Quinoa and Vegetable Paella

If you have travelled to Spain or eaten in a Spanish restaurant, I bet you have come across this all-time classic: The Paella! It’s usually made in a huge skillet pan, with rice and saffron and usually contains lots of kind of seafoods. I have eaten paella before on various occasions and I really love the subtle taste the saffron gives to the dish – and most of the seafood, although yeah, definitely not all of it :-)


Anyways, this is a Superfood version of the classic Spanish Paella, and this one is vegan too. But you can easily add some shrimp or chicken or another seafood of your choice. Just either pre-cook it and add it in the end or mix it into the broth and let it cook with the quinoa, just make sure not to overcook your seafood. I didn’t add any of this, because I cooked this for my vegetarian friend and myself when she came over to my place to do some work. The recipe has been adapted from the blog Fatfree Vegan Kitchen.

This colorful dish contains following Superfoods:

  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Carrots


Ingredients (for 2 portions)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 14oz can of diced tomato (I used one that was already slightly seasoned with garlic, basil and oregano, gave the whole dish an additional fragrant note, but you can definitely also use an unseasoned one)
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 14oz can of kidney beans (rinse thoroughly before using)
  • 1 – 2 cups vegetable broth (add slowly during the cooking process, making sure, there is enough liquid for the quinoa too cook, but also not too much so that the Paella doesn’t stay liquid)
  • 1/2 zucchini, cut into sticks
  • 1 carrot, cut into sticks



  • In a pan heat the oil, then add the onions and the garlic, sautΓ© until fragrant
  • Add about 1/2 cup of the stock, then the quinoa, stir carefully
  • Now add the saffron, cumin, cayenne pepper, tomato, bell pepper and beans, stirring everything again to mix well
  • Let everything cook for about 10 minutes in the covered pan
  • In a separate pot, heat up some water and boil the zucchini and carrot sticks until tender
  • Check in on the paella, add water if needed
  • When the paella is close to done, carefully arrange the zucchini and the carrots on it, cook everything covered for another 2 – 5 minutes
  • Then serve in the pan – with a nice glass of Rioja red wine maybe? πŸ˜‰

Quinoa-Vegetable-Paella-3 Quinoa-Vegetable-Paella-4 Quinoa-Vegetable-Paella-5

The paella was really super delicious and we never thought we could finish the whole pan just the two of us – but we did! In one sitting – yummy! Without the red wine though, because it was for lunch. This meal is also really healthy, low fat and contains a lot of fiber!

Have a lovely weekend!Β 


    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much Shanna for your kind words πŸ˜‰ Yes, this dish definitely is a rich combination of various ingredients and colors! I was surprised how well the spices paired up, it was very easy to make too πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by!

  1. celestedimilla says

    This looks fantastic!! Actually, all of your recipes look fantastic, but it would take me forever to say that on every single one so just know that I’m a BIG fan. Celeste :)

  2. MyKabulKitchen says

    I just came across your blog, and as summer approaches like everyone else (especially after a long winter filled with overindulgent foods) I was looking for some healthy recipes, especially with Quinoa which I have not experimented with as much in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing this looks delicious!!

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much Julianna! :-) Yes, it can be easily made vegetarian, but you can definitely also add the seafood to this one; the quinoa makes it definitely a bit “lighter” and more rich in protein. Thanks for stopping by and your lovely comment as always, hugs, Sylvia

  3. cookingwithauntjuju.com says

    Even at my age I keep trying to eat healthier and your blog is a perfect place to get some great recipes. Thanks for sharing and I will continue to enjoy reading your posts and including them in my diet :)

  4. The Novice Gardener says

    I have a paella post in draft now for close to 3 months b/c I wasn’t happy with the way the photos turned out and out of sight, out of mind. You’ve just reminded me, Sylvia. Of course, mine is never going to be as pretty as yours nor as healthy. Maybe I’ll incorporate some of those healthy ingredients in mine. You are such an inspiration! XOXO

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much Angie for this sweetest comments! You are always so sweet, I think I already told you πŸ˜‰ So encouraging! I am sure your pictures are great too, I always love your photos, they are so bright. Well, I would love to see your versions, maybe for one of the next FF -it’s a perfect Fiesta food and to share with friends! big hug & thanks for stopping by!

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Lol, thanks so much dear Patty, it was really surprisingly delicious. I can’t take all the credit, I was inspired for it by another website, but I gave it some of my own twist πŸ˜‰ hugs & thanks for stopping by!

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much Ngan for your kind words! :-) Oh yes, so wonderful Spring is here – although here in Miami, we don’t have much of a Spring feeling, it’s been summer for the last few weeks already πŸ˜‰ Miss the seasons a bit, but then again, I don’t mind it’s nice and warm all the time. hugs, Sylvia

      • Ngan R. says

        I forgot you were in Miami for a second there. It must be nice year round. We don’t really have seasons in San Francisco either, but this year, the temperatures really dipped and then rose again, very dramatically too. I prefer to stay warm and in sunshine. Will have to make a trip to Miami someday!

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much Laura! :-) Yes, it was surprisingly super tasty so my friend and I finished the whole pan in one sitting! :-) I adapted the recipe from another site and I had no expectations, but the combinations of spices makes it really flavorful, and it’s super easy to make. Thanks for stopping by & have a lovely Friday too!

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much dear! :-) Paella is perfect for a Fiesta, lol! I associate Southern European and Mediterranean Food a lot with social gatherings, and paella is definitely a meal that is shared among many, as they usually make it in a large skillet pan and scoop out the portions :-) Happy Friday!

  5. Lisa says

    Love this! I’ve never tried paella, and I love your superfood approach! Beautiful presentation, as well. Happy Fiesta Friday!

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Oh, yum, so you get to eat the authentic Paella all the time? Delicious! :-) I am sure she could also use her own original recipe and just replace the rice with quinoa – makes for a lighter and more protein rich version of it. Thanks for stopping by πŸ˜‰


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