side angle view of healthy quinoa Spanish rice in a serving bowl.

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4.8 from 6 reviews

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.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
  • 12 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.

Instant Pot:

  • 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).