Citrus and herbs are a wonderful complement to quinoa, which happens to be my favorite healthy grain. This quinoa recipe is full of fresh bright lemon flavor and is gluten-free as well as vegan.
What I love about this 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.
The lemon flavor in this quinoa is simply amazing. But I will warn you it does increase if you have leftovers. I found it to be much lemonier (is that a word?) the next day.
Hopefully this side dish will be come one of your new favorites as well.Print
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