Early Summer Quinoa Recipe

Don’t skimp on the herbs in this healthy and light quinoa dish, where the greens shine by adding color and unique flavors to those protein-packed grain.

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by Stocksy/Harald Walker


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or another coarse equivalent)
  • 1 cup shelled spring peas
  • 1/2 cup toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup crumbled chevre (optional)


  • Rinse and drain quinoa and place in a medium pot with water (add a pinch of salt if desired). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • While quinoa is cooking, lightly fry onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Mix in salt and cumin when onion is golden and soft. Set aside.
  • To make green paste, combine herbs, remaining olive oil, and sea salt in a separate bowl, and mix well.
  • When quinoa is done, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Add cooked onions and paste to the quinoa, and mix gently to combine.
  • Allow to cool, and then stir in peas. Top with pumpkin seeds and cheese (if using).

This dish is inspired by a similarly green-pasted grain from Yotam Ottolenghi’s seminal Plenty. Here, we offer a gluten-free and more budget-friendly version. If you serve the quinoa by itself, then be sure to add the cheese. If served as a side, however, it would go nicely without. Be inspired and flexible with this recipe. Experiment with whatever herb combinations the early summer garden has to offer; easily swap the pumpkin seeds for another seed of choice, or replace them with any chopped and lightly roasted nut. Feta or a crumbly blue cheese would also work nicely if chevre is unavailable.

Meal Matchmaking

This Early Summer Quinoa recipe pairs well with a non- or lightly oaked sauvignon blanc. Sauvignon blanc is sublime with vegetarian entrees. With its zippier tartness and acidity, this wine mirrors the texture of the ingredients in the quinoa dish and emphasizes the fresh herbs. Sauvignon blanc is also one of the few wines that pair well with fresh chevre.

Frey Vineyards

Discover more delicious, seasonal recipes in Green Recipes for Late Spring.

Kate MacLean is a writer, farmer, and mother in central Vermont. She’s currently developing a children’s book with her sister about the farm on which they both live, and the silly animals that keep them working from dawn ’til dusk.

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