Quinoa Veggie Upma (Vegan & Gluten free)

Indian traditional breakfast, upma using the super-food Quinoa and some winter vegetables

Wait, what is actually Quinoa ?

It is pronounced as ‘kinuwa’,  ‘keenwah’ etc. Quinoa is actually grain-like, but it is technically not a grass like rice, wheat. So it is a pseudocereal. The quinoa plant itself is more similar to spinach, beetroot. People can eat both the seeds and leaves of this versatile, nutritious plant. Quinoa is often described as a ‘super-food’ / ‘super-grain’ and becoming much popular among the health conscious. These days quinoa is available easily in most grocery stores in white, red and black colors. It’s health benefits are really of a long list.

  • Completely Gluten-Free
  • Very high in fiber (Much higher than most grains)
  • Loaded with many important nutrients
  • Very high in protein (one of the only plant foods that supplies complete proteins)
  • Good for blood sugar control due to low glycemic index
  • Very high in antioxidants (Sprouting increases their antioxidant levels even further.)
  • Helps in weight loss etc.

Culinary uses of this super-food, Quinoa :

Quinoa is versatile & very easy to incorporate into any diet. It is important to rinse it with running water prior to cooking to get rid of saponins (present on the outer layer of quinoa and gives a bitter flavor if not washed properly). However, some brands these days are selling already rinsed kind of quinoa which makes the above step easier. Although often it is used as a substitute for rice,  still one can make many other dishes using quinoa. Well have you checked an idli recipe using this super-food, here is the link (Instant Veggie Quinoa Mini Idli). 

Today I have come up with another south Indian breakfast dish using this quinoa as “Quinoa Veggie Upma“. Sounds much healthy, isn’t it ? Many winter vegetables and this super-grain, all are here in this dish. Upma is one of most healthiest Indian breakfast usually being prepared using Sooji / Semolina. Sometime there are some variations of this dish using poha / flattened rice, dalia / broken wheat etc. And here is the quinoa version of upma.

Ingredients of the dish here :

Quinoa is the main ingredient in this upma. Along with that some vegetables like cauliflower, green peas, beans, carrots I have added as the winter season is still going on somehow so why not to use all these winter fresh produces in our diet 😉 Still one can use any vegetables of own choice. In the tempering part cumin seeds, mustard seeds, green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, sambar powder (optional), chana dal, urad dal (skipped this as I was running out of this), asafoetida (I have skipped this to keep the dish purely gluten free, if gluten free version is available then do add in the tempering). For garnishing part coriander leaves along with some peanuts are used. I have also used some fresh Pomegranate seed for garnishing, but is optional.

Preparing perfect fluffy quinoa upma :

For cooking quinoa perfectly (to get the fluffy texture), the ratio of water to quinoa has to be 2:1. In this upma one can directly add raw quinoa to the pan and allow to cook along with all the vegetables. Also one can opt to cook the quinoa first and then add to the 90% cooked vegetables and finally both are again cooked for 1-2 minutes to incorporate completely. I love to add sambar powder to enhance the taste of upma here. But this addition one can omit completely. Even any other spice powder can be chosen. 

Best things about this Quinoa Upma :

  • Wholesome dish
  • One-pot meal option
  • Vegan as well as gluten-free
  • Festive friendly (without Onion & Garlic)

So what are you all waiting for 😆 Do try this healthy winter veggie loaded upma which is so colorful, fluffy and delicious as well ! While in a hurry this is a best option to make in one pot and have. Kids also enjoy this version of upma instead of the regular one, just skip the chili addition while preparing. Whether in hot or warm in both the state, this tastes great as it is ( I like this way) or along with any favorite pickle / chutney !

The event related to this post :

Monday is here again and this time the Foodie Monday Blog Hop team has decided the 233th theme as ‘Nutri Brekkie‘ which is suggested by Sujata di. She is a sweet and lovely person by heart and I love most of her sweet dishes particularly from Bengali cuisine, if you are a big fan of Bengali sweets then her space is perfect. Well coming back to the theme, she suggested to make some healthy and nutritious breakfast dishes and I chose to make a dish using the super-food ‘Quinoa’ as Quinoa Veggie Upma (Vegan & Gluten free).

: Recipe Card :

Quinoa Veggie Upma (Vegan & Gluten free)

Quinoa Veggie Upma (Vegan & Gluten free)


prep time: 10 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 35 M

Indian traditional breakfast, upma using the super-food Quinoa and some winter vegetables.


