Recipes » Main Dish » Quinoa Chickpea Biryani
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Cooking the quinoa with cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves gives it an extra depth and warmth that perfectly complements the rich and fragrant masala spice blend


  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Biryani Masala

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 10–12 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cloves
  • 4 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp nutmeg


  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves

Chickpea Sauce

  • 2 red onions, sliced and divided
  • 1 tsp Biryani Masala
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint


Biryani Masala

  • 1. In a dry pan, toast the spices over medium heat for 3–5 minutes.
  • 2. In a blender or grinder, process the toasted spices into a powder.


  • 1. In a medium pot, mix all the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • 2. Cover and lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for at least 20 minutes, or until the liquid is gone.
  • 3. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.


  • 1. In a pan, sauté one of the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden brown, approximately 10–15 min. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable broth to caramelize the onions. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • 2. In a shallow pan, heat a tablespoon of vegetable broth, add the Biryani Masala and sauté for 15 seconds, or until the spices become fragrant.
  • 3. Add the other sliced onion and sauté until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for one more minute.
  • 4. Add chickpeas, tomato paste, salt, half of the caramelized onions from Step 1, and the remaining vegetable broth. Stir to combine, and cook for 5 minutes (the texture should be like a curry; if necessary, add a bit of water).
  • 5. Stir in the quinoa and cook for 15 minutes.
  • 6. Add lemon juice and mint. Let it cool down completely before serving.
  • 7. Serve topped with cilantro and the rest of the caramelized onions.

Cooking Tips

  • 1. Serve with tahini or plant-based yogurt.

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