On the table in 25 minutes, and one-pot to clean, this is a go-to weeknight vegan dinner. Plus, High-Protein Quinoa & Lentils Without Oil is budget-friendly, healthy, and very flavorful. (This recipe is gluten-free.)
Make this dish ahead of time for a quick and easy dinner, or lunch on the go. Chop the carrots, celery, and red onion beforehand and refrigerate. Add them to a pot with the remaining ingredients 30 minutes before dinnertime. It's that easy!
- Quinoa is technically a seed, even though it is often referred to as pseudograin. It takes just 15 minutes to cook, and is gluten-free. In addition, it is an excellent source of protein and iron.
- Green or brown lentils: Unlike red lentils, these lentils hold their shape when cooked. Lentils are high in protein, iron, and fiber.
- Sweet corn is versatile and adds the perfect amount of sweetness to balance the chili and chipotle spices. Use frozen corn to save time. There is no need to thaw it beforehand.
- Use store-bought diced tomatoes and vegetable broth for this recipe to save time.
- Sour cream adds a rich tangy flavor to this dish (optional).
See recipe card for quantities.
This easy recipe requires just one pot. Preheating the vegetable broth beforehand significantly reduces the cooking time. It comes to a simmer much more quickly without the other ingredients. Heat the broth is a small saucepan.
Add the preheated broth and stir to combine.
Cook covered over low heat for 25 minutes. Mix gently after 15 minutes, and 20 minutes, respectively. Add more broth or water as needed if the quinoa looks uncooked in places.
When combined, the vegetables, quinoa, and lentils finish cooking at about the same time, which is why this recipe works so well.
- Onion - instead of red onion, you can use yellow onion
- Carrots - Substitute with sweet potato or squash. Cut into about ½-inch pieces, and keep to the same quantity.
- Sweet corn - omit as desired
- Vegetable broth - you can use water instead, but the dish will be less flavorful
- Spices - substitute with spices you have on hand, such as curry powder, coriander, turmeric, and onion powder
The quinoa and lentils expand in size when cooked. Use a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients, with some space remaining. Preheat the vegetable broth beforehand in the same pot for easier clean up.
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Transfer to a baking dish and reheat in the oven at 375ºF. Alternatively, warm in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
These ingredients do not stand up well to freezing.
💡 Top tip
To rinse lentils: Place them into a bowl. Have a quick look to see if there are any stones and remove them. Add warm water to cover and wash them with your hands. Drain the water and repeat until the water runs clear (about 4 to 5 times). This reduces the foam produced from cooking.
It is not essential to rinse quinoa. If you are sensitive to the slightly bitter taste, rinsing helps to reduce this.
To rinse quinoa: Place it in a fine mesh strainer. Run it under cold water until the water runs clear (about 10 seconds).
When you are cooking quinoa on its own:
1. Bring the water to a gentle boil, using a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. (For 1 cup dry quinoa, use 2 cups water.)
2. Add the quinoa to the water, cover, and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
3. Cook for 15 minutes.
4. Remove it from heat and set aside for 5 minutes, without removing the lid.
5. Fluff with a fork.
For this recipe, the quinoa and lentils are cooked together.
Yes! Serve it chilled as a quinoa salad. Add a generous amount of chopped avocado for serving.
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High-Protein One-Pot Quinoa & Lentils
- 4 cups vegetable broth plus more as needed
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 1 cup green lentils or brown, rinsed
- 1 cup diced red onion (1 medium)
- 1 cup sliced celery (about 2 ribs)
- ¾ cup chopped carrots (2 medium)
- 1 cup sweetcorn kernels frozen or fresh
- 1 small jalapeño minced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 cup diced tomatoes canned, with juice (about ½ 14.5-ounce can)
- Salt to taste
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
For serving (optional)
- Vegan sour cream to taste
- 2 medium avocados sliced
- Preheat the broth: Add the vegetable broth to a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Combine the ingredients: Add the quinoa, lentils, red onion, celery, carrots, corn, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle powder, and diced tomatoes to a large saucepan. Add the preheated vegetable broth.
- Simmer covered over low heat for 15 minutes, undisturbed. Mix gently, and add more broth as needed to keep the quinoa just submerged. Cook covered for 5 minutes more.
- Set aside: Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes covered. Remove the lid and mix gently to combine. Add salt to taste.
- For serving: Garnish with cilantro. Top with sour cream and avocado.
- It is not essential to rinse quinoa. If you are sensitive its slightly bitter taste, rinsing helps to reduce this.
- To rinse quinoa: Place it in a fine mesh strainer. Run it under cold water until the water runs clear (about 10 seconds).
- To rinse lentils: Place them into a bowl. Have a quick look to see if there are any stones and remove them. Add warm water to cover and wash them with your hands. Drain the water and repeat until the water runs clear (about 4 to 5 times). This reduces the foam produced from cooking.
- Adding hot vegetable broth to the ingredients in the saucepan reduces the cooking time. Make sure to remove the broth as soon as it comes to a simmer, otherwise too much liquid will evaporate.
- Substitute the spices and vegetables with what you have on hand. A variety of herbs and spices, and vegetables, will work in this recipe. Keep to the same quantity of vegetables used in the recipe.
- Gluten-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free. However, always read the labels of store bought items to be sure.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.