  • Quinoa 1/2 cup
  • Carrot (finely chopped) 1/4 cup
  • Green pea 1/4 cup
  • Cauliflower (tiny florets 1/4 inch size) 1/4 cup
  • Bean (finely chopped) 1/4 cup
  • Green chili 2 no.
  • Ginger 1/2 inch
  • Cumin seed 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seed 1/2 tsp
  • Chana dal 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaf 1 sprig
  • Sambar powder 1.5 tsp
  • Salt as needed
  • Oil 1 tbsp
  • Water as needed
  • Coriander leaf For garnishing
  • Peanut 2 tbsp
  • Pomegranate seed For garnishing


How to cook Quinoa Veggie Upma (Vegan & Gluten free)

  1. Take all the quinoa in a fine strainer and wash properly under running water several times.
  2. Keep the strainer aside over a bowl to drain water completely from the quinoa.
  3. Now heat oil in a pan / kadhai.
  4. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and allow to splutter.
  5. Then add chana dal and saute till golden in color.
  6. Next put grated ginger, curry leaves, green chilies.
  7. Stir and saute a bit.
  8. Then add all the veggies, sambar powder, salt and mix well.
  9. Cook for 2-3 minutes or till the veggies are half done.
  10. Now add all the drained quinoa, mix and fry for 1 minute over low-medium heat.
  11. Next add 1 cup & 2 tbsp water and allow to boil over high heat.
  12. Then lower the heat, cover the pan.
  13. Allow to cook till all the water gets absorbed (this will take 18-20 minutes) stirring in between.
  14. Turn off heat.
  15. Finally add chopped coriander leaves, peanuts and give a gentle fluff.
  16. Serve the quinoa veggie upma warm by putting some pomegranate seed on top as it is ( I like this way) or along with any favorite pickle / chutney !


For cooking quinoa perfectly (fluffy texture), the ratio of water to quinoa has to be 2:1.
I love to add sambar powder to enhance the taste of upma here. But this addition one can omit completely. Even any other spice powder can be chosen.
Also the vegetables those are added here are variable. Add according to own preference.
Some dry fruits like cashews and raisins can be added in the tempering part.

Indian Breakfast, Quinoa upma, Vegan breakfast, Vegetarian, cauliflower, beans, green peas, carrot,

Quinoa, Breakfast, Vegan, Gluten free, Vegetable Upma, Upma, South Indian dish


Did you make this recipe?

Tag @firsttimercook on instagram and hashtag it #firsttimercook

You may also follow me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+Instagram and can subscribe for free to get new recipes directly into your inbox 😊

PIN for later :



Hey there !

Myself Sasmita, a techie turns to a food blogger which is reflected in this space.

Recommended Recipes


  1. Mayuri Patel

    I love making quinoa in different ways and making it into an upma is one of them. I love to have as dinner. However, I don't add pomegranate but that's a wonderful idea.

  2. Poonam Bachhav

    Quiona upma with loads of fresh veggies is a treat for sure. I make it the way you have shared here but with curry powder or sometimes pav bhaji masala. Will try with sambar powder next time. Topping it with pomegranate makes it so appealing and delicious too.

  3. Priya Iyer

    The Quinoa Upma looks so delicious and inviting, with loads of winter veggies, garnished with those beautiful red pomegranate arils. I hardly use quinoa, and now you're tempting me to try this out! 🙂

  4. Vasusvegkitchen

    Quinoa veg upma looks very healthy sasmita.My in laws regularly use quinoa in their daily diet. Love to share recipe with her, i loved the part of adding different veggies,pomegranate and flavors of sambhar powder in it, supeb👌.

  5. Swati

    This is so so inviting.. I will love to have such a pretty bowl of upma daily of served like this.. using quinoa instead of rava is a wonderful and healthy choice.Will try your way.

  6. Sujata Roy

    Quinoa upma with fresh vegetables sounds delicious and super healthy. Never used quinoa so don't sure about the taste. But loved this nutritious recipe. Now I will surely give it a try. Loved the use of sambhar masala,it will definitely enhance the taste and flavour.

  7. Archana

    Looks awesome. I love quinoa and upma is amazingly easy to make. Beautifully presented

  8. preethi'scuisine

    Upma with super food quinoa and all the veggies looks so delightful . Nutritious and delicious breakfast.Looks so good.

  9. cookwithrenu

    Loving this quinoa upma with so veggies and the special addition of sambar masala. Will add so much taste to quinoa. Healthy And must try breakfast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *