Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini Recipe

A great way to use nutritious quinoa. This quinoa and grilled zucchini recipe is tossed with a pretty, pale green cilantro-flecked avocado dressing.

Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini

Today's quinoa and grilled zucchini recipe came together in a flash because I used a trick we've talked about before. The trick? I cooked off a number of different grains a couple weeks back, let them cool to room temp, packed the grains into small freezer bags, and stacked them in the freezer - quinoa, millet, and brown rice. Now I have a stockpile of ready-to-heat base ingredients, cutting my cooking times way down. I also try to keep a couple hard-boiled eggs on hand, so that helped with this particular recipe as well.

It has been a while since I've featured one of my big bowls so I thought I'd show you how I used one of my bags of white quinoa as the base for a tasty, satisfying, and seasonal lunch. An added perk is that it is also a zucchini recipe, a way to use up some of the zucchini you are no doubt encountering this time of year.

For those of you looking for vegetarian recipe inspiration, this is a good recipe if you are looking to get a nice amount of protein in a meal - quinoa is a good source, as are the eggs.

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Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini Recipe

This quinoa and grilled zucchini bowl (or platter) is tossed with a pretty, pale green cilantro-flecked avocado dressing. It makes more than you will use for this particular recipe, but I like to have the extra on hand to add to salad throughout the rest of the week. If you dislike cilantro feel free to substitute chopped chives. Next time I might even throw in some jalepeno.

You make three hard-boiled eggs for this recipe, if you throw in a few extra be sure to try this Egg Salad Sandwich recipe.

1 large avocado, ripe
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

3 large eggs

1 large zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch thick coins
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
couple pinches of fine grain sea salt

2 cups quinoa, cooked, room temperature
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
a bit of chopped cilantro for garnish

Prepare the cilantro-avocado dressing by blending the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, yogurt, water, and salt in a blender (or us a hand blender). Set aside.

Hard boil the three eggs. Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking. Set aside.

While the eggs are cooling start preparing the zucchini by tossing it with olive oil and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Prepare your grill (medium-high heat). If you are worried about the zucchini coins falling through the grill you can thread them onto kabob skewers (stab through the green skin). Grill until zucchini are tender and cooked through, roughly 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and cut each zucchini coin into quarters.

Crack and peel each egg, cut each egg into quarters lengthwise. Assemble the salad by tossing the quinoa with about 2/3 cups of the avocado vinaigrette. Top with the grilled zucchini, pine nuts, eggs, goat cheese, and a bit of chopped cilantro for garnish. I serve this family-style, but you could do individual platings.

Serves 4 to 6.

Prep time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I made this for dinner last night – it was an uncharacteristically warm evening in Amsterdam. It was truly delicious. I doubled the zucchini required in the recipe, and added some soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot peppers to the dressing. It was truly delicious! Surprising and fresh flavors.


ah hah! I’ve been searching for quinoa recipes, thank you! Do you know if I can make quinoa ahead of time and have as breakfast during the week?

Amber Eilert

Your eggs looked perfectly cooked, so beautiful.
My experiences with quinoa have been mixed, the flavor is a bit off-putting on my palate.
I bet I would like it more with mix-ins and a light dressing.


My mother uses a rice cooker to cook quinoa. It works beautifully and you have all the advantages of a rice cooker (free up the stove, you put it on and leave it). We’ve been eating a lot more quinoa salads since she started doing this. I’m sure we’ll be adding this recipe to our repertoire.


I’ve recently discovered that the combination of quinoa and couscous is delicious. You get the wonderfully chewy and crunchy texture of the quinoa with the marvelous nutty flavor of the couscous.


I’ve recently discovered that the combination of quinoa and couscous is delicious. You get the wonderfully chewy and crunchy texture of the quinoa with the marvelous nutty flavor of the couscous.


I also want to ask, what’s a good subsitute for goat cheese for ppl who can’t eat dairy?


This looks like a perfectly refreshing summer dish. Does the quinoa diminish in any way from the freezing? I can’t wait to try this with Izzy. I really need more vegetarian dishes in my repertoire..

izzy's mama

is what I like to call Cakes Quinoa constrictor….
1/2 lb quinoa
1/4 lb thinly sliced nova lox
some dry oatmeal mixed with marmalade jelly
2 eggs stirred not scrambled
then pan fried till golden in appearance…
Have a side dish of grilled vegetables!


