quinoa upma

Remember the time I introduced you to all of the essential spices for Indian food? Now is your chance to put some of these ingredients to use!

This dish is one of my favorites; in fact, I have been eating it for lunch every day this week. I especially like it because it is a one pot dish. So simple!

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If you have not heard of it before, upma is a common Indian dish typically eaten for breakfast (or really, any meal of the day) and is usually made of cream of wheat. However, consistent with our theme of gluten-free/clean eats, I am sharing with you a version of upma made of quinoa. Our favorite gluten-free alternative!

To be honest with you, I stole this recipe idea from my mom. But don’t all of the best recipes come from our moms?

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Quinoa Upma (Makes 4 servings)


  • 3 tsp clarified butter (also known as ghee)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal*
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cashews (raw or roasted)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water + 1/2 cup more if necessary
  • 1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon and chopped cilantro for garnish


In a medium or large pot, heat clarified butter over medium-high heat and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, and asafoetida. When the spices start to crackle and pop, add the frozen veggies. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the quinoa and 2 cups of water. The quinoa should be completely covered with water. If more water is needed, add the additional 1/2 cup. Add the turmeric, black pepper, salt, and cashews to the pot. Cover the pot and allow the quinoa to cook until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the quinoa upma. Garnish with chopped cilantro prior to serving.

I personally think this dish goes best with a spicy mango or lemon pickle and a side of yogurt!


*Urad dal is a type of lentil. For this recipe, it is optional. However, if you want to use it, it is found in the lentil section of an international-friendly grocery store, any local Asian/Indian grocery store, or Amazon.


3 thoughts on “quinoa upma

  1. Pingback: cucumber raita |

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