Appearances aren’t everything, which is why I’m describing this one pot Moroccan quinoa, and showing the ‘before’ pictures to you, prior to sharing a photo of the finished product. It’s just not a beautiful looking recipe, okay? But I urge you to look past the color (which comes from the delicious Moroccan-inspired spice blend that I used) and give this dish a try, because it is phenomenal.
My one pot tandoori quinoa is a reader favorite, and with very good reason. It’s simple, easy, and healthy. I’d been wanting to make another spin on it for a while but I just couldn’t let myself post ANOTHER one pot recipe with chickpeas. Me, I still eat chickpeas most days of the week, but I’ve gotta share some variety here. When it comes to quick-cooking pulses that would be good candidates for integrating into a one pot meal, red lentils just can’t be beat, and I was delighted with the way they paired with these flavors.
This one pot Moroccan quinoa starts with sauteed onions and garlic, and finely chopped carrots and pepper that soften as the dish cooks. Next, I toasted a fragrant homemade spice mixture (you can also use store-bought ras el hanout as a delicious substitute) before adding the quinoa, lentils, and vegetable broth. After the lentils and quinoa are cooked, the dish is finished with a bright note of fresh citrus, and topped with chopped herbs and toasted almonds. It is seriously delectable!
If you’ve tried my one pot dishes before, you know just how easy and delicious they can be. Put this one pot Moroccan quinoa on your rotation next! (And if you’re serving it to guests, top it with plenty of herbs and almonds to, ahem, enhance its beauty.)
One Pot Moroccan Quinoa with Red Lentils
For the Moroccan spice blend (makes a little extra):
For the one pot Moroccan quinoa:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 5 to 6 small red potatoes scrubbed and diced
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 bell pepper seeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Moroccan spice blend (see above) or ras el hanout)
- 1/3 cup un-cooked red lentils
- 1 cup un-cooked quinoa rinsed
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (reduce to 1/8 tsp. for less spicy)
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3/4 tsp salt or to taste (use less if your broth is salty)
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1/4 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh cilantro (or mint, or a combination)
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
To make the Moroccan spice blend:
Toast all of the whole spices (fennel seeds through allspice berries) over medium heat in a dry skillet, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
Grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Mix in the rest of the spices and set aside.
To make the one pot Moroccan quinoa:
In a large skillet or wide saucepan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrot and potato and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, or until starting to soften.
Add the onion and bell pepper, along with another splash of oil if needed and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
Add the spice blend, stir, and cook for 1 minute, or until the spices are fragrant.
Add the red lentils, quinoa, cayenne pepper vegetable broth and salt, and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa, lentils, and vegetables are cooked through, about 20 minutes. If the mixture starts to dry out before it's done, add more vegetable broth. If there is excess liquid, continue cooking with the cover removed.
Stir in the orange and lemon juice, and cook for another minute or two uncovered until the juice is incorporated. Taste for salt, heat, and acid, and adjust as desired.
Serve hot. Fold in chopped herbs and toasted almonds just before serving. After cooling to room temperature, leftovers can be refrigerated for several days.
Enjoy this one pot recipe? Try some of my other one pan meals: