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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Wonderful!! This is in perfect alignment with my diet! I take so many of your recipes and tweak them to fit, but this one will not need any tweaking at all!!


Absolutely uncanny -- was just pondering quinoa salad for dinner when POP! Incoming 101 cookbooks email. How did you know?


I love quinoa, and you're right about the sweetness and moistness, it's such a great way to balance it. Quinoa is tender with a little crunch which I love. And I like all of the colors it comes in, which can be fun to mix.

Georgia Pellegrini

oh my gosh. love me some quinoa! I loooove quinoa salads. oh ... and your book. I've been cooking through the whole darn thing... it's amazing!

Amanda Mae

You're totally right, Heidi. I do love a good quinoa salad, and this one looks unusual enough to give a try. My usual quinoa salad involves butter-toasted quinoa, a lemon vinaigrette (Meyer if it's right season), arugula, supremed blood oranges, and a poached egg.


Can't wait to try it! I enjoy quinoa salads a lot, especially since I now cook the quinoa in the rice cooker. My joy this winter was a Quinoa Kale Salad.


I love quinoa with a fried egg. I often make "junkyard quinoa" which means cleaning out the fridge of leftovers and the last of the veg. Put it all together and toss a fried egg on top. It's always surprisingly good and I feel like a rock star. :)


Oh this is tasty! You are right, many grain salads are too dry.


Do you soak/rinse the quinoa before hand and then toast it? Or does it not need rinsing it in this instance? Thanks! HS: I'm in the habit of always rinsing quinoa.


This looks like a delicious quinoa salad version. I like the addition of the currants and I always love the addition of feta cheese. If you are interested, I recently made a "black" toasted quinoa salad that you might enjoy. Here is the link for it if you want to take a peek.I got the recipe from a class at Williams-Sonoma.

Snippets of Thyme

This looks fantastic- I love anything with dill. This looks perfect as a refreshing summer salad! I can't wait until local zucchini is in season here :) xo

Kristin (Cook Bake Nibble)

Just caught the article in Whole Living. Congratulations, it was great!

Honestly Good Food

oh my! I'm loving this mix!

Simply Life

I've been reading some really great things about that cookbook and am quite excited that it's full of terrific recipes like this one. I think at some point I might go the patties route, and maybe do a thick yogurt/tahini/lemony sauce -- to play up the sesame seeds and zest -- on the side.


This looks like the perfect spring/summer lunchtime salad, especially with the egg on top. I love quick grain salads like this - they're so versatile. PS: I'm officially addicted to your unda style quesadillas.


wholesome grains and springtime vegetables makes for a perfect meal. Looking forward to giving this a try.


I have never eaten quinoa before, can you imagine that? But I did buy a bag of quinoa the other day, so now I really want to try it. Thanks for all the inspiration!


Love it! Have you noticed the quinoa recipes on the NY Times this week? The world is catching on! I imagine this dish is tasty warm and cold. I've been cooking up my quinoa in the pressure cooker (or rice cooker) lately and it sure it easy. I've got a raw, vegan feta cheese recipe on my counter. Seems like a good time to try it!

JL goes Vegan

This looks yum, will have to give it a whirl!


What a fresh and gorgeous salad! I love the idea of mixing grated zucchini in it and the fried egg on top. Quinoa is quickly becoming my best friend in the kitchen. :)


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