Quinoa Vegetable Paella

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on June 4, 2012

Somehow it is raining in June.

You know, because June is wet season in the Bay Area.

The weather can be so random sometimes.

The last time I made this dish, it was also raining. It was so rainy that when I was driving home, I sat in traffic for two hours (to go 30 miles). When I got home, I think the husband was worried about my mental state, especially since it was late, I was cranky, and I was in no mood to cook.

But, I also couldn’t bear the thought of eating takeout after such a long day.

So, I decided to power through and try a recipe that I already had the ingredients for at home. A recipe that would warm me up from the inside out and make me forget about the fact that it was raining, and that I had just spent 2 hours of my life in the car. A recipe that had the beautiful aromatic flavors of saffron, cumin, paprika – that reminded me of warm tropical days in far off destinations.

This Quinoa Veggie Paella was inspired by a recipe I found on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, but I’ve dressed it up and added many more spices than the original version. My version is below, and you can find the original here.

It was the perfect cure for a rainy day.

The Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, chopped  
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa  
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, crushed
  • 2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 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 (optional, I omitted this because the husband doesn’t like artichokes)
  • A few healthy splashes of lemon juice (about the juice of 1/2-1 lemon)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • Sliced almonds
The Directions
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Step 1: 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.
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Step 2: Sauté onion and garlic in a deep non-stick skillet with a little (2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add the quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.
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Step 3: Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.
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Step 4: 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 15 minutes.
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Step 5: Season with a few splashes of lemon juice, salt and stir in a few Tbsp of sliced almonds. If you’re using artichoke hearts, arrange them on top and let them heat through for about 5 minutes before serving.
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Step 6: Serve each plate with a sprinkling of sliced almonds on top, and a wedge or a slice of lemon (if you want a bit more lemon flavor).
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This recipe makes about 6 servings, and each serving has only ~300 calories, with 13g fiber and 13g protein.
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Not bad for a healthy remake of a Spanish comfort food! This meal transported me to our evenings in Granada and Seville, where we would eat paella under the stars at outdoor cafes, during the warm Spanish summer nights.
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I hope this recipe makes you feel like you’ve gotten a little bit of Spain in your own kitchen.
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Quinoa Vegetable Paella

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 283.8

Fat per serving: 4.7g

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 283.8 Calories, 4.7g Fat, 993.6mg Sodium, 50.3g Carbs, 13.5g Fiber, 6.5g Sugar, 13.5g Protein

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, crushed
  • 2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 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 (optional, I omitted this because the husband doesn’t like artichokes)
  • A few healthy splashes of lemon juice (about the juice of 1/2-1 lemon)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • Sliced almonds

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in a deep non-stick skillet with a little (2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add the quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.
  4. 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 15 minutes.
  5. Season with a few splashes of lemon juice, salt and stir in a few Tbsp of sliced almonds. If you’re using artichoke hearts, arrange them on top and let them heat through for about 5 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve each plate with a sprinkling of sliced almonds on top, and a wedge or a slice of lemon (if you want a bit more lemon flavor).

Notes

http://pickyeaterblog.com/quinoa-vegetable-paella/

 

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara November 21, 2010 at 8:38 pm

I know, the rain was crazy huh? I bet this paella was comforting. I love that the recipe uses quinoa. I love quinoa and I feel it’s often overlooked for other grains. You just reminded me to get some more :)

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 24, 2010 at 8:11 am

I completely agree – quinoa is a great healthy grain substitute for just about anything! I’ve started using it in most rice dishes and it works perfectly (and is much healthier for you since it’s a complete protein and high in fiber!)

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Chef Gerald@bistrogerard November 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm

What an excellent idea! I love quinoa and paella, but have never thought of combining the two before!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 24, 2010 at 7:46 am

Thank you so much! I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe!

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torviewtoronto November 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

healthy paella

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Jeanette November 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

This sounds deliciously healthy! I love paella, and will have to try this version.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 24, 2010 at 7:49 am

I hope you like it Jeanette! :)

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Alexandra Rogers December 3, 2010 at 10:30 am

This looks incredible–I am definitely going to make this one! Thank you for sharing.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 4, 2010 at 7:48 am

I’m sure you will love it Alexandra!

