Simple, easy, Everyday Quinoa with Lemon, Shallot and Herbs – a delicious, healthy side dish that is perfect for potlucks or Sunday meal prep. Vegan, gluten-free and full of flavor!
The other night some of Brian’s guy friends came over for an impromptu gathering on the patio. We grilled up local lamb and farmer’s market veggies and had a fresh green salad, but surprisingly the dish that seemed to get the most notice was this simple, Everyday Quinoa. And if I’m being honest here, I have to admit the quinoa was truly an afterthought, made in haste because I wasn’t quite sure we were going to have enough food to feed a group of hungry men. A week later, when I saw them again, they were still talking about the quinoa. So it got me thinking…
I know by now, everyone pretty much knows how to cook quinoa– for goodness sake, the directions are on the bag. But I wonder, if knowing how to cook it and knowing how to make it taste good are two different things. So I just wanted to share how I make it in case you needed little inspiration in the quinoa making department.
I like to call this Everyday Quinoa, for two reasons- mostly because it’s a basic, simple recipe, that pairs well with so many things, and also because I often make a big batch of it and serve up during the week. It’s also a really easy healthy side dish to bring to a pot luck if in a pinch.
In this recipe, I add sautéed shallot, to both the cooking quinoa and on top as the garnish. Lemon zest gives it a delicious tanginess. Fresh herbs are always a nice addition along with a nut or seed for added texture. But the two most important things in my mind are rinsing the quinoa beforehand ( to remove bitterness) and adding enough salt. The finishing touch, a drizzle of olive oil elevates it even more.
Play around with this and embellish it as you please.
Everyday Quinoa Recipe with Lemon, Shallots and Herbs
A simple easy recipe for Everyday Quinoa with Lemon, Shallot and Herbs- a delicious healthy side dish that is vegan, gluten-free and full of protein. Can be made-ahead…make a big batch on Sunday for weekday meals, or bring to a potluck!
- Yield: 6-8
- Category: Side dish, vegan, gluten-free, healthy side dish
- Method: Stove-top
- Cuisine: American
- 1-2 shallots ( or ¼ of an onion) – very thinly sliced – see notes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed, drained ( rinsing removes bitterness)
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or use 1-2 minced garlic cloves with the shallot)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano ( or italian seasoning, or herbs de Provence, or similar)
- lemon zest from one small lemon,
- sprinkling of fresh herbs ( italian parsley, dill, basil, cilantro)
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds ( optional- other nuts & seeds are ok, or just leave off)
- sautéed shallot ( see notes) or crispy shallots
- drizzle of good olive oil– optional but good.
In a medium pot, over medium heat, sauté the shallot in the oil, until golden and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. If you want, set half aside for the garnish. Add rinsed/drained quinoa, water, salt, cumin, granulated garlic and dried herbs, and give a good stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover well, and cook for 15 minutes. Check to see that quinoa has soaked up all the water. If not, continue cooking 2-5 more minutes. If it has, turn heat off and let it sit covered 5-10 more minutes.
Fluff with a fork, place in a serving dish and toss gently with lemon zest, sprinkle with fresh herbs and, sauted shallots and optional nuts. Don’t over mix.
For extra richness a drizzle of good quality olive oil is really nice touch.
When serving this as a side dish all on its own, I like to use two sautéed shallots, half for cooking with the quinoa, and the other half for sprinkling over the top as a garnish. If batch cooking for the week, you may not need the garnish.
Rinsing the quinoa is imperative. It really does help remove the bitterness.
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