Delicious Big Bowl – Quinoa Recipe

This quinoa recipe shows you how I might clean out my fridge - white quinoa, potatoes, onions, toasted nuts, and asparagus.

Delicious Big Bowl – Quinoa

I was on a quinoa recipe bender yesterday and here's why. There aren't many things more disturbing to me than a glance at myself bathed in the florescent vanity lighting of an airplane bathroom five hours into a flight - particularly a bumpy flight. I touched down at SFO Saturday night looking a grey-ish shade of green. While I'm usually a good sport about the bad air, cramped conditions, and packets of overly-seasoned cocktail nuts, anything beyond an hour of turbulence can put me over the edge. Saturday night we bounced our way across the Midwest like we were part of God's personal game of kick-the-can. The kind of turbulence where the pilot keeps interrupting the in-flight 'entertainment' with his best you're-not-going-to-die voice to tell the flight crew to strap in.

It's on these types of flights that I crave good food the most, usually just after they try to serve me a steamed stuffed red pepper of some sort. I start imagining what I will cook for myself if I make it back to terra firma. This flight I decided on a big, hearty, healthy bowl of quinoa as my first meal back in my own kitchen.

It was raining Sunday morning and I didn't want to go out to the store, so I started scavenging around the kitchen for things to go with the quinoa. Creamy-fleshed potatoes from the market last week, leftover asparagus spears (cooked by Wayne in a foil oven packet?), a huge yellow onion and walnuts. Plenty to work with. Quinoa only takes about 20 minutes to cook (give or take), so this came together quickly and I ended up with colorful, protein-packed, belly-filling bowl of deliciousness. I'd be happy to eat variations on this particular quinoa recipe everyday for lunch.

For those of you who are gluten-free, quinoa is a fantastic grain to explore. Also, for anyone looking for vegan recipes - this recipe will work for you as well!

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Delicious Big Bowl - Quinoa Recipe

2 cups white quinoa, rinsed well
4 scant cups water
1 teaspoon salt
a few splashes of extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 medium/large potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large yellow onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup toasted nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, etc)
1-2 cups lightly cooked asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch segments

another splash or two of good olive oil or citrus dressing

Bring the quinoa, water and salt to a boil in a large thick-bottomed pot. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa opens up revealing a little spiral and is soft and pleasant to chew. If there is any remaining liquid at this point, drain it off and set the quinoa aside.

In the meantime, warm a splash of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the potatoes and a couple pinches of salt. Toss to coat the potatoes and cover for a few minutes to allow the insides of the potatoes to sweat and cook. Uncover, toss again, then cook a few minutes longer (uncovered) until the potatoes start to get some color. Continue tossing every few minutes to get more color and crispness. When they are cooked through and pleasantly crunchy, season to taste with salt and scoop out onto a plate. Set aside.

In the same skillet (no need to clean) warm another splash of oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they soften up a bit.

Toss the quinoa with a splash of olive oil, and serve each bowl of quinoa topped with potatoes, onions, nuts and asparagus. Alternately, you can toss everything together in one big bowl and serve it up family-style.

Serves 4 - 6.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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We made this for dinner today. It was absolutely awesome!!! Thank you for posting it.


Whole Foods carries Quinoa


Heidi once again you are right on time. I was wondering what one does with leftover asparagus spears. Thanks for sharing your kitchen with the world!


My, but this sounds delightful! :) I'm going to have to hunt down some quinoa and give it a try myself. I've been craving a nice wholesome pasta meal lately...


That bowl's screaming for tamari.

John J. Goddard

Yeah, squash would be nice. I'd cube it and steam it and then depending on my mood just drizzle it with olive oil or mash it.


This recipe sounds great. I don't eat potatoes, but I wonder if this recipe would work with butternut squash? If so, any ideas on how to prepare the butternut for this recipe? Thanks for a great site!


Looks lovely! I have never had quinoa. I hope I can find it at the market! Thanks for the great posts!


Quinoa! and Heidi back! I hear you on the rocky flights, very happy to have you on the ground again. The most amazing quinao experience I have ever had was one simple side dish of the stuff at Cafe Gratitude. I have never ever before tasted the grain so light and airy! One of the managers shared with me that they make it in a rice cooker. But it tastes "steamed." also, your doughnut post inspired me-- I made a whole afternoon out of making doughnuts yesterday. One of the "sugars" created had Mesquite Flour in it... as you can see you've inhabited my kitchen without ever putting even a toe in it. xo

shuna fish lydon

A friend of mine made quinoa a while ago and I've been wanting to try making some myself ever since. This recipe sounds like the perfect one to try, it looks delicious! Flights like that are terrible. It's so nerve-wraking when the pilot comes over the speakers.

Erica W.

It's 9.39am and i'm at work just craving this... the internet needs some form of smell-o-vision! I can't wait to hunt down some Quinoa and make it myself!


i don't know how i feel about the potatoes w/ the quinoa. i think something a little more sweet like parsnip would be nice. anyway, i really appreciate your site heidi.. i moved to brooklyn from SF 3 years ago and i cook privately.. so i'm always using your ideas as a starting point. can't wait to get your new book!


Mareshia, When I think of earthy flavors, I think of beets. Quinoa doesn't taste like that to me. The flavor is mild and subtle, complimented by a unique, tender-yet-popalicious texture. Are you rinsing the quinoa before eating it? Quinoa has a bitter coating called saponin, you need to rinse it off before cooking the quinoa. The saponin functions as a natural bird and insect repellant. Some packaged quinoa comes pre-rinsed. If anything, some kinds of quinoa tastes a bit grassy to me (in a good way!) - perfect for springtime flavors...although this white quinoa I used from Bolivia tasted mildly nutty and buttery. More California Chardonnay than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, if that makes sense.


mmm, quinoa....everyone's favorite Passover grain. Thanks for this one!


This is a particularly welcome recipe right now because Quinoa is the only grain that Ashkenazi Jews who observe a traditional Passover can eat. With Passover starting on April 1st this recipe is very welcome. We love Quinoa

Bliss Siman

Maybe I'm doing something wrong but when I make quinoa it tastes like earth. Like the dirt and I just can't eat more than two spoonsful.


i love the nutty flavor of quinoa, and with rustic sides like pecans and potatos, yum! much better than airplane food


Oh, I adore quinoa. I started liking it before I found out I had to go gluten-free, but now.... Quinoa and potatoes is an especially delicious combination. So sorry about the flight!


Love the 'you're-not-gonna-die-voice' description. I wonder how long they practice to get that tone down pat. Or do they just turn the treble knob way down. Also happy to get the quinoa recipe - it's naturally gluten-free - a big plus for dd who has celiac.


That is one beautiful bowl of quinoa! I've only been cooking with quinoa for a couple of years, and I'm always looking for new ways to serve it. Quinoa "risotto" is a favorite.


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