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Lindsey @ Family Food Finds June 4, 2012 at 7:46 am

Looks great! It’s just in time for summer squash season too! A great meal for June Gloom weather. :)

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 4, 2012 at 7:48 am

Haha exactly! June Gloom – I love it :)

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Peter Block June 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

just bought some quinoa this weekend. now i have a recipe to try. looks really nice.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 4, 2012 at 10:11 am

Awesome! I can’t wait to hear what you think! Is this your first time trying quinoa?

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RavieNomNoms June 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

Oh wow, that looks amazing!! How beautiful and flavorful!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 4, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thanks so much!! :)

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Suzi June 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm

This looks fantastic. Lots of veggies and full of flavorful spices.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 5, 2012 at 9:13 am

Thanks Suzi! I love that this recipe has tons of veggies and protein as well – it’s truly a complete meal!

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Larry Livingstone June 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Quinoa and paella are two of my favourites! This looks awesome. Thanks for posting!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Thanks Larry!! I’m sure you will love this when you try it!

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Elizabeth @ Food Ramblings June 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

This sounds great…I’ve never made paella before, but I love all the veggies you put in it! Can’t wait to try it :)

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

Thanks Elizabeth! Let me know how you like the recipe!

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Meghan Telpner June 5, 2012 at 7:53 am

This looks absolutely perfect! I love to take dishes like this and mix and match the veggies. This would be awesome too with some shredded cabbage and a toss of crushed cashews. Must try out this fantastic creation!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 5, 2012 at 9:14 am

LOVE the idea of adding cabbage to this! I’m sure cashews would taste great as well. And you’re totally right, you can pretty much use the quinoa and spices as a base for just about any veggie/protein combo, and it’ll still be delicious and just as healthy! Enjoy!

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Dimitur Jordanov June 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm

When I saw the recipes I start to cook. Just a great guide for delicious food. Whatever you write another such comment will be less to express my their views on a job well done. I wish you a nice minutes with this famous recipes.

Best regards from Bulgaria

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Thanks! Nice to meet you!

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Matt June 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Excellent recipe! I loved it and I love that you’re not afraid to add so much spices/flavor. Many recipes are bland to us, but this was perfect.

One question though, you mention chili in the ingredients, but you don’t mention it in the instructions. I assume you meant to add it in step 3 or maybe not? I didn’t add it and it was still great with the cumin and paprika flavor.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Thanks Matt! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Oh and thank you so much for the heads up – you are right that I meant to add the chili powder in step 3 :) I just updated the post to reflect that – great catch!! Try it with the chili powder next time and let me know what you think!

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Alex February 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

This looks really good! I love the idea of clean paella. However I’m a student so I only cook for myself and i was wondering if with the quinoa in, is this recipe okay for freezing and reheating do you think?

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hi Alex! I think you can absolutely freeze and reheat this recipe. I’d reheat it on the stovetop vs. the microwave just so the quinoa doesn’t get mushy – but I think it would taste just as good after freezing and reheating :) Let me know how you like it!

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Evelyn April 23, 2013 at 2:37 am

Just made this for dinner for my family; absolutely delicious (and absolutely stuffed) :P Mum wanted to finish leftover wholemeal tortilla wraps so we individually spooned the paella into ripped pieces of bread and ate them like mini taco’s! Thanks for the recipe! :)

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 24, 2013 at 12:16 am

Haha! That’s so great – I love getting stuffed full with healthy and tasty food – I do it quite often :) Oh and what a great idea to use this as a “taco” filling! I’ll be doing that the next time I make this and have leftovers. Thanks for sharing Evelyn!

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Vandana November 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I made this for my friend last night and we loved it! She had lived in Spain for many years and she liked it enough to ask for the recipe. Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Oh that’s so great to hear!! Thanks for letting me know Vandana! :)

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