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Easy Turmeric Quinoa Recipe

Aromatic and alluring, this nutritious Turmeric Quinoa Recipe is so easy to make, with 7 easy-to-find main ingredients. And, it pairs well with everything from veggies to meats.

Turmeric quinoa in a gold pan with cardamom pods and cloves scattered around.

When it comes to versatility, quinoa tops my list. It is absolutely delicious and satisfying as the main entrée, like in this enchilada quinoa, or as a side dish, like this Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas.

Today’s quinoa recipe is one that is a terrific side dish.

It can be served with curry or with your favorite baked or grilled veggies and meats.

I simply love this Turmeric Quinoa because:

  • It is versatile,
  • It is so tasty,
  • It is a vegan/plant-based recipe,
  • It is budget-friendly,
  • It is highly aromatic with saffron, garlic, cardamom pods, and whole cloves used to make it.
  • And, it is made with 7 main ingredients.
8 Ingredients to make yellow quinoa with saffron and turmeric.

What are the ingredients to make this turmeric quinoa?

You will need the following 7 main ingredients and 1 optional one:

  1. Quinoa,
    I used white quinoa for this recipe. If you have tricolored quinoa or red quinoa, you could use that, but keep in mind that you might not be able to see the yellow (from the turmeric and saffron) as you do in this recipe.
  2. Garlic,
    I used fresh garlic cloves. All I did was peel the garlic and grate it into the pan. I grated the garlic, so the flavor would disperse evenly among the quinoa as they cooked.
  3. Vegetable stock,
    It isn’t imperative that you use vegetable stock to make this turmeric quinoa. In fact, I have made this dish often with water and a couple of pinches of salt added to it. Water and vegetable stock would work equally. Though, the stock does impart a tad bit more flavor to this quinoa recipe.
  4. Saffron,
    I picked up a small jar of saffron strands at Trader Joe’s, but I have seen them at several other grocery stores as well. A pinch is all that’s needed for this recipe.
  5. Turmeric,
    I used ground turmeric for this. But, if you find some fresh turmeric, please use that. The general rule is that when you use a fresh version of a spice, then you would use 3 to 4 times more of the fresh version as you would the powdered version. For example, as this recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, you would use 1.5 teaspoons instead.
  6. Cardamom pods,
    The role the cardamom (and cloves) play in this recipe is to ever so subtly flavor the dish while infusing it with a mouthwatering aroma. To me, this is easier to do with whole cardamom pods. Most stores have cardamom pods sold in the spice section. But, if you cannot find cardamom pods near you, then Amazon is sure to have them. I would try to refrain from using cardamom powder.
  7. Whole cloves,
    Just like with the cardamom pods, the whole cloves aromatize this turmeric quinoa beautifully, while adding a hint of flavor. As with the cardamom, you should find this in the spice section or on Amazon. And, also as with the cardamom pods, using ground cloves would alter the taste of this immensely.
  8. And, optional, curry leaves
    Curry leaves are a totally optional addition to this recipe. I was at a South Asian Store called Cherians, picking up some groceries for my mom, when I came across some. Curry leaves are very different from curry powder. Curry leaves are loaded with fiber and are said to lower blood glucose levels. This article has a ton of information on curry leaves, in case you want to know more. They are highly aromatic and just a few go a long way. But, if you don’t use them, this turmeric quinoa will be just as aromatic and tasty.
Easy saffron turmeric quinoa in an overhead photo.

Once you have all your ingredients, it is just a matter of adding them all to a pan and bringing them to a boil. Then, let it all simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. After that, a quick fluff and this dish is ready to enjoy!

There is very minimal prep involved in making this dish. All that’s needed is to peel and grate the garlic. Other than that, it’s just a matter of measuring.

I enjoyed this turmeric quinoa with some pinto bean curry and some oven-roasted okra – both recipes will be up next week.

A plate with Turmeric quinoa and pinto bean curry and some air-fryer okra.
How to store this turmeric quinoa?

If you have any leftovers, you can store this turmeric quinoa in an airtight container, in your refrigerator, for about 5-7 days.

Can you double this recipe?

Yes, you can double or triple this recipe to make as large a batch of quinoa as you need.

Can you freeze this turmeric quinoa?

Yes, you can freeze this turmeric quinoa. Just make sure to seal it in airtight containers to avoid freezer burn. Frozen quinoa should keep for about 5 or 6 months.

Turmeric quinoa in a gold pan with cardamom pods and cloves scattered around.

Easy Turmeric Quinoa

Yield: 3 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Aromatic and alluring, this nutritious Turmeric Quinoa Recipe is so easy to make, with 7 easy-to-find main ingredients. And, it pairs well with everything from veggies to meats.


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or water + a 1/4 tsp water)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cardamom pods (9-10 pods)
  • 6-7 whole cloves
  • OPTIONAL 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 cup quinoa


  1. Add the vegetable stock (or water) to a pan over a stovetop set to medium-high heat.
  2. Peel the garlic, and grate it into the pan with vegetable stock or water.
  3. Add the turmeric, the whole cloves, the cardamom pods, saffron, quinoa, and curry leaves (if you are using them), and bring to a boil.
  4. When the stock starts to boil, reduce the heat on the stovetop to medium and cover the pan.
  5. Let the quinoa boil in the flavored stock for 15 minutes.
  6. When time is up, remove the pan from the stovetop, uncover and fluff with a fork.
  7. Serve as is, or sprinkle with a few green peas.


*There is minimal prep with this dish. Only peeling and grating the garlic.

*If you do not have vegetable stock, then use water seasoned with a pinch or 2 of salt.

Nutrition Information
Yield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 97Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 451mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 4g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an approximation only. Savory Spin makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. Please do consult a professional nutritionist for more accurate information. Please do keep in mind that prep times, cooking times, etc, are provided as guidelines as there are so many variables at play.

Did you make this recipe?

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Easy Pumpkin Curry Recipe - Savory Spin

Thursday 7th of September 2023

[…] can serve this curry with some black bean curry and some roti, white rice, cauliflower rice, or turmeric quinoa for a delicious and wholesome, plant-based […]

David @ Spiced

Tuesday 27th of September 2022

Air fryer okra!? Now you've got my attention! I do love okra, but it doesn't get the respect it deserves. Looking forward to that one! In the meantime, though, this turmeric quinoa is a fun twist off of the rice version. It would make for an excellent side dish, and I bet it reheats well, too!


Saturday 24th of September 2022

What a great idea for a delicious and healthy side dish Shashi. I often cook recipes that include Quinoa, but don't often use it as a side dish. Thank you! Hope you are well over there!

John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 21st of September 2022

What a terrific looking side! Tons of flavor. TONS! :-) Thanks.


Wednesday 21st of September 2022

Beautiful side dish, all of my guests loved it. Thank you for always having the best ideas!

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