When you take your first bite of Lemon Quinoa, your taste buds are in for a delightful surprise. It combines the nutty undertones of fluffy quinoa with a vibrant burst of tangy lemon, creating a harmonious balance of flavors that is light, refreshing, and so delicious.
What I love about this Lemon Quinoa recipe the most is how light it is. Side dishes like risotto or au gratin potatoes are great in the winter time, but once Spring rolls around, I tend to like side dishes that are on the lighter side.
And this quinoa recipe will not disappoint, I promise. It is super simple to make and compliments so many dishes. Along with being high in protein, it is gluten-free and vegan as well. The lemon flavor makes this side dish light and bright.
Important Step Before Cooking Quinoa:
Here is a quick lesson on quinoa that will make or break your recipe. Each grain of quinoa is covered in a soapy substance called saponin. If the quinoa is not rinsed beforehand it will taste bitter and wrong and you won’t like it, trust me. All it takes is one extra step and a few minutes, but will drastically affect the finished product.
How To Rinse and Cook Quinoa:
- Measure the amount of quinoa you are going to cook and put it into a large bowl. Fill it with clean water. Let it soak for a few minutes. Then, using a whisk or spoon, swish the quinoa around until you see a soapy residue come out of the quinoa. You might have to do this for a few minutes to get all the saponin off.
- Next, grab a fine strainer and rinse the quinoa with fresh water. Strain the water out.
- Not ready yet …. once the quinoa is rinsed it still needs to be sautéed in a little olive oil BEFORE any liquid gets added. This gives it a nice nutty flavor, dries it out a bit but also allows the grain to absorb some of the oil and coat it.
- Then it’s as simple as making rice. You can use plain water just like rice or chicken/vegetable broth for more flavor. I choose to use vegetable broth personally because I think it adds a nice flavor.
- Quinoa takes about 12-15 minutes to cook and then herbs and citrus can be added.
What to Serve with Lemon Quinoa:
Lemon Quinoa pairs amazingly well with a range of dishes, complementing their flavors and adding a refreshing element to the meal. Here are a few delicious options to serve alongside Lemon Quinoa:
- Grilled Salmon: The citrusy notes of Lemon Quinoa beautifully complement the rich, buttery flavors of grilled salmon, creating a balanced and satisfying combination.
- Grilled Vegetables: Roasting vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, onions brings out their natural sweetness, which pairs harmoniously with the tangy lemon flavors of the quinoa.
- Herb-Roasted Chicken: The aromatic herbs and juicy tenderness of herb-roasted chicken are elevated by the vibrant, citrusy profile of Lemon Quinoa, creating a delightful harmony of flavors.
- Greek Salad: The fresh and crisp ingredients of a Greek salad, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese, provide a wonderful contrast to the zesty quinoa, creating a light and refreshing combination.
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers: The succulent grilled shrimp, when served alongside Lemon Quinoa, creates a burst of flavors that will transport your taste buds to a seaside feast.
LEMON QUINOA RECIPE
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A lovely lemony quinoa side dish that goes great with chicken, beef or fish. You can even add it to cooked oatmeal for a great breakfast.
- 1 Cup Quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained
- 1 Small Shallot, thinly sliced or diced
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced or grated
- 1 ½ Cups Vegetable or Chicken broth
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2–3 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley (add some fresh Thyme or Oregano if desired)
- NOTE: You must rinse and strain quinoa to remove the outer film before cooking!
- Heat a 12″ skillet over low/med heat. Add a Tablespoon of oil to the pan and allow it to heat up. Add the diced shallot and cook until softened over very low heat. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the quinoa and allow it to dry out over heat, approximately 2-3 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan frequently.
- Add chicken or veg broth to the pan, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes shaking the pan over heat, never lifting the lid. Take it off the heat, remove the lid and place a clean kitchen towel or cloth over the pot to finish steaming and for 5 minutes.
- Add the parsley, lemon zest and juice
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes