Mediterranean Quinoa with Caramelized Onions

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Now that cooler, darker weather is here, I’m craving dishes like this – easy dinners that come together in one pot, full of flavor, eaten out of a bowl, comforting and most of all – satisfying.

This particular dish isn’t something I have made before, it’s more of a, “what ingredients do I have that would work?” kind of scenario. Working with what I have on hand is often my favorite kind of inspiration!

The flavors here are mostly Mediterranean, complementing each other nicely; a nice briny flavor from the olives, a subtle tartness from the sun-dried tomatoes, sweetness from the caramelized onions, a bit of a kick from the chilies finished with just the right balance of herbs and spices give this dish its personality.

Don’t get turned off by the cooking time, this is a one-pot meal with minimal steps and mostly hands off cooking time. Once you do the prep work (all 10 minutes of it), you just need to have the patience to caramelize the onions, then you toss everything in and let it cook for a little under half of an hour. If you have a hungry family to feed and want this for a weeknight dinner, make it a day ahead of time and reheat to serve.

I meant this to be a Vegan / Vegetarian entree served alongside some additional vegetables like thisthis or this. It would also be a great side dish (cut the serving size, of course) alongside Salmon or Roast Chicken.


  • I always try to buy unsulphured sun dried tomatoes. Whole Foods Market’s 365 Brand is pretty cheap and answers the call. Basically, you just want sun-dried tomatoes, no oil, no weird additives, preservatives or anything you can’t pronounce.
  • Always rinse Quinoa unless it says “Pre-Rinsed”.  I usually use a mesh colander but any fine colander or strainer will do.   One reader even uses a coffee filter!
  • If you don’t have dried red chilies, use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
  • I used a combination of bean cooking liquid (1 1/4 cups) vegetable broth (1 cup) and water (3/4 cup). You can really use any combination you want but you will get a better flavor with bean broth or vegetable broth.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Mediterranean Quinoa with Caramelized Onions
8 Points Plus Per Serving -- Serves 6 -- Individual Serving Size is 1 Heaping Cup
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1.5 cups Quinoa, rinsed if needed
  • 2 whole dried red chilies
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram (or oregano)
  • 1.5 cups (or 1 14.5-ounce can) chickpeas (rinsed and drained if canned)
  • 1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water and sliced
  • ½ cup (or 25) pitted and halved kalamata olives
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, bean cooking broth and/or water (see NOTE)
  1. Cover sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water by about 2". Allow to soak while you prep the remaining ingredients. Slice Kalamata olives in half and set aside.
  2. Rinse and drain chickpeas (if using canned). Rinse Quinoa if it's not "pre-rinsed" (if you have any doubt, just rinse it). Measure spices, broth and remove marjoram leaves from stem. Finely chop, measure 1 T and set aside.
  3. Peel and quarter onions, thinly slice.
  4. Finally, drain the sun-dried tomatoes from their soaking liquid and slice into small pieces.
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and then sliced onions.
  2. Caramelize onions, stirring occasionally for 45 to 55 minutes. I used a non-stick pot but if you use a regular pot, you may need to add a sprinkle of water a couple times so the onions don't stick. You want to cook them until they are golden brown with a bit of dark spots. Add Quinoa and dried chilies and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Toss in olives, sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas, marjoram, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and add broth. Raise heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, immediately cover, lower to a bubbling simmer and cook 20 to 25 minutes until liquid is evaporated. Try not to remove the lid if possible during the cooking. Remove from heat and allow to sit undisturbed (do not remove lid) for 10 full minutes. Serve hot with a bit of fresh marjoram or parsley and Enjoy!


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  1. says

    This sounds delicious, I can’t wait to make it. Have you ever used the red/black quinoa for this recipe. I might have some white in the cupboard, but it seems I lean more toward the red or black stuff. It’s a tad heartier. Just wondering. :) I am so grateful that my sister found your site and shared. We are nearly 2 years into our WW journey, and whole foods rule! Win Win with your cooking ideas!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Michele! I think the mixed quinoa would be great in this. Thank you so much and I hope you had a great holiday :)

    • EverydayMaven says

      I enjoyed these leftovers for a couple of days and added a different vegetable on the side each time – it was very versatile!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Me too Joanne! I am all about meals in a bowl this season. So glad you are safe and sound from the storm! xo

  2. Eha says

    Since I have loved quinoa since the day I first used it not so many years ago, I am alwys thrilled to see another way of prepping it! Thank you for a recipe I have already bookmarked :) !

    • EverydayMaven says

      Thanks Liz – it was really great and I am happy to say that there are leftovers which I am looking forward to for lunch :)

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