Thanks for your nice recipe. I’ve just learnt two things : I can froze quinoa and I can cook egg by stopping boiling water and wait for 7 minutes…
Your picture looks really great !

LN from France

Thanks for your nice recipe. I’ve just learnt two things : I can froze quinoa and I can cook egg by stopping boiling water and wait for 7 minutes…
Your picture looks really great !

LN from France

I don’t know what kind of goat cheese did you use, dear Heidi. I cooked it with Goat feta cheese and have to thank you for this recipe. My husband and what is more important children’s eat this grain with pleasure.


Lauren, another great dressing: good quality balsamic, grape seed oil and maple syrup, freshly ground black pepper, kosher salt and mustard seeds different and delicious


This is totally up my alley. I love quinoa…haven’t made it for a couple of months because I was traveling for all of June. Zucchini is great right now and I’ve been grilling it a couple times a week. this one’s a keeper.

Julie O'Hara

I used chives instead of cilantro in the dressing and I think the cilantro would’ve lent a brighter flavor. However, the whole thing was delicious…the pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese bring it together fabulously.


Quinoa, great stuff! I have a few really good recipes using it, one of which is a sort of couscous, terrific for in the hot, summer months!
Thanks for the reminder.


I’m allergic to avocado! Does anyone have a recommendation for another type of dressing that might go nicely. I’m thinking the balsamic vinaigrette that I usually make (balsamic, olive oil, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper, touch of honey) would probably go well with the other flavors. Any other suggestions?


That looks delicious! I’m going to have to send a link to my sister, too — she’s a vegetarian and I think she’d like this a lot. (And Diane — maybe sub your favorite greens for the zucchini? Chopped-up broccoli rabe would probably be tasty in this.)


This does look delicious. My problem is I need to substitute the zucchini. I cannot stand the texture of cooked zucchini unfortunately. 🙁 Anyone have thoughts?


That looks great! I’ve never tried quinoa, but now I think I have to!


Wow, the photo is amazing and its looks great.


Heidi, what a great idea, and a great base for a hot summer day meal- This sounds really delicious and I think I am going to give this a try during the “dog days” of August!

Deborah Dowd

I like the look of your dish though I have never eaten quinoa . I think the same combo would be great with couscous too.,won’t it? You have a fab blog and it tops my blogroll.


Love the avocado dressing. I’ve made something similar for pasta but never thought to use it for other things….like quinoa and zucchini!
Great salad!


I have to say that freezing cooked grains doesn’t appeal to me. This recipe does, though. From the inimitably creamy avocado dressing to the perfume of cilantro, this dish sounds delicious and nutritious.
What’s more, it requires no trip to the store.
Our neighbor’s farm-fresh eggs combine with what’s in the pantry and the garden to make a perfect dinner.
I can’t wait to make this with the lovely, round French zucchini my garden is producing faster than I can use and gift them.
Thanks fo this great idea.


You can say that again!
Thanks for the freezing tip. That’s brilliant.



YOYO's Food

I’ve found that I prefer quinoa when it’s mixed 1:1 with millet. Makes for a more interesting texture, over-all.


I would like to vouch for the egg salad recipe. I’m a big fan..
What is the best method for reheating the quinoa after it is frozen?


This recipe looks fantastic, but any advice on alternative cheeses for people who aren’t so into the goat cheese?
I’m a relatively new cook with a goal of trying one new recipe a week (a lofty goal that isn’t always met, alas), and your site is a great resource for that. Thanks!


I just made quinoa and I’m craving it again – this might be the next recipe to try!


Quinoa is a wonderful grain. It is hard to describe the taste, of course… but think about a couscous with a more pronounced “nutty” flavor.
alternatively, you can think about bulgur wheat, but with a little smoother feel and taste
I’d say go for it – chances are you will love it!


I feel a little silly asking this but I’ve seen a lot of recipes lately that call for Quinoa. I’ve never tasted it before – can someone describe the taste for me before I buy it?


making up all sorts of grains at once is a good idea, especially in the hot summer. and the eggs in this dish are so vibrant!


I knew you could freeze rice but I never thought about freezing quinoa, what a great idea! thank you 😉 btw how long can you keep those grains in the freezer?


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