Spiced Quinoa and Lentils

Spiced Quinoa and Lentils

I’ve been neglecting this space lately, not giving it the attention it so deserves. The funny thing is, I’ve been cooking and rediscovering food and photography with renewed fervency, I just can’t seem to translate the passion on to this spot.

I have so many stories and discoveries to share – it’s a little overwhelming and I probably need to figure out how to take it one step at a time, just like the way I’ve learned with cooking… one ingredient at a time

Spiced Quinoa and Lentils Spiced Quinoa and Lentils

I put off finishing this post and spent the last few days in New York – eating and exploring, it’s a city that never fails to thrill, and I always come back inspired and rejuvenated, albeit with deep longing to remain there.

Then I got home and returned to this meal, this old thing that I’ve made about million times, and suddenly it looks fresher, like I could make it a million more times and it’ll be different each time.

I’ve been exploring spices lately; in this spiced quinoa and lentils, I tried pungent mustard seeds and warming cumin and coriander seeds with lots of red onions and finished it off with cooling mint.

Spiced Quinoa and Lentils Spiced Quinoa and Lentils

I make this quinoa and lentil combination quite often, variations of it, usually when I don’t have time for a proper meal, it’s an easy, one-pot dish, nutritionally dense and filling, I love the earthy and nutty flavours and quinoa is such a great substitute for rice.

It’s a protein, fiber and whole grain powerhouse and it’s comforting.

The mustard, coriander and cumin seeds are at their best here; they enrich the warm savoury flavours of the lentils and quinoa, and something magical happens when you combine lentils and onions in olive oil – it’s beyond delicious

This is an easy favourite, very satisfying with plenty of leftovers to come home to.

Spiced Quinoa and Lentils
Spiced Quinoa and Lentils


Spicy Quinoa and Lentils


  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups water (I like mine firmer so I use just about 3)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained of oil and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less/more as desired)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint


  1. Rinse quinoa and lentils thoroughly and combine in a saucepan, add water, coconut oil and salt to taste
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower and let simmer until cooked and liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork and set aside
  3. Alternatively, combine rinsed quinoa and lentils, with water, coconut oil and salt and add to rice cooker. Stir and set to cook, fluff with a fork when done and set aside
  4. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or skillet
  5. When oil is hot, add mustard, coriander and cumin seeds
  6. Stir and cook for about a minute or so until spices are fragrant and mustard seeds start popping
  7. Add garlic and onions and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until onions are softened
  8. Add sundried tomatoes, crushed pepper and salt and let cook for another minute
  9. Add quinoa and lentils and toss with the rest of the ingredients, cook for an additional 2 minutes
  10. Check seasoning and add salt to taste
  11. Turn off heat and add chopped mint just before serving
  12. Serve garnished with nuts, mint and some freshly ground black pepper
  13. Enjoy!


Spiced Quinoa and Lentils

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  • Reply Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry

    I have been experimenting a lot with quinoa lately so always excited to find new recipes. The addition of mustard seeds is one I would really like to try next.

    1 May, 2014 at 3:46 am
    • Reply Elsa

      Oh you would love mustard seeds! it has a lovely aroma when toasted or fried in oil 🙂 I’ve been using it a lot lately.

      2 May, 2014 at 11:50 am
  • Reply Pang

    I am interested in anything spicy, and this recipe caught my eye. Your photos are lovely, and I love the recipe (that I plan to try soon)

    Btw, I am so glad I met you at Leela & Aran’s workshop because it led me to your lovely blog here. 🙂

    7 May, 2014 at 8:53 am
    • Reply Elsa

      Hi Pang! OMG… nice to meet you too! I love love your blog, I spent hours on it last night (silly me, I should have commented!). Your recipes are so refreshing and the photos are beautiful.

      I think, this is going to be a beautiful friendship 🙂

      7 May, 2014 at 9:57 am
      • Reply Pang

        i hope so, Elsa 🙂
        Thank you so much for liking my blog 🙂

        7 May, 2014 at 1:11 pm

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