Spanish Style Quinoa

 Spanish Style Quinoa the perfect addition to any meal
Happy first day of summer! I wish I could say it is beautiful and sunny and warm but it's dreary and cold and dismal. So typical here until July. However I refuse to wear anything but flip-flops, even when it's raining. I hope you are having a beautiful summer day and your kids are enjoying popsicles and ice cream. My boys are under blankets on the couch at the moment.

Anyway, last weekend I found myself alone in the house for like a day, something that never happens. I immediately turned the television to HGTV so I could watch hours upon hours of House Hunters episodes. Then I made myself a big batch of quinoa! My husband does not consider quinoa a meal or a favorite, but it was just me and HGTV and this dish. Total bliss.

Spanish Style Quinoa figs and saffron
I love Spanish flavors, it reminds me of being in Spain and driving around the countryside. If you've ever driven through the heart of Spain then you know it is filled with olive trees. They have something like 700 million olive trees planted there, the scenery is an endless blur of them. 

The olive influence is apparent in Spanish cuisine with all the olive oil produced there. But saffron and figs also make a big appearance in many Spanish dishes. I have had some of the best and some of the strangest food in my travels through Spain, but the big, bold flavors have always stuck with me.

The olives give this dish a savory and salty taste, but the saffron is apparent in every bite. One would think the figs would play a larger role in sweetness, but they are just a nice background flavor. I would serve this with fish or grilled chicken for a light summer meal. 

Spanish Style Quinoa the perfect side dish
Full of color and flavor it will round out your meal.

Print Recipe

Spanish Style Quinoa

Recipe from: Created by Cathy Pollak for | Serves: 4


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup diced dried mission figs
  • 1/3 cup sliced Spanish olives with pimentos


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Add quinoa and garlic and toast for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan chicken broth. Add water, bay leaf, saffron and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover pan and turn down heat to low, simmering for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add peas, figs and olives. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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12 Comments and 9 Replies

  1. I want to go to Spain with you and drive through the countryside and drink wine and eat olives and this quinoa. Hello, deliciousness and perfect day! Also, I’ll totally weather swapsies with you. You can take this awful 90+ degree CA heat and I’ll gladly take your rain!

    • Cathy 2

      Well now that you put that way…let’s go! And yeah I don’t want 90 degree heat but 75 would be awesome!!

  2. What a great idea to make a Spanish Style Quinoa! I’m totally making this soon :) Hahaha, when i’m alone I watch hours of HGTV too…my fave is Property Brothers and Love It or List It ;) Totally jealous of your boys snuggled under blankets on the couch….i want summer break!!!- being a grownup is no fun.

  3. This is just a huge pile of GORGEOUS! Look at all those colors! I love it! Figs are my absolute favorite fruit. I adore them and I was super happy to see them in this recipe.

  4. Maegan @ The BakerMama 7

    I’m loving all these quinoa recipes! I’m going to start calling you the Quinoa Queen! Seriously, this looks like the perfect summer side dish!

  5. I love quinoa. This one sounds incredible! The flavors going on here are amazing. Making this soon!

  6. I have a friend thats moving to Chicago and I’ve inherited her big container of Quinoa. I have dried mission figs from another recipe. I do believe I better make some of this. Thanks for a timely recipe Cathy. Pinned.

  7. Tieghan 13

    Sorry to hear about the wether, bummer!At least you have this crazy delicious quinoa to cheer you up!! Holy YUM! I love spanish flavors!

  8. Aggie 15

    This looks fantastic!!

  9. Amanda 17

    Oh wow, I bet that was good! I love quinoa and anything Spanish flavored is fabulous!

  10. Quinoa is the go to grain in our house. A few years back I turned to using it instead of rice and have never looked back. I just love the nuttiness that it brings and the fact that it is a whole grain and so good for you. This looks like a great new way to try it!

  11. I love finding new ways to make quinoa, and this looks terrific!

  12. Laura 21

    OMG those peas! This looks so delicious and oh the peas. Can you tell I love peas? :) Pinning now!


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