Quinoa Spanish Rice is a quick, easy and grain free alternative to traditional Spanish rice! It’s healthy, vegan, and a perfect side for all of your favorite Mexican dishes! Includes stovetop and Instant Pot methods.
Like Spanish rice, but with a twist!
This quinoa Spanish rice is a new favorite and great option for a grain-free, filling side dish that can easily be customized for just about anyone!
Why We Love This Recipe!
- It uses minimal ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand.
- It cooks in one pot on the stove or in an Instant Pot for ease and easy cleanup.
- It’s full of healthy fiber and protein.
- It’s versatile and goes with just about all of your favorite Mexican dishes.
- It’s simple, healthy, and delicious!
So without further ado, let’s get cooking!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is what you’ll need to make this tasty Spanish quinoa rice recipe, plus ideas for substituting ingredients:
- onion – any color will work, use whatever you have on hand
- garlic – if you don’t have fresh on hand, sub with garlic powder
- quinoa – white or tri-color (I used half and half of each)
- tomato paste – can sub with diced tomatoes (or use both), which also adds more texture and bits of color
- green bell pepper – can be optional
- oregano – dried or fresh
- vegetable broth – my favorite is using about 1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon veg paste (affiliate link) with the amount of liquid called for
- salt + pepper – to taste
- cilantro – adds a pop of color as garnish and it takes great, but can be optional
How To Make Quinoa Spanish Rice
Here is a quick look at the stovetop version. You can find the Instant Pot instructions, along with the full printable recipe with instructions for both cooking methods at the bottom of this post.
- Saute + Toast: In medium size pan or skillet, heat oil over medium high heat, add onion and cook for 3 minutes, add quinoa and garlic, cook another 5 minutes or so stirring frequently until quinoa starts to get toasty and turn slightly golden.
- Simmer: Add vegetable broth, tomato paste (I combined the two), oregano, salt + pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, covered.
- Let rest: When done, remove cover, fluff with a fork, and let rest for 10 minutes to absorb the rest of the liquids (shown below). Taste for seasonings.
And now my quinoa loving friends, you’re ready to enjoy this healthy side dish!
- Add bell pepper. Toss in a small, finely diced green bell pepper for color and texture.
- Add cumin. If you want to add a boost of flavor, try adding 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of cumin for another layer of flavor.
- Use pico de gallo. For a quick short cut, use at 1 – 2 cups of store bought or homemade Pico de Gallo. Skip the saute, toast the quinoa, add the pico with the broth.
- Use tomato sauce. If you don’t have tomato paste on hand, add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, but reduce the liquids by the same.
- Recipe is easily customizable. You will find this recipe can be changed up to suit just about anyone’s taste. If you don’t care for the added bell pepper or tomatoes, you can omit them and still have a fantastic Spanish quinoa rice!
Storing + Reheating
- Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
- Freezer: This quinoa Spanish rice is freezer friendly and freezes well for up to 4 – 6 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link). You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags (remove as much air as possible before zip locking and label the bags). Let thaw before cooking on the stovetop. Cook from thawed and frozen in the microwave.
- How to reheat quinoa spanish rice: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through, adding a little water as needed so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm.
What To Serve with Quinoa Spanish Rice
This savory side dish can be served with any of the following, or your favorite Mexican meals.
- Use in place of rice when making these Vegan Burritos or Burrito Bowl.
- Serve as a side to these Enchiladas Verde.
- It would be great in this quick + easy Nacho Bowl.
- Serve it in or on the side of Black Bean Tacos, Vegan Street Tacos, or Portobello Fajitas.
- Pair it Quick + Easy Refried Beans, Instant Pot Refried Beans or Instant Pot Black Beans.
- Mix it with this Black Bean & Corn Salad for a hearty meal!
More Tex-Mex Recipes!
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- 7 Layer Mexican Dip
- Vegan Burritos
- Vegan Pozole (Posole Verde)
- See all vegan Tex-Mex recipes on TSV!
Let me know if you try this easy quinoa recipe or have a question! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.Print
QUINOA SPANISH RICE
Spanish Quinoa Rice is a quick, easy and healthy alternative to traditional Spanish rice! It’s grain free, vegan, and a perfect side to all your favorite Mexican dishes! Includes stovetop and Instant Pot methods.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: saute, simmer
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup onion, finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste and/or 1 cup diced tomatoes (if using canned, drained)
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon EACH garlic + onion powder (for good measure, but optional)
- salt + pepper, to taste
- fresh chopped cilantro, to serve (optional)
- Saute + Toast: In medium size pan or skillet, heat oil/water over medium high heat, add onion, optional bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes, add quinoa and garlic, cook another 5 minutes or so stirring frequently until quinoa starts to get toasty and turn slightly golden.
- Simmer: Add veg broth, tomato paste, oregano, salt + pepper, give a good stir, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 17 minutes.
- Let rest: When done, remove cover, fluff with a fork, and let set for 15 minutes to absorb the rest of the liquids. Taste for seasoning.
- Set Instant Pot to saute for 7 minutes, add oil/water, onion and optional bell pepper, saute for 3 minutes, add quinoa and garlic, cook, stirring frequently for remaining 4 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, just shy of 2 cups of vegetable broth, tomatoes, oregano, salt & pepper. Attach lid and turn to lock. Turn the valve to SEALING. Manually set to HIGH pressure and cook for 1 minute.
- Turn valve to VENTING for quick release (or let natural release for 5 minutes), remove lid, turn off heat, fluff with fork and let rest for 10 minutes. Season to taste.
Serve with chopped cilantro overtop for a pop of color and flavor.
Serves 4 – 6
Add cumin. If you would like to add more flavor, try adding a 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of cumin for another layer of flavor.
Use pico de gallo. For a quick short cut, use at 1 – 2 cups of store bought or homemade Pico de Gallo. Skip the saute, toast the quinoa, add the pico with the broth.
Use tomato sauce. If you don’t have tomato paste on hand, add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, reduce the liquids to 1 3/4 cups water.
Using water: If using water instead of vegetable broth, be sure to add 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder for maximum flavor.
If using canned tomatoes, drain, but don’t rinse. Rinsing will wash the flavor away (that was my experience).
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: I use this Instant Pot, and for storing and keeping warm this glass instant pot lid is perfect (affiliate links). For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials.