Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions and carrots and cook until starting to brown, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, quinoa, spices, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove lid and stir in remaining vegetables. Cook for 10 minutes more until asparagus has started to soften, but still has a light crunch.
Taste, adjust seasonings as needed and serve immediately. Garnish with nutritional yeast (or cheese) if you want some cheesy flavor.
*I used water in this recipe so added about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teapspoon of pepper -- this would be too much if you were using vegetable broth, so start with just 1/2 a teaspoon and adjust from there.