock pot because all the food didn’t fit into a sauce pan ๐Ÿ™ Mine came out bad I used Roma tomatoes instead of the caned tomatoes :/ it taste watery >_< I'm so sad.


44 Kimberly August 26, 2015 at 1:04 pm

i just noticed the carb count because my son is diabetic. It seemed higher than I expected with all of the yummy veggies in it – is that carb count an error? Thanks.


45 Jill August 26, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Her nutrition count probably includes the quinoa. Beans are not a low-CHO food, though, and quinoa weighs in at about 35-40 CHO per cooked cup.

I’ve made this in the past a couple of times (because it’s a huge hit with my dinner guests!). I don’t always use garbanzos though because they aren’t my favorite bean. I’ve used small white beans and also red beans. It all works! The eggplant with this spice combo is really good.


46 Erika October 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

I made your recipe tonight and loved it! Thanks for sharing it.


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