Are you cooking with quinoa yet? If so, you will love this flavorful, yet simple preparation. If not, this is the perfect recipe to get you started! Quinoa is one of those things I get a lot of questions about.  Like how to cook it properly, how to make it taste great, what it can be substituted for.  While quinoa is most often compared to rice, I liken it more to pasta in the sense that you need to flavor it.  You wouldn’t sit down and eat a bowl of plain pasta right–maybe with some butter and pepper, but definitely not just boiled noodles.

Rice on the other hand is a treat just by itself.  White jasmine rice, a nutty brown rice, black wild rice and Indonesian red rice – they are all receptive to many flavor combinations, but even steamed and served alone there is still a complexity of flavor and a simple scoop can be delicious.

So what is quinoa anyway? Quinoa is classified as a gluten-free whole grain but is actually a seed.  A seed which by providing all nine essential amino acids, makes it a complete protein.  A super-food! A super food which is light and fluffy when cooked and easily substituted for rice or couscous.

It’s hard to believe that I have yet to post a quinoa recipe since I cook with it all the time.  So here is an easy side dish to get you started and a great vegetarian entree that was a guest post last year from Blue Bird Kisses – Curried Cauliflower and Quinoa.

Toasted Garlic and Parsley Quinoa




2 Points Plus per serving — Recipe Makes 6 Servings
Serves: 6

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped + more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • couple turns freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice

  1. Rinse quinoa and set aside. Chop parsley.
  2. Use back of knife to smash garlic. Proceed to finely chop.
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add oil. When hot, add in garlic. Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Garlic will begin to brown.
  2. Immediately add quinoa. Continue toasting garlic and quinoa, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add water, salt, black pepper, red pepper and parsley.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil. Stir, cover, turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let sit covered for at least 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, give a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve.