December 29, 2020

by Alyssa Rimmer

One-Pot Lentils + Quinoa with Spinach

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A healthy, vegetarian dish these one-pot lentils and quinoa couldn't be easier. With spinach, mushrooms, and lots of herbs, they're flavorful and delicious!

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There's nothing more comforting than a bowl meal. I find that they nourish me from the inside out. Fill my belly, make me happy, and taste amazing.

And today's is no different. It's a cozy bowl of beans with hearty vegetables and quinoa. They’re warm and comforting like a bowl just wraps you up in a big food hug.

Not to mention it’s filled with nutrients. It really is one of those meals that you eat and feel completely satisfied.

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The Benefits of Lentils

The star of today’s show: LENTILS

Now I just have to say, lentils have not always been my favorite thing. They were certainly not on the top of my list when it came to beans (gimme all the chickpeas and black beans), BUT now that I’m eating more plant-centric, lentils have become a go-to protein source for me. I always have some in my fridge ready to be tossed in a salad, wrap or just eating with a bit of salt and pepper. They’re just easy. And SO good!

Here are 10 reasons why I love lentils:

  1. fabulous source of plant-based protein, with one serving containing 11g
  2. packed with fiber and have 19g per serving
  3. really high in iron and one serving contains 20% of your daily value
  4. full of other macronutrients like folate (disease-preventing), thiamin, and phosphorus
  5. quick-cooking unlike most beans and can be made in under 20 minutes
  6. one of the oldest legumes ever – they’ve been dated back to 7,000BC (say whaaat!)
  7. a great meat substitute – just try them in burgers!
  8. come in lots of different varieties
  9. used all over the world from Ethiopia to France to Iran (and NYC!)
  10. budget-friendly!

And bonus: you can make an easy, one-pot vegan meal in 30 minutes!

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How to Make Easy One Pot Lentils

Okay back to the topic at hand: these gorgeous one-pot lentils.

As the title suggests, this recipe is a cinch to make. You basically start by sauteeing some of your aromatics together, then adding in some of the veggies. From there, you'll stir in the rest of your ingredients, let it simmer and once it's all cooked, you're ready to serve!

Here are some highlights of the ingredients we're using:

  • Aromatics: to kick start the flavor building process of this recipe, we're using shallots and garlic. Sauteeing them both together is a perfect way to being this dish.
  • Vegetables: with our aromatics cooking, we'll add mushrooms and carrots. I love using these two together as they both have a kind of “meaty” texture and help give some heft to the overall texture.
  • Spices: spice is the variety of life as they say and we're using some classics in this one: rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes. Plus salt and pepper of course!
  • Lentils: we've also got our lentils of course! This recipe calls for brown or green lentils – not red!! – and they need to be uncooked.
  • Quinoa: you can use any variety of quinoa you'd like in this recipe – white, red, tri-color or even black!
  • Veggie broth: the liquid we'll be using is veggie broth to keep it vegan, but you could certainly use chicken if that's what you have on hand.
  • Spinach: and one of the final ingredients that we're stirring in at the end is spinach! 4 – 5 cups for this recipe which is amazing – such an easy way to sneak in a TON of greens!

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Can I cook Quinoa and Lentils in One Pot?

Clearly from the title of this post, the short answer is: YES! You can absolutely cook lentils and quinoa in one pot. I actually think is an awesome way to cook both ingredients – you get to double up on protein and fiber in one pot!

How Long to Cook Lentils and Quinoa Together

The only tricky thing is that lentils and quinoa don't cook at the same time. So what I tend to do is cook the lentils first and then add a splash of liquid and the quinoa towards the end. My general rule of thumb is 30 minutes – 15 for just the lentils, 15 more for the lentils and quinoa.

You can also cook them all together, but the quinoa might be slightly mushy. If that's fine for you, just throw everything together for 30(ish) minutes!

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What to Serve with One-Pot Lentils and Quinoa

Once you’re ready to serve the lentils, might I suggest you drizzle with a generous helping of olive oil, so fresh herbs (I used chives), and some freshly grated parmesan cheese? You won’t be sorry.

But wait…cheese? On a vegan recipe?

Gotcha! That fluffy white stuff on top of these bowls? That’s not cheese!

