This Spanish style quinoa is seasoned with tomato and garlic for a flavorful side dish that can be paired with your favorite protein! It’s a delicious way to add a healthy side dish to your plate!

spanish quinoa
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Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients because it’s delicious, versatile, and easy to make. It doesn’t have a strong flavor, but it takes on other flavors well, so I’ve used it in everything from a casserole to soup and dessert! You’d be surprised how many things you can make with quinoa.

This Spanish quinoa can be used as a side dish for your favorite tacos or fajitas — or as a base for a burrito bowl. You can use this quinoa almost anywhere that you’d serve Spanish or Mexican rice.

What is quinoa?

Quinoa is technically a seed, although it cooks like a grain. You can use it in many recipes where you’d normally use rice. It’s a good source of protein and fiber, and it’s a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. It’s gluten-free and vegan. You can read more about it in this blog post all about quinoa.

Where to Buy Quinoa

You’ll typically find quinoa sold in bags in the natural section of the grocery store, by the rice or gluten-free products. I also really like the Success Rice Boil-in-Bag quinoa because you can make it in the microwave. You can also find quinoa in the bulk bins, which tends to be the cheapest! You can also find quinoa on Amazon and have it delivered right to your door!

quinoa in a mesh strainer

How to Make Quinoa

There are so many different ways to prepare, but for this recipe, I recommend making it on the stovetop or in a rice cooker. You can also make quinoa in an Instant Pot, although I don’t recommend that method for this recipe, as the tomato paste tends to burn in a pressure cooker.

  • How to Make Quinoa In a Rice Cooker– I love making quinoa in the rice cooker because I can set it and forget it! It cooks perfect quinoa every time. Use a 2:1 ratio of water or broth to quinoa.
  • How to Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop– Just like rice, you can prepare quinoa on the stovetop. Use a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Then fluff with a fork!
A bowl of quinoa on a table

Spanish Quinoa Ingredients

  • Quinoa– You can use white, red, or tricolor quinoa.
  • Tomato paste– I used tomato paste but you can use tomato sauce if you prefer.
  • Garlic– I used garlic powder but one clove of minced garlic can be substituted for the garlic powder.
  • Vegetarian chicken-style broth– I used a “not-chicken” style broth that has the flavor of chicken broth without the chicken. This kind from Edward and Sons is my absolute favorite.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to rinse quinoa? Yes. Unless your quinoa is pre-rinsed, you’ll need to rinse it in a fine mesh strainer before cooking it. This helps remove the bitter coating of the quinoa, called saponin. If you don’t rinse the quinoa, it can have a bitter taste.
  • What if I don’t have tomato paste? You can substitute the tomato paste with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. If using tomato sauce, reduce the broth by 1/4 cup.
  • Can I use other colors of quinoa? Absolutely! For this recipe, it doesn’t matter if you’re using white, red, or tricolor quinoa.
  • Is this recipe healthy? Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber! If you’re watching your sodium, be sure to use low-sodum vegetable broth.
  • Can I freeze the leftovers? Yes. This quinoa can be frozen for up to 1 month.

More Quinoa Recipes

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Spanish Quinoa

Spanish Style Quinoa

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 9 reviews
  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan


This Spanish style quinoa is seasoned with tomato and garlic for a flavorful side dish that can be paired with your favorite protein! It’s a delicious way to add a healthy side dish to your plate!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups “chicken style” vegetable broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish, optional


  1. In a large pot, add the quinoa and tomato paste and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the garlic powder and broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the broth has been absorbed.
  4. Let the quinoa cool slightly then fluff with a fork. Add salt to taste, if needed.