Toasted Quinoa with Smoky Tomato Sauce with Vegan, Vegetarian, and Omnivore Toppings

Hello! Today’s post is the second recipe for Menu 3: Don’t Fritter it Away. We started this menu with a veggie-forward appetizer, Zucchini and Green Pea Fritters. For the main event, we’re serving up this Toasted Quinoa with Smoky Tomato Sauce and a whole host of toppings that range from vegan to pescatarian to full on carnivore.

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The quinoa is super simple and takes only a few minutes of prep time. The tomato sauce is also easy to whip up and is made smoky courtesy of smoked paprika. The sauce can be ahead of time.

With these two recipes as the base, you then choose from the toppings listed or think up your own! What you’ll include will of course be dependant on your diet and what you like to eat. Wherever you sit on the vegan to omni spectrum, there’s a lot of possibilities, so I’m going to leave it to you to have fun trying different combinations. My one caveat though is to avoid adding too much salt as you make the toppings – I’d probably add the salt to my plate at the very end if you think it needs it.


PS – Dessert is Chocolate Cardamom Pudding! If you are looking for other plant-based menus with omni-friendly options, don’t forgot to check out Menu 1: Chili Night or Menu 2: Thai One On. And if you’re wondering, what’s behind this frenzy of menu-making, please check out About not not.

PSS – I love to hear from you! I so appreciate your comments and feedback, and your shares on Facebook and comments or likes on my  Instagram feed.

Toasted Quinoa

Makes about 4 servings

Toasting the quinoa adds a nice layer of nuttiness.


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water (or follow the ratio for quinoa to water on your quinoa bag)


  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan until hot. Add the quinoa and toast it, stirring every minute or so, for about 5 minutes until the quinoa is getting browner and starting to smell nutty.
  2. Slowly and carefully add the water to the quinoa – you’ll want to stand back and pour the water slowly, as the hot quinoa and pan will make the water bubble up and possibly splatter so proceed with caution.
  3. Cook the quinoa per your package instructions, usually it takes about 12 minutes for the water to be absorbed.

Smoky Tomato Sauce

This will make more than enough for 4 people. Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for a few days.


Note: Don’t fret if you don’t have exactly 2 cups of potatoes or 680 ml of tomatoes. Just keep the ratio similar and it will be fine.

  • 2 medium-sized potatoes (about 2 cups worth), cubed
  • 680 ml crushed strained tomatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk or any plant or animal milk if not vegan


  1. Bowl the potatoes until very soft and then drain the water and return the potatoes to the pot.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and puree using a stick or immersion blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning as desired.
  3. Heat over medium to low heat while working on the rest of the meal.


So as I mentioned above, the quinoa and sauce are the base and then you add any toppings that you like. Below are some suggestions, with recipes as necessary, for food that will pair well with the Smoky Tomato Sauce. Just remember to be judicious with adding salt as you make your toppings.

These are listed in order from vegan to carnivore.

  • avocado
  • roasted chickpeas (recipe below)
  • pan-fried corn (recipe below)
  • roasted peppers
  • roasted tomatoes
  • Macedonian feta
  • poached or fried egg(s)
  • garlic prawns (recipe below)
  • bacon

Roasted Chickpeas

If you’re making the Zucchini and Green Pea Fritters you need some of the chickpea liquid (aquafaba) for those, so don’t pour the water down the drain – aka fritter it away!


  • 1 19 ounce can of chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more of smoked sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the chickpea water for other recipes. If you aren’t making another recipe in the next couple of days, freeze the liquid and use 3 tablespoons to replace an egg in many types of baked goods such as muffins and cakes.
  3. Put the chickpeas on a clean tea towel, fold the towel over the chickpeas and press out the water. You may need to use 2 tea towels for this. The drier the better but don’t worry if they are still a bit wet. Some of the chickpea skins may start to shed a bit. You can anal retentively pick these off if you want and you have the time. Sometimes I do this, but it’s not really necessary from a flavour standpoint!
  4. Put the chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until crunchy.
  5. Put the chickpeas into a small bowl and add in the olive oil and sea salt to taste. {Remember to be judicious with the salt if you are adding other salty toppings.} Set aside. Snack on a few if you want. They are really yummy right out of the oven.

Pan-Fried Corn

This is a quick and easy alternative to boiling your frozen corn kernels! The quantities are dependant on how many people want corn and what other toppings you are including.


  • frozen corn
  • olive oil
  • (optional) butter or vegan butter sub


  1. In a frying pan (cast iron, if possible), add olive oil, or half olive oil and {vegan} butter and the frozen corn.
  2. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the corn is heated through.
  3. Crank the heat up for a minute or so, until one side of the corn has a nice toasty appearance.

Garlic Prawns


  • prawns
  • olive oil
  • butter, optional
  • garlic to taste


  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil, or a combo of olive oil and butter.
  2. Cook the prawns for about 2 minutes or until pink on one side.
  3. Add crushed garlic to taste.
  4. Turn the prawns over and cook for about 2 more minutes until cooked through.

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