One Pot Moroccan Quinoa

4.98 from 34 votes
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One Pot Moroccan Quinoa is as easy and flavorful as it gets for streamlined weeknight cooking. Gluten free, vegan, and sure to become a family favorite.

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Moroccan Quinoa in a white skillet topped with lemon slices and harbs.

Why You’ll Love this Moroccan Quinoa:

Friends, I am SO excited to share this super simple, yet wildly flavorful, dish with you. It all comes together in ONE PAN (therefore minimal cleanup) in right around 35 minutes.

I’m a sucker for Moroccan flavors (as evidenced by this Moroccan Couscous Salad), so this ingredient lineup really speaks to me.

Plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan, yet protein-packed thanks to my favorite pseudo-grain, quinoa.

Additionally, this moroccan quinoa is make-ahead friendly and perfect to pack for weekday lunches.

You can enjoy it warm, chilled, or at room temperature, either as an entree or side dish!

If you love quinoa recipes like this, also check out my Thai Peanut Chicken, Thai Quinoa Salad, and Chickpea Quinoa Bowls.

The Ingredients

Recipe ingredients in separate bowls on a wooden board with labels.
  • Quinoa: Quinoa is a quick-cooking pseudo-grain with a neutral flavor that takes well to just about any spice combination. Look for quinoa in the bulk bin section of natural grocery stores to save up to $2.00 per pound. Alternatively, you can purchase it in bags in the grains aisle of most grocery stores. Purchase white, tri-colored, or red quinoa for this recipe—they all taste relatively similar!
  • Aromatics: I love using a combination of shallots and garlic, however you can also use yellow or sweet onion.
  • Spices: This recipe calls for standard spices like cumin and paprika.
  • Harissa: Harissa is a North African spice paste that looks like a mix between tomato paste and tomato sauce. It has a slightly smoky spiciness with bright acidity and earthy undertones, and is a great shortcut ingredient to achieving big flavor.
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: Fire-roasted is key for extra brightness and depth of flavor.
  • Broth: Use vegetable or chicken broth!
  • Spinach: I love slipping in a green leafy vegetable like spinach for extra nutrients.
  • Lemon: Caramelized slices of lemon create a beautiful garnish for this dish.
  • Garnishes: 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.

Substitutions and Additions:

  • Add Chickpeas: For further pump up the protein, stir 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas in at the end of cooking. (You may also need another splash of broth!)
  • Use a Different Green: In lieu of spinach, you can also use kale or collard greens.
  • Make Spicy: Either add a pinch of cayenne, or opt for a spicy harissa sauce.
  • Use Fresh Tomatoes: During the summer months, you can absolutely use fresh tomatoes over canned. I suggest 1 1/2 cups of diced fresh tomatoes.
One serving of Moroccan quinoa on a small blue plate.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Sauté Onion and Garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until aromatic. Next, stir in spices, harissa, and quinoa.

Aromatics, spices, and quinoa being sauteed in a large white skillet.

Step 2: Add Broth and Tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and gently simmer until the quinoa is fluffy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Broth, tomatoes, and spinach being added to the pan.

Step 3: Stir in Spinach, and garnish with olives, parsley, almonds, and lemon slices.

Quinoa mixture after being fully cooked in the pan.

Recipe FAQs

How to Cook Quinoa:

Here are some tips for cooking the BEST quinoa:
1. 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.
2. I love to toast quinoa in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes prior to cooking to enhance its natural nutty flavor.
3. Boil quinoa in vegetable for extra flavor. Or, make sure to generously salt the cooking water.
4. Once the quinoa cooks, allow it steam in the pot (covered) for about 10 minutes. This makes the grains even fluffier.

Is Quinoa Healthy?

Quinoa is one of the few plant sources of a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.
One serving of quinoa (about 1/4 cup of dry) has about 6 grams of protein.
Quinoa is also gluten free and extremely versatile.

How to Caramelize Lemons:

Giving lemon slices a quick sear in butter brings out their sweetness and adds layers of complexity. Pro tip (if you want extra caramelized goodness): sprinkle the lemon slices with a little granulated sugar before searing them in either butter or olive oil.

How to Store and Reheat:

  • Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: Rewarm individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until hot.
  • Freeze: Freeze leftovers in a ziptop freezer bag or freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Quinoa dish being garnished with lemon slices, olives, parsley, and almonds.

More Healthy One Pot Meals:

If you give this recipe a try, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

4.98 from 34 votes

One Pot Moroccan Quinoa

One Pot Moroccan Quinoa is as easy and flavorful as it gets for streamlined weeknight cooking. Gluten free, plant-powered, and guaranteed to become a family favorite.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Large skillet with fitted lid


  • 2 tsp. unsalted butter (sub olive oil if making vegan)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (from 1 medium shallot)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp. mild harissa (such as Mina brand)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds (toasted for more flavor)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives (I suggest Castelvetrano olives)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
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  • 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 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in harissa, cumin, paprika, and quinoa; stir to coat. Cook 1 to 2 minutes in order to lightly toast quinoa.
    Stir in diced tomatoes, broth, and salt; increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until quinoa absorbs most liquid and plumps up, about 15 to 20 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.


To achieve extra caramelized goodness, sprinkle the lemons with a tiny bit of granulated sugar prior to searing.
I love serving this with a big tossed green salad. For extra protein, top quinoa with grilled chicken or shrimp, or stir in chickpeas at the end of cooking.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Sodium: 720mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

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4.98 from 34 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    Made this according to the recipe and we loved it! My wife couldn’t believe we were supposed to eat the lemon rind, but man was it delicious! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Michelle-I’m so glad you and your wife enjoyed this one!! Thank you for taking the time to leave a rating and review!

  2. Barry says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight and wow loved it. I did the lemons with brown sugar and butter they were so sweet.. Will do thos again.

  3. Helen says:

    If anyone else is dealing with this pandemic like I am, you are probably sick and tired of figuring out dinner ideas. Well this was perfect, the flavors are amazing, I am not even a fan of olives, but they were yummy in this recipe. I also added shrimp to the dish and made it a much more filling meal. Definitely adding it to the rotation!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Helen! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  4. Morgan says:

    5 stars
    This is the first recipe I tried from DishingOutHealth’s page, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. The vegetable broth brings so much flavor to the quinoa and this recipe is good hot, cold, even a week old. It tastes light but is still much more filling then, say, a traditional salad. I now make this almost every week! I don’t like olives so I use green onions instead, but I make everything else according to the recipe. I love this page!!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Morgan! Thank you for taking time to leave a review!

  5. Robyn says:

    5 stars
    So delicious! I’ve made this many times for my husband and even for guests-it’s Been a winner with everyone who has tried it.

    1. dishingouthealth says:

      Hi Robyn, I’m so glad you have enjoyed this recipe!! It’s a favorite over here, too 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  6. Tami says:

    So delicious! Everything complimented everything else perfectly! The sugar on the lemon really brought out that flavor. Will definitely be making this again!

    1. dishingouthealth says:

      Hi Tami, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Thank you for coming back and leaving a review!

  7. Mallory says:

    5 stars
    One of my new favorites!! The Spanish olives are a must.

  8. Maria says:

    5 stars
    My husband and I loved this!!! We added shredded rotisserie chicken and ate for lunch the next day too. Thanks for a great recipe!

  9. Bridget says:

    5 stars
    My family LOVED this. It made great leftovers, too!

  10. Sandy says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and easy!! Thank you– we will be making this again!