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Quina Lentil Upma 3
Veggie-loaded Quinoa & Split Chickpea Upma
Author -Traffic Light Cook
Start your day with this healthy Indian breakfast of veggie-loaded quinoa & split chickpea upma. This vegan, gluten-free breakfast is full of Indian spice flavors and starts your day on an energetic note.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Breakfast, Lunch
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5
Calories 244 kcal


  • 1/2 cup split chickpeas (channa daal, dry, can sub with dried yellow split peas)
  • 1 cup water (to cook split chickpeas)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 1-1/2 scant cup water* (to cook quinoa)
  • 1 tsp avocado oil (or sub with any other high-smoking point oil)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 red chillies** (dry)
  • 1 green chilli (finely minced, can sub with jalapeno peppers)
  • 10 curry leaves*** (fresh or dried)
  • 1 white onion (medium, ~1 cup, finely chopped, can sub with any other variety)
  • 8 green beans (around 1/3 cup finely chopped, fresh)
  • 1/2 red peppers (or any other color, about 1/2 medium, finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (small about 1/3 cup, finely chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder ( or to taste, can sub with equal amount cayenne pepper, optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried shredded unsweetened coconut (even better, fresh grated coconut in equal amount)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 2 tbsp cashews (halved, toasted, can sub with toasted pumpkin seeds)


To prepare the split chickpeas

  • Soak the split chickpeas overnight or for at least four hours prior to making this recipe. Rinse under running water and add to a small heavy-bottom pan with one cup water and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. To check for doneness, chickpeas should be cooked through, but still be firm and hold their shape. Transfer the cooked chickpeas to a fine-mesh sieve and let the excess water drain. 

To prepare the quinoa

  • Soak quinoa overnight or for 3-4 hours (optional). Rinse (soaked or not soaked) quinoa well in a fine-mesh sieve under running water. Add to a heavy-bottom pot with 1.5 cups of water. Cook uncovered till all the water is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside. 

To assemble the upma

  • Heat avocado oil in a wide-mouth pan. Test with a couple of mustard seeds--the seeds should start to crackle. Once the oil is at the right temperature, add dry red chillies, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chillies. stir to mix the seasoning. 
  • Add finely chopped onion and salt to the seasoning and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add a teaspoon or two of water if the onion starts sticking to the pan. Add the finely chopped carrots, beans, and peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until cook through and soft. 
  • Add the cooked split chickpeas and red chilli powder-- stir to mix well with the veggie mixture. Add the cooked quinoa and mix well. Stir in the unsweetened dried coconut and lemon juice. Stir to mix well. Immediately take the pot off the stove. 
  • Toast the cashew halves either in a toaster oven or in an iron-skillet over stovetop. Garnish the upma with toasted cashews and serve hot with cilantro-mint chutney. ENJOY!


*If you have soaked the quinoa, 1-1/3 cup of water should be enough. 
**omit chilies if you don't like heat in your food
***If unable to find curry leaves, it's totally ok to replace with cilantro. However, you will add cilantro toward the end of the cooking process; curry leaves are added at the beginning. 
Make it heart-healthy and diabetes friendly:
Reduce salt to 1/2 tsp (use kosher salt) and add 1 more tbsp of lemon juice.
Omit dried unsweetened coconut. 


Serving: 1cupCalories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 10gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 399mgPotassium: 552mgFiber: 9gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2750IUVitamin C: 86.6mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 2.9mg
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