One Pot Moroccan Quinoa is as easy and flavorful as it gets for streamlined weeknight cooking. Gluten free, plant-powered, and sure to become a family favorite. Friends, I am SO excited to share this dead simple, yet wildly flavorful, dish with you. It all comes together in ONE PAN (therefore minimal cleanup) in right around 35 minutes. Plus, it’s gluten-free and plant-based, yet protein-packed thanks to my favorite pseudo-grain, quinoa.
Additionally, this dish is make-ahead friendly and perfect to pack for weekday lunches. Just be prepared to be the envy of every coworker in the break room.
How to Cook Quinoa:
Quinoa is a quick-cooking grain with a neutral flavor that takes well to just about any spice combination. Prior to cooking, give the quinoa a quick rinse in a mesh strainer to remove its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. Additionally, I love to toast quinoa in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes prior to cooking to enhance its natural nutty flavor. Look for quinoa in the bulk bin section of natural grocery stores, such as Whole Foods or Sprouts, to save up to $2.00 per pound.
Fun fact: quinoa is one of the few plant sources of all nine essential amino acids required to build and repair protein tissues in the body, therefore making it a complete protein.
How to Caramelize Lemons:
This dish is unique in the fact that it calls for caramelized lemons. Giving lemon slices a quick sear in butter brings out their sweetness and adds layers of complexity to the dish. And, if you want extra caramelized goodness, sprinkle a tiny bit of granulated sugar right on the flesh before searing (trust me, you won’t regret it!).
You can choose to cut up the lemon slices (skin, rinds, and all) and eat them with the quinoa, or simply just squeeze the juice over the finished dish.
In addition to the caramelized lemon garnish, I love adding castelvetrano olives and fresh parsley or cilantro. The olives add a buttery, briny bite while the herb element lends a layer of freshness.
If you give this recipe a try, I’d love for you to snap a photo and tag me @dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations!
More Healthy One Pot Meals:
- 2 tsp. unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, sliced thin*
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallots (from 1 medium shallot)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth (I recommend Pacific Foods brand, if available)
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup sliced green olives, such as castelvetrano olives
- ¼ cup fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
- Heat butter in a large skillet with a fitted lid over medium-high heat. Once melted, add lemon slices. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until golden-brown; flip and cook 1 to 2 additional minutes. Transfer to a plate and reduce heat to medium.
- Add oil, shallots, and garlic to pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring often. Add quinoa; stir to coat, and cook 1 to 2 minutes in order to lightly toast quinoa. Stir in diced tomatoes and broth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until quinoa absorbs most liquid and plumps up, about 17 minutes. Uncover, and stir in spinach until greens wilt into mixture, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almonds. Top with olives, fresh herbs, and caramelized lemon slices.