It’s freshly grated cashews, which a) totally looks like cheese and b) is freaking amazing! I’m doing this on all my pasta dishes from now until forever.

I'd also recommend serving this with a slice of toast or (if you're not GF) a baguette. Anything is better with a slice of bread.

Hope you're ready to dig in – these one-pot lentils and quinoa are calling your name!

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More Healthy Lentil Recipes to try:

One-Pot Lentils + Quinoa with Spinach

Since this one-pot meal has loads of dried herbs, the lentils soaked it all up and brought everything together. Super simple and super delicious!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 374kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
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4.06 from 59 votes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or cast iron pot. Add shallots and carrots and cook until the carrots have started to soften, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are juicy and tender, another 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs. Stir around until the whole mixture becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in lentils, broth, 2 cups of water and miso (if using). Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove lid and add quinoa and remaining water. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a boil, recover and reduce to simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove pot from the heat, uncover and add spinach, stirring gently to combine. Taste (carefully!) and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and grated cashews.

Video

Notes

The miso adds a great umami flavor, but you can just use sea salt if you don't have miso. You can also totally use parmesan if you want!
 
Loosely adapted from Pinch of Yum

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 1254mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 9205IU | Vitamin C: 15.5mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 6.6mg

 

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. I made this very delicious dish this past week. I used yam instead of carrot and a little less salt. It was perfect. Just one comment, I noticed that the video says green lentils and the recipe says red lentils, I used green lentils ( is this just a typo? I will definitely be making this dish again many times – thank you for sharing C

  2. PLEASE could you give the ingredients of your recipes in weight, as it takes so long to ask Google what the faros ingredients are equivalent to in grammes.

  3. This was delicious, and I loved how quickly I could throw it together using items I already had on hand. We did not have mushrooms or carrots, however, and the dish was still great! Next time, I’ll add them for sure. Thank you!

  4. […] Original Recipes visit: One-Pot Lentils & Quinoa with Spinach @ simplyquinoa.com […]

  5. Made this for lunch with my roommates on a snow day and we were impressed with how delicious it looked and tasted. I was skeptical about drizzling it with olive oil while serving it, but the light coating brought out the earthy flavors perfectly. We added sliced brussel sprouts and simmered it a bit longer to soak up all of the broth. The grated nut topping was fun to make and sprinkle onto our grain bowls! Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  6. […] This dish has so much protein it’s unbelievable! It is under 500 calories and perfect for a cool night. Get the recipe here. […]

  7. Made this last night for my “we-must-have-meat-with-every-meal” husband and we both loved it! Great meatless meal 🙂

  8. This is absolutely delicious and so easy!! Will definitely be making again soon! Thanks for the recipe 🙂 I would say this is a year round recipe!!

  9. […] is where this recipe from Alyssa comes in. Warm and inviting, the quinoa recipe has lentils, carrots, mushrooms, and […]

  10. Yay! What a great recipe! I studied abroad in Chile a little over a year ago and my host mom made a dish almost exactly like this and it was one of my favorite things I ate while I was there!! So thank you for letting me feel some nostalgia 🙂 I changed things a bit to copy her more closely and added some sweet potato as well as onions to this recipe! I also ended up simmering it all at the end for an extra 10-15 just to soak up a little bit of the excess water/broth and cook the quinoa and lentils a bit more. Super yummy!!! Thanks again!

  11. This looks and sounds amazing! I love lentils. I’m going to have to try this recipe. Never would have thought to grate cashews on top – great idea, thanks! 🙂

  12. Always looking for a new recipe and this was so yummy, savory, filling & easy. I added shredded kale with the spinach & topped it with avocados as some I had were super ripe & I really loved your cashew idea. I made some extra cashews & jarred them for later. 😀 This took about 55 mins start to finish. That seems about right when dealing with lentils/quinoa. I think next time I will add more greens & maybe top with some tahini dressing or cashew cream & my hubby requested a side of cooked potato. Thanks for the recipe. I also enjoy your vlogs.

  13. This was fabulous!! I used this recipe as a springboard but used red and green lentils, red onion, turmeric, bay leaves, and added chick peas. I topped mine with shredded cashew (such a fabulous touch), avocado, sriracha
    chives and nutritional yeast. 8 stars this was soo delicious!! Thank you

  14. Exactly what I was looking for, thanks for sharing! I added a couple of dashes of red wine vinegar and fresh avocado.

