Red Quinoa with Roasted Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

by Rachel on September 18, 2012

Red Quinoa with Roasted Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

Quinoa is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium). According to Wikapedia, “it is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds.” Who knew? Quinoa is a complete protein. It’s high in calcium, phosphorus and iron as well as being high in protein, low in fat, and gluten-free. It’s about as close to a perfect food as one can get. Really, we should all be eating quinoa all the time, every day. Chef Anne is convinced that the method of cooking described here (first par-boiling and then steaming) produces the most perfect, nutty, chewy quinoa – ever. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Red Quinoa with Roasted Garlic Herb Vinaigrette (makes 3 cups)

  • 1 ½ cups Red Quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 1 whole head of garlic, top sliced off
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat water in a medium saucepan to boiling. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add quinoa, reduce heat to a fast simmer and allow to simmer uncovered 10-12 minutes. The kernels should just start to separate. Drain but save the cooking liquid. Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place back over the cooking liquid in the medium saucepan and steam the quinoa (tightly covered) for an additional 10-12 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place garlic in center of tinfoil square. Pour olive oil over the garlic. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and dried herbs (if desired). Tightly close the foil. Place garlic in oven and roast for 50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Remove roasted cloves from skins. Place roasted garlic cloves in blender. Add mustard, vinegar, olive oil, paprika and basil. Process until smooth. Add salt to taste.

Toss the cooked quinoa with the chopped chives and ¼ cup dressing. Taste. You might want to add a little additional salt. We added another teaspoon, and a hint of freshly ground black pepper. You can add more dressing if you’re a dressing-aholic (this addiction need not be admitted to in mixed company).

You can let this sit overnight in the fridge and it will improve – or if you can’t wait, eat it immediately.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elliott October 8, 2012 at 8:19 am


I am enjoying your website and recipes as always. I know that you and many others are huge advocates of eating quinoa which is super-healthy, delicious, and nutritious. However, I find myself torn with eating too much of it, knowing that the Bolivians who have eaten it for hundreds of years are now not able to do so because of the high costs.


Rachel October 8, 2012 at 8:28 am


This is indeed a dilemma, especially since many of our other high-protein food options are equally, if not more problematic. Our discussion around the table last night was about how we now eat less red meat because of the global impact raising beef is having on the availability of corn as a food source for poorer countries. Producing beef uses too much water, creates methane gas and removes corn from the food supply. Many fish are over-fished. Chicken is often produced in horrible conditions. As we move away from meat-based proteins we will need to embrace foods like quinoa. The question for me is can quinoa be grown in other countries besides Bolivia? We clearly need to look at the impact of food production broadly so that we can make informed choices about what we consume. Thanks for sharing both the NPR and NY Times links.


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