Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Quinoa Vegetarian Paella

In my quest to include more vegetarian dishes in my family's menu, two days ago I used this recipe and made this delicious paella. Quinoa is a grain that vegetarians love because of its high protein content. It is very similar to rice but cooks a lot faster and it is more nutritious. I recently discovered the FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog and although I have only tried the paella recipe there are many other tempting recipes.

I'm re-printing the recipe below to indicate the changes I made.

Quinoa Vegetable Paella

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 teaspoon saffron, crushed (the recipe calls for 1/4 tsp but I have found that the saffron is very mild)

2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin (original is 1/2tsp, I love cumin!)

1 tsp thyme leaves (my addition)

1 tsp tarragon (my addition)

dash cayenne (I added hot pepper flakes instead)

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (mine had chopped green chiles)

1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 14-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained ( I skipped the beans, I wanted to add chick peas but didn't have them in my pantry)

2 3/4 - 3 cups vegetable broth

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced (I didn't have zucchini so I added green beans instead, about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of cut pieces)

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 inconveniently-named "chicken fryer" 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 (because I used green beans I added them in this step). 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 ( I added my frozen peas to the step where the green beans were added), 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.

Makes about 6 servings.

Per serving: 288 Calories (kcal); 3 g Total Fat; (9% calories from fat); 13 g Protein; 55 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 307 mg Sodium; 10 g Fiber



  1. Sounds good! I should use quinoa more often.

  2. Oh thank you! I'm veg and have been looking for a good paella recipe.

  3. Mmh, otra cosa que tengo que probar. Esta paellita vegetariana me está haciendo la boca agua ;o)

  4. Se ve riquisima esa paella!! I am going to have to try it.


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