  15. I followed all the times and measurements. The lentils were mush by the time the liquid was soaked up, a little over an hour later, even after the quinoa was added. 2 stars for flavor.

    • Sorry it didn’t work out for you! I’m not sure what might have gone wrong… others haven’t had that same issue!

  16. I started a pescatarian diet a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been looking for staples. This will definitely be one of them! I added an extra teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Thank you.

  17. Came out yummy. I’m going to add some tomatoes just before the end of the cooking and serve with some yoghurt. Thanks!

  18. thank you for the recipe. The only things I had to go out and buy were the veggies, I had everything else on hand. Since I don’t like mushrooms, I substituted them for potatoes. I’m hoping to eat less meat this year 🙂

  19. […] You can find complete recipes of this One-Pot Lentils + Quinoa with Spinach in simplyquinoa.com […]

  20. Although I usually end up substituting a ton of stuff (broke and busy college student here) I absolutely love this recipe at least as for loosely following in order to make a good soup with whatever I have on hand! I’ve made it a few times, a bit different each time depending on what I have at the moment, and it’s always turned out great!

  21. Hi! How long will this keep in the fridge? Do you think it will freeze well? I like to meal prep for the whole week and typically freeze my meals that are eaten at the end of the week. Thanks for sharing!

  22. […] One Pot Lentils, Quinoa, and Spinach by Simply Quinoa  […]

  23. I just made this for lunch and I am in LOVE with the flavors, how easy it was to make, and how HEALTHY it is!! I’ve already shared this recipe with 4 friends. 🙂 Thank you!

  24. Thank you, this is just what I looking for! Love that it’s all in one pot. My only little tweaks: I added a bunch of chopped zucchini, probably about four cups. It could have handled even more, I would put in even more and other veggies next time. I added it at the same time as the quinoa. Spices: I had Italian herbs on hand so used those, it just includes basil along with what you listed. I also threw in about a teaspoon of cumin. No miso, but a teaspoon or so of coconut aminos. A note for others: if you don’t like heat at all, leave out the red pepper flakes. Just that half teaspoon does give it a noticeable spike. Perfect for me, but if you don’t like that, adjust accordingly.

    It seems like this recipe is a great base from which to be creative, which I love. Thanks again!

    • I love that you were able to change it up! Thanks so much for letting us know what you substituted; LOVE the idea of zucchini!!

  25. Finally made this tonight and it was too spicy for me so I am going to double the quinoa and triple the lentils (cause I am trying to be replace meat). Hopefully that will dilute the spice in the batch I already made.

      • It was ok but I didn’t cook the secondary quinoa and or lentils long enough, it was still edible but I ended up letting half of it sit too long in the fridge. so I am going to try slightly different version…..without oil, without bay leaves (which I didn’t use the first time either because I didn’t want to buy a big jar) and again using bouillon cube instead of broth because it’s cheaper and using only 1 cube this time instead of 2…..so we will see…..also estimated nutritional info, not always exact, but it works for my purpose
        Ingredients: cal protein carbs fat
        ½ med onion 22 .6 5.1 .1
        1 cup chopped carrots 52 1.2 12.3 .3
        2 cups chopped mushrooms 87.4 6.8 16.5 1.5
        2 garlic cloves, minced 8.9 .4 2 0
        1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
        1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
        1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
        1 cup Lentils 229 18 40 .8
        1 bouillon cube 9.5 .7 1.1 .2
        ½ cup red quinoa 320 12 60 5

        Instructions:
        Heat a few tbsp of water over medium heat, add onions and carrots until start to soften
        Add mushrooms for another 5 minutes
        Add garlic, red pepper flakes, herbs, stir for 1 minute
        Pour in lentils, 4 cups water and bouillon cube.
        Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes
        Add quinoa and ½ cup of water. Stir, bring to boil, recover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes
        Check on it periodically in last 5 minutes
        Divide into 3 equal servings and refrigerate for 3-4 days.

        Nutritional information:
        729 Calories
        40 g protein
        137 carbs
        8g fat

        ⅓ of recipe:
        243 calories
        13.3 g protein
        45.6 g carbs
        2.6 g fat

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