Thursday, April 18, 2013

Finally! Quinoa!

Probably the first time "Finally! Quinoa!" has ever been said, but I've been hunting for a good quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH!) recipe since my friend Samantha declared that she was going to start eating more complex grains as a New Year's resolution. Oddly, until this past weekend I'd come up with ZIP. I bemoaned my failures to Julia, that "I literally can't find a good quinoa recipe anywhere!" After she pointed out that I'd only looked on Smitten Kitchen (not completely wrong), she started sending me a barrage of potential candidates. The problem I was having with all of the recipes is that quinoa is synonymous with healthy (COMPLEX GRAINS!) and too often, healthy gets mixed up with boring/bland, so that every recipe I found required a lot of vegetable stock and quinoa, and very little flavor otherwise.

UNTIL... I found this recipe for a warm quinoa salad with edamame. Initially, I was skeptical (I'd been burned before), but this ended up being delicious. Simple, bright, citrus-y, and incredibly easy to make. Plus, it has inspired a major enthusiasm for edamame in me! And, John thought it was awesome too, so presumably I wasn't just distracted by the healthy qualities of the quinoa and edamame.


  • 1 cup quinoa, (see Note)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed (10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup drained and diced jarred roasted red peppers, (3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, preferably toasted (see CookingTip)


  1. Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic and begins to crackle, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook gently for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and, without disturbing the quinoa, add edamame. Cover and continue to cook until the edamame and quinoa are tender, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Drain any remaining water, if necessary.
  3. Whisk lemon zest and juice, oil, tarragon and salt in a large bowl. Add peppers and the quinoa mixture. Toss to combine. Divide among 4 plates and top with walnuts.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Note: Quinoa is a delicately flavored grain that was a staple in the ancient Incas' diet. It is available in most natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets. Toasting the grain before cooking enhances its flavor and rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa's natural, bitter protective covering.
  • Cooking Tip: To toast walnuts: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

This has definitely opened me back up to quinoa-- and it should be mentioned that the chilled leftovers make a superb lunch! I think this recipe might be my next experiment now that I'm back in the saddle...

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