My New Love for Quinoa

Image courtesy of Romulo Yanes

I have started a new love affair with quinoa! It’s quick, easy and super delicious. I recently invited a friend over for dinner and decided to experiment with this pasta, rice, couscous, carb substitute that is apparently all the rage in NYC foodie hotspots. Never one to follow the trends and yet curious about its nutty flavors, I decided to purchase a small box from my local grocery. I was making salt and pepper shrimp and thought this might make a nice accompaniment. Quinoa is grain that well isn’t a grain; it’s a seed that is part of the grass family, originating in South America. The fact that it is gluten free and very high in protein means you can serve it to almost any guest. Now my dinner guests are generally not afraid to throw around their food opinion (good or bad) and this was no exception. Racking my brain on how to serve my quinoa side, I came across a simple recipe for lemon-scented quinoa. It took no time at all and was such a hit that at my next dinner party my friend requested (or insisted) that I make the exact same recipe again. Quinoa is also scrumptious with toasted almonds and dried cranberries or simply on its own. However you choose to do it, it’s sure to be a hit.

Lemon-Scented Quinoa

1 cup quinoa

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve over same pot above 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over simmering water until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Transfer quinoa to a bowl and stir in oil, zest, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Serve, eat and enjoy!

Happy Eating,


Recipe courtesy of:

Gourmet, November 2007, Lillian Chou


  • Love quinoa as well — great for driving down them carbs. But your cooking method is unnecessarily complicated — it’s easy as couscous.

    Try this (for 1 cup quinoa):
    – rinse
    – bring to boil in pot with 1.5 cups water
    – cover, turn heat to low simmer, 15 minutes (like with rice, don’t peek!)
    – turn off heat and leave covered for 5 min. (no peeking!)
    – fluff, add stuff (salt, olive oil, lemon juice, diced tomatoes, spinach, etc.), eat!

    Quinoa is pretty forgiving with its texture, so it’s not hard to get it cooked through but still maintain a nice bite.

  • Hola! Thanks for the tip, I will pass it on to the writer:)

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