Instant Pot Lemon Quinoa (South Indian Style)

This South Indian style Lemon Quinoa is flavored with ginger, mustard seeds, curry leaves and cooked in the Instant Pot and makes a wholesome vegan meal.
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Here’s a fun take on the traditional south Indian Lemon Rice- this Lemon Quinoa has the same flavors as the rice but is more wholesome and protein-packed! Its a one-pot, vegan meal which requires minimal prep-work and can be easily made on busy weeknights.

white bowl with yellow color quinoa topped with peanuts, with a wedge of lemon in the background along with a bowl of peanuts

Quinoa is something I have grown to like over the years. At first, I wasn’t a fan but then I developed the palate for it and now I enjoy it in various forms.

Sarvesh on the other hand is still not a fan. However, now he does eat it when I mix -in some flavors with the quinoa.

Like this Mexican Quinoa , Quinoa Khichdi or this Lemon Quinoa.

This Lemon Quinoa is another way in which I enjoy quinoa these days. It’s requires few ingredients and is easy to make in the Instant Pot.

Ever since I have had my Instant pot, I have never really cooked quinoa on stove-top. It takes zero monitoring and

South Indian style Lemon Quinoa

✔ is flavored with curry leaves, ginger, lemon juice and lots of peanuts!

✔ is vegan and can be easily made gluten-free.

✔ can be eaten for breakfast or lunch.

✔ served at room temperature making it ideal for lunch boxes or picnics.

I flavor this quinoa exactly in the same way that I make my lemon rice.

Swapping rice with quinoa makes the dish protein packed and wholesome.

Ingredients

ingredients for lemon quinoa arranged on a board

Quinoa: I have used white quinoa but you can use red or tricolor quinoa as well.

Spices: this recipe used whole spice like mustard seeds and hing and turmeric for color and flavor.

Lemon juice: this since is lemon quinoa, I recommend using fresh lemon juice. Do not use bottled version.

Peanuts: the crunchy roasted peanuts add a lot of texture and flavor to this dish. You can add as much as you like.

Method

1- Rinse 1 cup quinoa using a strainer for a minute. This is important and helps remove the bitterness, you can skip this step if using pre-rinsed quinoa. Set it aside. Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot. Once the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and then add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds.

Let the seeds pop, and then add 1/2 teaspoon each of chana dal and urad dal. Cook for 30 seconds or so until the dal starts changing color.

2- Add 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, 10-12 curry leaves, 1 sliced green chili and generous pinch of hing. Cook for 30 seconds or so.

3- Then add the rinsed quinoa to the pot along with 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water (240 ml + 30 ml= 270 ml). If using 8 qt Instant Pot or if you prefer softer quinoa and want the texture to be like soft rice, add additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) water here. The total water in that case would be 330 ml.

4- Also add 2 to 2 & 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice.

step by step picture collage of making lemon quinoa in instant pot

5-Add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and salt to taste, around 1/2 teaspoon. Stir everything and close the pot.

6- Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.

7- Open the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

8- Add in 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts. You can taste test and add more lemon juice if needed at this point.

step by step picture collage of making lemon quinoa in instant pot

Serving Suggestions

This lemon quinoa is best served at room temperature. I usually eat it with pickle on the side. You can also eat it with a chutney.

This is one of those recipes that you can make in literally no time, the prep time is only like 5 minutes, the pressure cooker does most of the work here.

If you are looking for new ways to flavor quinoa, then give this recipe a try. It’s easy, wholesome and the lemon flavor makes it perfect for summer!

Quinoa to Water Ratio

1 cup quinoa with 1 & 1/4 cup water results in the perfect quinoa where all grains are separate. So that’s why in this recipe the total liquid used is 1 & 1/4 cup (1 cup + 2 tablespoons water + 2 tablespoons lemon juice).

However, if you prefer softer quinoa like soft rice OR if you use an 8qt- please add additional 1/4 cup water. 1 cup quinoa to 1 & 1/2 cup water results in a softer quinoa and also since 8qt are bigger pots, less amount of water can result in a burn message especially in the newer models.

Tips & Notes

  • Skip hing to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Use additional 1/4 cup water for softer quinoa. Adding extra water will also work better if you are making this for next day lunch-box since extra water will make it stay softer.
bowl of quinoa garnished with lemon wedge, curry leaves

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Instant Pot Lemon Quinoa

white bowl with yellow color quinoa topped with peanuts, with a wedge of lemon in the background along with a bowl of peanuts
Manali
This South Indian style Lemon Quinoa is flavored with ginger, mustard seeds, curry leaves and cooked in the Instant Pot and makes a wholesome vegan meal.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3
Calories 314 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa 185 grams
  • 1 tablespoon oil 15 ml, I used avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chana dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal dhuli
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 green chili sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon hing
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water 240 ml + 30 ml, add additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) for softer quinoa or if you have an 8qt IP
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 30 ml
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts roasted

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the quinoa using a strainer for a minute. This is important and helps remove the bitterness, you can skip this step if using pre-rinsed quinoa. Set it aside. Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot. Once the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and then add the mustard seeds.
  • Let the seeds pop, and then add the chana dal and urad dal. Cook for 30 seconds or so until the dal starts changing color.
  • Add chopped ginger, curry leaves, sliced green chili and generous pinch of hing. Cook for 30 seconds or so.
  • Then add the rinsed quinoa to the pot along with 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water (240 ml + 30 ml= 270 ml). If using 8 qt Instant Pot or if you prefer softer quinoa and want the texture to be like soft rice, add additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) water here. The total water in that case would be 330 ml.
    Also add 2 to 2 & 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  • Add turmeric and salt to taste. Stir everything and close the pot. Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add in the roasted peanuts. You can taste test and add more lemon juice if needed at this point.
    Serve lemon quinoa with pickle.

Stove-top Instructions

  • Cook quinoa according to instructions on the package on stove-top. Fluff it and then let it cool down. Once cooled transfer it to a large bowl. Add salt, lemon juice and mix.
  • To a small pan on medium heat, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop, and then add the chana dal and urad dal. Cook for 30 seconds or so until the dal starts changing color. Add the green chili, ginger and saute for few seconds until ginger starts changing color. Add the curry leaves, stir and then add the hing and turmeric, stir and remove pan from heat. Transfer the tempering to the cooled quinoa and mix the seasoning well with the quinoa. Add roasted peanuts and mix. Serve lemon quinoa with pickle.

Notes

  • Skip hing to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Use additional 1/4 cup water for softer quinoa. Adding extra water will also work better if you are making this for next day lunch-box since extra water will make it stay softer.

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 11gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 449mgPotassium: 400mgFiber: 6gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 126IUVitamin C: 72mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

8 thoughts on “Instant Pot Lemon Quinoa (South Indian Style)

  1. 5 stars
    Made it now a handful of times and it has become my go-to lunch when I am in no mood to cook days You are an amazing chef!

  2. I’m confused. Every source I read indicates that both urad dal dhuli and chana dal take at least 12 minutes at high pressure to cook. So how do they actually get cooked in only 2 minutes??? Thanks very much!

    1. first of all,these dals add crunch in the traditional lemon rice, so they are really not supposed to be “super soft”. Second, 2 minutes is the pressure cook time, pot takes time to come to pressure and them it also takes time to release pressure (10 minutes+). All this time is more than enough! hope that helps

      1. Thanks very much! Just wanted to make sure before I possibly made something inedible! ????

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Manuli,

    I made this dish today and it is so good. Thanks for posting it. Will make it again and again.
    Alonna

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