It isn’t just every side dish I prepare that inspires Mr. C. to regress to bachelor behavior. But last evening this quinoa* recipe brought out the “waste not/want not, eat every last bit of it right out of the pan” in him most often associated with people (especially men) who live alone and do their own cooking. (And I’m not talking about all you guys out there who know how to cook. I’m talking about those for whom cooking ramen is or was a major undertaking!)

So last night as we were starting to package up the leftovers and do the dishes, Mr. C. grabbed the quinoa pan out of my hand, and standing in front of the sink finished every last seed (yes quinoa is a seed rather than a grain) before I could say “like it, do you”? His answer was a big old happy grin and a hearty verbal “oh yah”. (I think he was actually shaking his head yes at the same time too.)

So next time you need a delicious, easy and healthy side dish (Andy’s wonderful sister Katie and her dear husband Rick refer to quinoa as the “side dish of the ancients”), give this recipe a try. Believe me there are times when Mr. C. is all thumbs. And if last night had been one of those times, I’m confident that he would have given this recipe, 10 thumbs up! Thanks Giada for this delightful recipe. (Sorry for the changes I made.)

*Interesting facts and health benefits associated with Quinoa: Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru where it was successfully domesticated about 5,000 years ago. According to the Huffington Post web site, quinoa is high in protein (its protein balance is similar to milk and has more protein than rice, millet, or wheat), is a good source of riboflavin (riboflavin helps reduce frequency of migraine attacks by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells), is alkaline-forming (helps balance the bloods pH level), has only 172 calories per ¼ cup of dry quinoa, is gluten free, and is a complex carbohydrate that helps our bodies maintain a lower glycemic index. (In other words, it’s good for us!)

Quinoa Caution: Quinoa is coated with a naturally occurring toxic substance called saponin.  So always rinse quinoa before cooking. Place the quinoa in a strainer and run cold water over it until the entire soapy residue has been washed away. You can taste test a few seeds; if they still have a bitter taste, run more cold water over them.

  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 1½ c. quinoa
  • ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ c. chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 T. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Rinse and drain quinoa thoroughly in cold water. In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes. (When done, the seed appears soft and translucent and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge.)

Meanwhile combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. When the quinoa is done, pour the olive oil mixture over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Adjust seasoning and serve while still warm.