Tomato Quinoa & Chickpeas
4.62 from 18 votes

This recipe for tomato quinoa & chickpeas is so fast and easy to make! This is a perfect, nutritious side dish for home cooks in a hurry. You can add vegetables or other accompaniments to the recipe in order to make it a complete meal.

A round, white plate has been topped with grape tomatoes, baby spinach, and quinoa that has been seasoned with tomato.

I love a good, versatile grain side dish.

This tomato quinoa & chickpeas is definitely one of those. It’s a recipe that work in a number of ways. You can serve it as a side dish, with some sort of protein and vegetable. You can add it to a vegan bowl. You can add a bunch of vegetables to it and call it a simple meal.

Best of all, the tomato quinoa is both quick and easy to make. It’s the perfect thing to whip up when you’re tired or in a rush, recovering from a long work day or cramming for a test. It features ingredients that you probably have at home already.

A zoomed in image of a cooked whole grain, which is a bright red color thanks to its seasoning. The grain is mixed with cooked chickpeas and served in a bowl.

Inspired by Spanish rice

The tomato quinoa was inspired by Spanish rice. Spanish rice is sometimes called Mexican rice. It’s not a traditional Spanish dish, but it is Mexican side dish.

The origins of the name “Spanish rice” are apparently unclear. The recipe most often calls for seasoning rice with tomatoes, garlic, and onions. I’ve seen some versions that call for oregano, too.

It’s interesting to note that there is some version of tomato-seasoned rice in other cuisines. One example is kateh gojeh farangi, a Persion dish with white rice, tomatoes, turmeric, and, in some versions, potatoes. A Greek version is nntomatorizo, which my grandmother sometimes made with orzo.

So, why use quinoa in this recipe? I chose it for two reasons. The first is a quick cooking time—just 13-15 minutes. the second is nutrition.

Quinoa is a good source of vegan protein. It’s also rich in fiber, and it’s a good source of electrolytes (magnesium and phosphorus). It provides zinc and iron as well.

I love cooking with rice, but when I’m aiming to get just a little more nutrition bang for my buck, quinoa is often my go-to. I think it works so well with the tomato, paprika, and oregano in this recipe, and its texture works nicely with the chickpeas, too,

Cooking quinoa

Quinoa can be a little tricky to cook. Sometimes it’s too mushy, sometimes it gets dry.

My general method is to use a 1 cup quinoa : 1 3/4 cup water ratio. I bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the quinoa, and reduce the heat to a simmer. I cover the quinoa and let it cook for 13 minutes.

Then, I remove the saucepan from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. I fluff the quinoa with a fork, re-cover the saucepan, and let the quinoa sit for another 5 minutes before eating.

Because the tomato quinoa cooks with seasonings, the process is a little bit different from my usual method for plain quinoa. But you’ll see that it’s similar enough.

Tomato quinoa & chickpea ingredients

The ingredients in this simple grain dish are easy to find. You may have many of them at home already!

Quinoa

I like to use white quinoa for the tomato quinoa. It’s my favorite type of quinoa (though I sometimes enjoy the nutty flavor of red quinoa, too), and it makes the color of the dish pop. However, you can use any quinoa that you have.

Broth

You can use vegetable or vegan no-chicken broth to cook the tomato quinoa. I slightly prefer no-chicken broth, but either will work. You can also use a vegan vegetable or no-chicken bouillon or broth base.

Tomato sauce and paste

I use both tomato sauce and paste to add tomato flavor to the quinoa and chickpeas. The sauce I use isn’t a marinara; it’s plain tomato sauce, which I buy in 8-ounce cans. You can substitute a homemade tomato sauce if you’re lucky enough to have some at home!

Seasonings

The seasonings here are pretty simple: paprika (smoked or sweet/Hungarian), oregano, and garlic powder. You can add an herb or seasoning that you’d like to be in the dish if you’re so inclined. The crushed red pepper flakes that you’ll add at the end are optional, and you can adjust the amount to taste.

A note about the salt in this recipe: the broth, tomato sauce, and tomato paste that you use will vary in saltiness. So you should add salt to the dish to taste. I add 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt to the quinoa before it simmers. I add more at the end, once I’ve tasted the dish to see how it turns out.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are my plant-protein in the tomato quinoa. No surprise there, as they’re the legume that I love best and cook with most often. However, you can also use white beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, kidney beans, or another bean of choice. A cup and a half of lentils will work in the recipe, too.

