Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini Recipe

Made from a quirky combination of quinoa, dill, shredded zucchini, and currants - a quinoa salad from Maria Speck's book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals.

Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini

I know you all love a good quinoa salad. And, my apologies, it has been a while since one was featured here. I've been waiting for just the right one to come my way. And here it is :) It was a quirky mix of green onions, dill, sesame, lemon and currants that caught my attention in this version from Maria Speck's new book. Crumbled feta lends a bit of saltiness to play off the sweetness of the currants, and shredded zucchini brings a moistness that can be missing in some grain-based salads. All around, really tasty.

Summer Quinoa Recipe

This is one of those recipes that comes together in far less time than you'd think. Quinoa cooks up rather quickly, and I prepped the rest of the ingredients while it was simmering away. It's great as a side, or topped with a fried egg - pictured just above. And I'm imagining it being one of those easy-going summer salads that I can prep in advance and not worry about serving hot. I made quinoa patties with the leftovers, and left notes about how to do that in the head notes down below.

I should also note that I made a few tweaks to Maria's original recipe based on personal preference. For example, I scaled back on the currants a bit. But as Maria mentions, this is the sort of salad that is endlessly adaptable based on what you like. Play around with nuts in place of the seeds, and different fresh herbs in place of the dill. But if you can stand it, try it this way at least once, it's a really fresh combination of ingredients that you might not put together otherwise.

And for those of you looking for more ideas, I have a lot of good quinoa recipes, as well as a page where I’ve collected all my favorite zucchini recipes. Enjoy and happy cooking!

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Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini

This is great with crumbled feta. But it's also perfect with thinned-out, salted, plain yogurt. Also, for those of you who are fans of quinoa patties - I made patties out of the leftovers by combining a scant 3 cups of leftovers with 4 beaten eggs, and enough breadcrumbs to thicken things up a bit - 1/2 cup or so. Press with hands firmly into patties, then pan-fry, covered.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1 cup / 6.5 oz / 185 g quinoa, well rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1/4 cup / 1 oz / 30g dried currants
1 lemon
2 sm-med zucchini, grated on box grater
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

feta cheese, crumbled - as much or as little as you like

To make the quinoa, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add most of the green onions, a pinch of the salt, and cook until the onions soften, just a couple minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains dry out and toast a bit, roughly another 3 minutes. Add the water, the currants, the remaining salt; bring to a boil. Dial back the heat and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is just cooked through- 15 minutes or so. Be mindful here, you don't want to overcook the quinoa, and have it go to mush.

While the quinoa is cooking zest the lemon, and squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into a small bowl.

When the quinoa is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the zucchini, lemon juice and zest, most of the sesame seeds, and most of the dill. Taste and adjust for salt.

Serve, turned out onto a platter, topped with crumbled feta, and the remaining green onions, sesame seeds, and dill.

Serves 6.

Adapted from the Lemon Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini in Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, published by Ten Speed Press, 2011.

Prep time: 10 minutes

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

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Healthy and good!


This ticks all the right boxes for me. Only a matter of time before it's cooked up in my kitchen!


This looks lovely, I adore dill. A nice change form my usual quinoa salad :) Heidi xo

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

Mmm such a delish and healthy idea!


Mhmmmm so healthy, so good. HS: Loving your site Joy!


this sounds delicious! nothing's better than well cooked quinoa!

Heather (Heather's Dish)

Heidi, this looks great. I have method for making "feta" from tofu and miso and that would be great crumbled in this as well, for the vegan crowd. http://bit.ly/f6bQ32 Nicole: I do have a tip for rinsing quinoa. Commercial quinoa has been washed multiple times to remove the bitter coating called saponin, so it only needs a light rinsing. I have a mesh strainer and I just tilt the pan to pour out the water, catching any stray grains in the mesh and then tapping them back into the saucepan. Then I add my filtered water for cooking. Hope this helps!

Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator

I could never have enough ways to cook quinoa - I love it! This version sounds wonderful. I also like the idea of cooking up some patties with the left-overs. Delicious!

Brooke (The Flour Sack)

I have been addicting to your little quinoa patties lately! Thanks for another quinoa recipe :) I've been eyes Ms. Speck's book too--maybe for the cookbook club soon? Have a great weekend :)


So true, I can never have too many quinoa salad recipes. Lovely combination here; I might try adding some preserved lemon too. And great idea to make patties with the leftovers :)


Any tips for rinsing quinoa? I always seem to waste a lot in the process. HS: I use a fine-meshed strainer, so the little guys can't sneak through.


This looks delicious... almost something i would want to try for breakfast! I like the idea of adding feta... I might try it with some crumbled goat cheese.

sweet road

Ever since the spiced coconut spinach recipe, I've been adding unsweetened coconut to everything. I think I may even add it to this, considering I have every ingredient to make it.. and zucchini that will be bad unless it's used tomorrow. I also love that you added dried currants - they bring such great texture to this recipe.


I need to get on the quinoa train! I cook with so many grains, I am not sure why I haven't made this one yet. I will try this when zucchini shows up in our farmers market which shouldn't be too much longer. Leftovers for patties sounds even better. thanks

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

Endlessly adaptable salads are great! I love the addition of currants in it and it reminds me how much I love adding raisins or dried fruit to salad...just a little extra texture, sweetness, and fun-ness in each bite :) You and Maria have a winner here!

Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)

This looks delicious! I definitely need to experiment more with quinoa, and with currants, dill, and zucchini that will be some very delicious experimentation. YUM

Ashley @ The Drunk Squash

Adding this quinoa to the list! Fabulous.

Jessica @ How Sweet

This sounds like a delicious and very healthy recipe. The flavour combination sounds great!

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

yum. Will definitely be trying this in the near-future! Thanks!


So creative!

A Teenage Gourmet

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