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Mediterranean quinoa

Tamara Willner
Written by

Tamara Willner

Reviewed by dietitian

Fiona Moncrieff

2 min read
Last updated May 2024

You’ve probably heard about quinoa as a superfood, or seen it in a salad at your local cafe. Quinoa is a nutritious, high fibre grain that is also a complete protein – it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition, it is also gluten-free and full of vitamins and minerals.

We love quinoa because it has a lower glycemic index than other carbohydrates. This means that it takes longer to digest, providing a slower release of sugar into the blood. Higher glycemic index (GI) foods are quickly digested and can leave us hungry soon again after eating. While quinoa is lower GI, we recommend that you are still mindful of your portion size; as part of a meal, we suggest including 25g of uncooked quinoa, or roughly 75g cooked.

Our Mediterranean quinoa and vegetable recipe is a perfect combination, it is also a great way to help you reach your 5 a day target. As well as being a great vegetarian recipe, you might like to double the vegetable portion to add to other meals the following day. We particularly enjoy Mediterranean vegetables the next day with an oven baked chicken breast.

Recipe: Mediterranean quinoa

Prep and cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 4


  • 400ml vegetable stock​
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme ​
  • 120g quinoa
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)​
  • 2 tbsp olive oil​
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped ​
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped​
  • 1 large aubergine, diced​
  • 2 courgettes, chopped​
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded & chopped​
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ​
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes​
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley or a small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped


  1. Put the stock, thyme, quinoa and bay leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat to low​.
  2. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until quinoa is cooked (i.e. tender and easily fluffed with a fork). Drain off any excess liquid, remove the herbs and set aside​.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and aubergine and fry until lightly browned​.
  4. Add the courgette and red pepper and dried oregano. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes and salt & pepper and bring up to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for approx. 20 minutes until the aubergines are tender. Add 2-3 tbsp water if necessary to reduce the thickness of the sauce.
  6. Serve the vegetables on the quinoa and garnish with the remaining herbs​.


Second Nature special tip:

Not only do the vegetables in this recipe freeze well, but they also go really well with any protein and grain. We love combining this recipe with a can of tuna and fresh herbs.

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Write a response


20 June, 2021

What is the nutritional content of this recipe?

Anna Deakin

29 October, 2019

Hi this looks delicious. Would you consider w

Patricia Nobbs

28 September, 2019

Like the look of this veggie/vegan dish but is quinoa & in what form is it delivered? I have a list of 10 apparently cancer-enhancing tinned veg which I have now stopped buying; one of them is (one of my favourites) tinned tomatoes. Another thing is one has to buy so many other ingredients which we might not necessarily use; either because of the initial cost or, because of lack of space. Otherwise, great. 😎 👍


27 October, 2022

Where or who has told you that “tinned veg are cancer enhancing”? Was it a medical professional or cancer scientist? I only ask because Cancer Research UK have stated “… eating fresh or tinned tomatoes does not affect cancer risk.” “Eating tinned tomatoes does not cause cancer. Some tins and cans are lined with something called Bisphenol-A (BPA). Eating food that has been stored in BPA-lined tins does not cause cancer”. In this link
TO answer your second question about quinoa:
Quinoa is a grain like wheat or barley is a grain except that quinoa is gluten free. The farmers farm it like wheat and barley and then remove it from the stalk exactly like wheat and barley. It’s threshed and the grain is packaged up like you see whole corn kernels for making popcorn. There’s no added anything to it if you buy quinoa as the small grains. If you buy it ‘ready to eat’ with flavourings and seasonings like Merchant Gourmet make for example then this will be different to how you prepare it yourself.
I hope this has helped you and set your mind at rest.
This recipe is delicious and I’ve cooked white fish to go with it (alternatively you could have salmon or mackerel for the omega 3 & 6 benefits).

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