Additions & accompaniments

There are so many ways to serve the tomato quinoa and chickpeas. Very often, I’ll plate it with greens and another vegetable, as you can see in the photos here.

It’s fun to top the quinoa with something a little extra. Here are just a few additions that I’ve served on or folded into the recipe:

In addition to these options, you can always make the tomato quinoa more robust, nutrient-dense, and filling by adding some vegetables to it.

I’ve often defrosted and heated a bag of cut, frozen veggies—such as chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets, green beans, peas, or spinach—and added it to the recipe. This is a great way to sneak in more fiber, more micronutrients, and more texture.

A white, round plate is topped with a tomato-based quinoa and chickpea dish, cherry tomatoes, and baby spinach.

Storing and reheating tomato quinoa & chickpeas

The tomato quinoa & chickpeas can be prepared a few days before eating. It lasts for about five days in an airtight container in the fridge. In addition, you can freeze leftovers for up to six weeks.

I usually reheat the leftovers in my microwave, but you can also heat them in a small saucepan or nonstick skillet on the stovetop, too.

A round, white plate has been topped with grape tomatoes, baby spinach, and quinoa that has been seasoned with tomato.
4.62 from 18 votes

Tomato Quinoa & Chickpeas

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil substitute water for sautéing to make oil free
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 cup dry quinoa rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan broth (vegetable or no-chicken; you can substitute water)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 14.5-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • Red wine vinegar (to taste)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the quinoa, broth, tomato sauce and paste, paprika, oregano, salt, and chickpeas to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 13-15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the cooking liquid. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes to taste, adjust the other seasonings as needed, and fold in some fresh herbs, if you like.
A round, white ceramic bowl is resting on a white surface. It has been filled with an orange-red, seasoned grain pilaf.

Who knew that adding tomato sauce to cooking water could be such a game changer for whole grains?

If you love the tomato quinoa and want to change things up, you can try the recipe with white rice. That will be a more clear nod to Spanish rice, of course.

I’m never sorry to have a container of this easy grain in my fridge, just waiting to be dressed up a little and served as part of a wholesome meal. I hope it’ll be a hit in your home, too.

xo

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Recipe Rating




    30 Comments
  1. 5 stars
    Warm, comforting, and yummy! I am going to add this to the regular rotation of meals I prep for lunch at work.

  2. 5 stars
    This was delicious and easy to make on a weeknight. Thank you for a yummy oil free recipe! I would love to see a new cookbook written by you!

  3. Very good one. I had to use 2 cup of broth to get the quinoa cooked well, but it’s a litle correction compare to the result

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is DELICIOUS — and thank you for introducing me to smoked paprika! I will be adding this dish into our regular rotation. It’s the perfect combination of simple, clean and healthy – and adaptable for any meal!

  5. This looks delicious!

    What size pot did you use to cook this in? I know you said medium, but how many quarts?

  6. 5 stars
    Made this last night. It was so good! My only change was I added mushrooms with the onions. Also toward the end, I mixed in some leftover broccoli I had baked the night before. Great easy dinner!

  7. This recipe looks so delicious! Definitely have to try this recipe out as soon as possible. Thanks for the share, love checking out your blog.

  8. 5 stars
    I have been wanting to make this for a few days now and I finally made it tonight! I loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again!!

  9. I love cooking grains in flavorful liquids or sauces like this! I’ve actually cooked rice in V8 before and it turned out fantastic 🙂
    This looks like a perfect hearty one pot meal

    FYI:
    There are some pop up ads for jimmy dean sausage products showing…(!?!) i thinks it’s laughable but i can’t imagine you are aware of these

  10. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe Gena. Quinoa is a very new thing here in Greece and we never tried it with tomato paste before. The addition of smoked paprika (one of our most cherished spices) must be taking this to a whole new level.
    Thanx so much for the delicious post!
    Greetings from Athens,
    Mirella and Panos

  11. I want to give this dish a try. Tomato flavor with chickpeas and quinoa sounds too good to pass on. I wish there were people I could make this for. It’s satisfying to share new healthy recipes with others.

    I’m curious about something. I don’t see broccoli listed in the recipe but there is broccoli in the pictures. Did you decide to have broccoli as a side when you were taking the photos?

    • Hi Kurt,

      Yes, I served broccoli as a side in the pictures! Lots of other vegetables would be nice accompaniments.

      G

  12. Chickpeas are my favorite legume! No such thing as too many chickpea recipes 😀 Excited to try this! Love super simple recipes like this!