I love quinoa. Sure, it has a great nutritional profile, but what I like best about it is that it’s fast: it cooks in about a third of the time it takes to cook brown rice, which makes it possible to throw together a meal at the last minute and still enjoy a whole grain.
By now you probably know that quinoa is an excellent source of high quality protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids and is especially high in lysine, an amino acid that is scarce in most plant foods but is necessary for tissue growth and repair. What you might not have heard is that quinoa is full of all sorts of other nutrients. According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, it’s a rich source of calcium as well as magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. And to top it off, it’s gluten-free, so those who are sensitive to gluten can enjoy it in its whole state or made into flour, pastas, or breads.
I’m glad that it’s so nutritious because it means I can get a healthy meal on the table quickly on nights when it’s gotten too late to get a pot of rice cooking. Though the grains are smaller, quinoa can be used in almost anything rice can. It can form the base for a stir-fry or a bean dish, it can be made into pilafs, and it’s especially good in grain salads.
In the recipe below, I used it instead of white rice in a vegetable paella and discovered another way that my family loves quinoa.
Quinoa Vegetable Paella
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron crushed
- 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- dash cayenne
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper chopped
- 1 14-ounce can light red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 2 3/4-3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 medium zucchini halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 can artichoke hearts rinsed and cut into quarters
- Put the quinoa into a large bowl. Cover with water and stir well to wash the grain. Pour off the water and then repeat the washing process. You may also put the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly.
- Sauté onion and garlic in a deep non-stick skillet with a little water until soft. (I use my deep, 13-inch saute pan for this.) Add the quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, check to see if more broth is needed. If it looks dry, add the remaining vegetable broth. Place the zucchini on top of the quinoa and re-cover. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until quinoa is done. Remove the cover, stir in the peas, and cook uncovered until peas are warm and all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Arrange the artichoke hearts on the top and serve. Add salt at the table, if necessary.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Extra! Here are a few delicious-looking, vegan quinoa recipes from around the blogs:
- Quinoa, Corn and Spinach Chowder from bunnyfoot
- Quinoa Balls with Puttanesca Sauce from vanesscipes (Oh, I am drooling!)
- Quick Quinoa Paella from speedvegan
- Quinoa/Pistachio Salad from Fun With Your Food
- African-Inspired Quinoa Peanut Soup from Eat Peace Please (by way of Nava Atlas)
- Vegan Quinoa and Brown Rice Sushi and Cavi-Art from Spice Island Vegan (Beautiful!)
CaseyNovember 11, 2012 at 4:18 pm
Great base for using up my vegies. I threw in some mushrooms and spinach instead of the zucchini, left the saffron out (didn’t have any on hand) and used butter beans instead of red kidney. It was my dinner last night and will my lunch for the week. Yummy!
Hilary MerolaDecember 9, 2012 at 7:57 am
I’m so excited to try this recipe. What I love is how versatile it seems to be.
JenyJanuary 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm
Here’s what I had in mind and please take this suggestion with warmest regards.
1. Rinse quinoa well.
2. Saute onion and garlic.
3. Add quinoa and saffron, cook for 2 minutes
4. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, tomoatoes, peppers, beans, and vegetable broth.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, cook for 15 minutes
6. Add vegetable broth as needed.
7. Place zucchini on top of quinoa
8. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until done.
ShellieJanuary 8, 2013 at 8:05 pm
We had this for dinner tonight. What a great dish. The only change I made was added more cayenne. Thanks!
Susan VoisinJanuary 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm
I’m so glad you liked it!
SummerJanuary 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm
Very good. I am not a vegetarian or vegan, so I also made one large meatball (per serving) on top of the dish. It was delicious. Thanks for a great recipe idea!
MarcelaMay 4, 2013 at 9:35 am
I would love to try this dish but have no saffron handy. Any suggestions for a good substitution?
Lancashire FoodJuly 21, 2013 at 5:00 am
That looks wonderful, might try for supper tonight 🙂
RobinJanuary 8, 2014 at 11:10 am
Looks delicious. Thanks for the note about the subtltey (sp?) versus spicy. My carnivore husband is really trying to support me and enthusiastically will try anything (within reason). He seems to favor spicy. What would you recommend to turn up the heat on this recipe? (I know I can throw hot sauce on anything, but would like to stay in keeping with what you envisioned.) Thank you again!
Susan VoisinJanuary 8, 2014 at 11:12 am
Some red pepper (cayenne) would turn up the heat without changing the overall flavor profile, but what would really be good is some hot smoked paprika, instead of the regular, if you have it. Hope you and your husband enjoy it!
JulieAugust 8, 2014 at 11:12 pm
This paella is soooo good! Made it for the first time tonight, mainly because we have lots of zucchini and I was looking for yet another way to use zucchini. We also love quinoa. I used canned white kidney beans as we don’t like red kidney beans, and our Costco has started selling large jars of artichoke hearts which I sliced up. Wonderful flavors, filling, pretty, and plenty of leftovers for the weekend and/or lunches next week. I can always count on your recipes Susan, thanks once again.
Rebecca FinchFebruary 3, 2015 at 5:13 pm
I don’t know whether to laugh or get mad when I see the advertisements on your site for things like the Paleo Diet and Marie Callendar desserts. I half laugh because I cannot imagine that anyone reading this blog on a regular basis will go for their stuff, but I get mad when I think about people who are new to whole food plant based diets seeing those ads and being confused. I guess you have to do what you have to do to keep the site going and who is to say you should not make money for your twenty years of effort? Still, it’s a little disturbing.
Susan VoisinFebruary 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm
Sorry about the ads. I try to keep non-vegan ones off, but the way ad networks work these days makes that impossible. And actually, I don’t make a cent off of most of them unless someone clicks them, so it’s not in my best interest to have ads that don’t fit my blog.
I might be able to do something about that Marie Callendar’s ad, though, so thanks for letting me know.
JosephMay 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm
So many thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes, With the Paprika app, it makes my vegan fat-free lifestyle so much better, and easier!
Concerned about using the coated pan in your cooking, My Staub pans are not as harmful to us, but they are not perfect either. Aluminum can come at us from cosmetics to pans, it is a nerotoxin and is one of the key’s to Alzheimers.
To you health Susan!