Quinoa Italiana

Quinoa Italiana with roasted asparagus and red pepper chicken

Ok, I know there’s nothing Italian about quinoa, but boy, does quinoa go well with traditional Italian flavors like tomato, basil and pine nuts. I’ve enjoyed quinoa for years, but usually did it with a southwestern twist. But I wanted to do something totally different, and use familiar flavors to introduce quinoa to the uninitiated…and it worked!

Toasting the quinoa is key. It takes a while (15 min or so) over medium heat in a dry skillet, but most of the time you’re ignoring it and free to do whatever else. It really helps the nutty flavor of quinoa shine. You can toast it ahead of time and keep in a jar for a month or so.

Raw pine nuts are delicious, but roasted…they’re a symphony.

I played with using half regular quinoa, and half of the Inca Red quinoa. And it looked lovely! But the regular quinoa cooked quicker, and the red remained a little crunchy. Everyone seemed to like the crunch factor, but I think I’d stick to one or the other in the future.

Also pictured in the photo are roasted asparagus and red pepper chicken. I’ll have to post those recipes when I get a chance, but to me, the quinoa is the rock star… and many thanks to Natalie, the photographer.

Enjoy, let me know what you think.

Quinoa Italiana (quinoa with an Italian flair)

1 cup quinoa
1/3-1/2 cup of pine nuts
3 Tablespoons oil
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken or veggie broth
2-3 sprigs thyme (optional)
½ cup kalamata or other olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn or coarsely chopped
sea salt
black pepper

Toast quinoa over medium heat in a dry skillet until it starts to smell toasty (about 15 minutes). Stir occasionally or shake skillet. Remove.

Toast pine nuts until slightly browned. Remove to a plate.

Add oil, garlic and a pinch of salt, sauté until the garlic is golden. Add quinoa and stir, add broth and thyme. Bring to a boil and cover, let simmer for 10 minutes. Add olives and pine nuts in after 10 minutes. In about 5 more minutes, the broth should be absorbed. Add tomatoes, black pepper and basil. Enjoy!

~from Cheryl’s kitchen ©2008

About Cheryl Harris

Life played a funny trick on me. I've studied nutrition for years, and much to my surprise, found out that I could manage many of my health issues via diet. I've been GF for years, and I've got a bunch of allergies and sensitivities. But it definitely doesn't keep me from cooking, baking and enjoying my food. Thanks for stopping by.
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13 Responses to Quinoa Italiana

  1. Pingback: Lucky Comestible II (5): Apple-Quinoa Cake « Diet, Dessert and Dogs

  2. Karen says:

    I followed the spring roll link to your blog from SillyYaks, I love to find a new blogger. It is always fun to get ideas and see what everyone else is cooking. I am especially waiting for you to post the recipe for Red Pepper Chicken, looks fabulous!

  3. Hi Karen,

    Thanks! I know, I wish I could hop through and peek into everyone’s kitchen on a little tour, it’s so great that we can share over the web. And this way, no one realizes how messy my kitchen is, either. =)

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  9. sheila says:

    Please make your recipes printer friendly…Thanx

  10. jenny ann says:

    My son has severe Lyme disease, lost way too much weight and I need to find creative ways to help him eat. Dan has to eat gluten free, dairy free and sugar free right now. Meat, veggies and brown rice etc. are what he can have. I understand the basic concept of what is best for him diet wise but am desperate for recipes that not only cover his needs but perk up his appetite as well
    Any suggestions??
    The southwest Quinoa and Black Bean Salad sounds great, can’t wait to try it.
    Thank you.

  11. Donna Cochrane says:

    Just got your menu plan ( my first !) and was looking it over.
    I am going to try the Quinoa Italiana, but I have to ask, what is that with the tomato sauce on it? Looks like chicken….but not sure. hmm.
    I find the pictures helpful too, for ideas. You know when you have prepared 25 yrs. of meals or so, it is just nice when someone else does the thinking for you 🙂


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