mediterranean lentils and quinoa (gluten-free and vegan)

Jessica Penner, RDEntree, Meatless, Recipes13 Comments

mediterranean quinoa and lentils

When I told my husband what I planned on naming this dish his response was “I didn’t think quinoa was Mediterranean!”

He’s correct, quinoa originally hail from Bolivia. So, perhaps I should explain… I called this a Mediterranean dish because:

a) it has flavours reminiscent of Mediterranean cuisine like Italian or Greek

b) it falls in line with a Mediterranean Diet style of eating

What? You haven’t heard of the Mediterranean Diet? It’s only the healthiest way of living ever discovered! 

Check out this Food Pyramid for the Mediterranean Diet


In short, the diet focuses mainly on vegetarianism but dabbles into meat on occasion. It’s exactly like my flexitarian way of eating. I recently looked into the Mediterranean Diet and felt a little smug when I realized that all my nutrition education and acquired knowledge has ended up leading me to piece together a diet that coincidentally resembles the healthiest cultural diet on the planet. 

This dish is as amazing as that diet.  If you’re thinking about exploring lentils as a means to decrease your reliance on meat, this is a great recipe to start with! It’s so flavourful.. you’ll never miss the meat! 

If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram!  I’d love to see your creations! Knowing someone has enjoyed one of my recipes always makes my day brighter.  


Mediterranean Quinoa and Lentils

  • Author: Jessica Penner


  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • ¾ cup dry lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ package frozen spinach (or 150 g), defrosted
  • ½ cup sundried (or oven roasted) tomatoes
  • 1 (155 ml) can tomato paste (keep the can to measure out one can of water)
  • shredded mozzarella for serving (optional)


  1. Combine the quinoa, lentils, and water in a pot. Heat over high heat until boiling then turn down to low to simmer. Don’t cover the pot or else it might boil over!
  2. Meanwhile, saute the red onion over medium low heat in a large skillet until soft.
  3. Then add the basil, oregano, salt, and fennel seeds. Cook one minute.
  4. Then add the spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Fill the empty can of tomato paste with water and add to the skillet. Stir until combined.
  5. Once the quinoa and lentils are cooked, add to the skillet.
  6. Serve with shredded mozzarella (optional).

 Other Lentil Recipes:

prairie lentil granola

Canadian Prairie Lentil Granola

Lentil Fakin Bits

Vegan Lentil Fakin’ (Bacon) Bits

Moroccan Beef and Lentils

Moroccan Beef and Lentils

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13 Comments on “mediterranean lentils and quinoa (gluten-free and vegan)”

  1. Seems to me I’ve nagged you about this before, but there are several (well perhaps only two) sizes of tomato paste cans. Which one did u use? I’m so grateful for another lentil and quinoa recipe. I’m getting sick of mine. I love to have another opportunity to use all my frozen kale and Swiss chard.

    1. I think last time you asked me about canned tomatoes! I also didn’t realize that there was more than one size of tomato paste! I used a 156 ml (5.5 oz) can. I’ll update the recipe. Thanks for pointing this out!

  2. similar question: regarding the spinach – I have a bag of frozen spinach. How do I figure out how much is half a package?

  3. Any guesses as to the volume of 150g of spinach?

    So, I’m not a very intuitive cook. Is there a time you can give me for about how long it will take the quinoa and lentils to cook?

    I apologize for being so needy. I’m excited to try this for supper tonight. Also, I’m wondering what the singular for quinoa would be. Ha ha.

    1. Hmm… are you using the blocks of spinach found in the freezer section? One block measure about 2 inches x 5 inches x 3inches…. that’s my guess anyway! I’d say add as much as you think you’d enjoy… the spinach doesn’t have to be exact.
      As for cooking quinoa and lentils… I would say about 15-20 minutes.

  4. For some reason I have not made this since the first time I ever made it. I totally forgot how delicious it is. I took the liberty of adding a lot of garlic. I figure that can only enhance a tomato based recipe. I do not own fennel yet so I’m not sure what I’m missing when I delete it.

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