Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa Recipe

Some San Francisco photos along with a recipe for asparagus & quinoa, tossed in a bit of Tabasco butter, with toasted pine nuts and a touch of crème fraîche.

Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa

I like the idea that I can walk out my front door, put one foot in front of the other, and find myself at the beach. The Pacific Ocean meets Ocean Beach roughly five miles from where I'm sitting, and I often switch up my jogging routine to make my way west through Golden Gate Park, past the man-made waterfall, along the buffalo paddock, and out onto the Great Highway. From there you can see and hear the waves, and it is only a few steps to the sand. The quirky sights are rewarding, and they help inspire me to pull on my shoes on days when I might not feel like it. I thought I'd share a few snapshots I've taken along this route, as well as a quinoa recipe that made for a good post-jog lunch last week.

Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa

This time of year you start to see all sorts of plants and trees blooming: poppies, cherry and plum blossoms, magnolias, camelias. There are still plenty of slumbering trees, but wait a few days. In a matter of hours a tree can explode into color from seemingly lifeless, twiggy branches. That being said, the spring rain and wind can take its toll on the flowers and some days the park looks like a giant took a bat to a flower petal-filled piñata.

Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa

Recently restored, this is a Dutch windmill, bravely facing the ocean winds flat on. There is a tulip garden at its feet certain times of year, and I've read, at the time it was built it was the largest windmill of its type in the world. It's huge and impressive and I like to look back at it from the beach.

Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa

I took the shot of the windmill standing near here, but facing east. When facing west, like this, I see one of my favorite views, straight ahead. On clear days I always try to spot the Farallon Islands. Then, if you look right, you'll see the coast where it is starting to meet the San Francisco Bay - the mouth of the Golden Gate.

Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa

So yeah, this is just the sort of lunch I like to throw together after a jog or long walk. The inspiration came from an idea in Skye Gyngell's My Favorite Ingredients cookbook. I was flipping through the new U.S. edition, and came across her Asparagus with Tabasco Butter recipe. I've been meaning to give this a go ever since I came across it in the original UK edition. Her recipe is written as a side dish, I was after a one-dish lunch and had some leftover quinoa on hand, so I built on her idea, and went from there. The leftovers are good the day (or two) after as well!

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Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa

The Tabasco taste here is actually quite subtle once the butter is incorporated into the quinoa - a bit spicy, a bit tangy. You can make your butter stronger if you like, or serve the quinoa with more Tabasco sauce on the side. The next day I did a "fried rice" style version of this by making a thin omelette, slicing it up and stirring it back into a heated skillet of the asparagus/quinoa. If you don't have pine nuts, sliced almonds might make a nice alternative.

1/2 cup / 4 oz / 113g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
25 drops Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 pound / 16 oz / 453 g asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments

4 cups cooked quinoa*
1/3 cup / 2 oz / 60 g pine nuts, toasted
scant 1/4 cup creme fraiche - optional
more Tabasco sauce to taste

Start by making the Tabasco butter. In a food processor, or with a hand blender, whip the butter until it is light and airy. Add the mustard, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice and salt. As I mention above, you can make it stronger if you like, adding more hot sauce to taste.

Boil the asparagus in a large pot of well salted water, for just for a minute or so - depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Drain. If you are serving this immediately you can leave the asparagus hot, but if you are going to wait to serve this, or think you'll have leftovers I recommend you stop the cooking with cold water or a dunk in an ice bath, then drain well before using.

Take the 4 cups / 20 oz / 565 g of hot cooked quinoa and toss with 3 tablespoons of the tabasco butter. You'll have leftover butter - you can serve that on the side or use it for other purposes. Stir in the asparagus, pine nuts, and dollop with creme fraiche. Serve with more Tabasco sauce on the side.

Serves 4 - 6.

*To cook quinoa: Combine 2 cups of well-rinsed dried quinoa with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 - 30 minutes or until quinoa is tender and you can see the little quinoa curliques.

Inspired by Skye Gyngell's Asparagus with Tabasco Butter recipe in My Favorite Ingredients (Ten Speed Press, 2010).

Prep time: 30 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

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Delicious and filling! I used red quinoa since it was all I had and added a splash of worchestershire sauce to the whipped butter (not vegan/vegetarian, but tasty!) This was a wonderful combo of flavors – I will definitely make it again.


Thank you for another beautiful recipe. I’ve just started experimenting with quinoa and have been much inspired by your creations. Your pictures and stories make me want to step out of my comfort zone in the pantry. I hope to be able to do the same eventually. MAI-YAN

Dirty Gourmet

I am particularly excited about this quinoa, as I had Tal Ronnen’s Quinoa Maki rolls today for lunch. It’s such a great grain, and this looks amazing. Thanks!

Sallie Ann

I just made this dish and it was so delicious. Thank you for your recipes, they really are inspired. I also used red quinoa and toasted slivered almonds. Yumm-o.


wow! this was awesome. the flavor is definitely subtle but just right and addictive! This is the tastiest quinoa I’ve ever made!


Made this last night, and it was wonderful. I used red quinoa, which has a nutty flavor I tend to prefer, and I upped the seasoning in the butter (more mustard and Tabasco). It was perfectly satisfying, and all-around delicious!


I just made this for dinner and it was just as good as I had hoped. This is my first time writing a comment, although I have made many recipes from this amazing site! Got home from work and threw warm quinoa and asparagus in bowl and mixed in the rest to save some time. The pine nuts were a nice touch. Thanks for all the great recipes, Heidi.


Hmmmnnn…I must have done something wrong. I made the full amount of Tabasco butter and half the amount of quinoa. Started with 1.5T of butter. Couldn’t taste it. Added more. Still couldn’t taste it. Added more – could start to taste it, but was alarmed at the amount of butter I was adding, so I started adding Tabasco and then it just tasted unbalanced. Wasn’t in the cards, I guess.


I just made this, and as with every recipe I’ve tried from here, this has been delicious and something I never would have thought of. The taste is very light, and its great for spring. I used the green tabasco sauce which has a milder, less spicy flavor, and it was really wonderful. I added more of the butter than was called for, but I kind of regret it — I think a better tack if you want the flavors to be slightly more intense is just add a little more tabasco and lemon. Regardless, I’m definitely adding this to my seasonal menu for when asparagus is cheap, plentiful, and delicious. Thanks Heidi!


My first quinoa experience. Loved it!! I can’t wait to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. 🙂


Wow! I just made this for lunch (skipped the creme fraiche at the end, but followed the recipe other than that) and it was fantastic!! The butter made it taste absolutely decadent. Julia would be proud. 🙂
I can’t wait to have some of the leftovers with a poached egg tomorrow morning….
Thanks, Heidi! Your recipes always blow me away, and this was no exception.


cool recipe – thank you! Great photos of San Francisco.


We won’t have fresh local asparagus here in Winnipeg for at least a month.
Any yummy suggestions on what I might swap in instead? I’ve seen some comments suggesting broccoli and might give that a go.
HS: Hi Dayna, I could imagine broccoli being a fine substitution!


I’m going to make this today. I’ve tried several of your recipes and most of them have been just awesome. Love quinoa, love tabasco, love asparagus. This one will obviously be a hit.


This made a great lunch. I love throwing quinoa in my rice cooker – it just works better for me. the 2nd time I made it Isubbed edemame for the asparagus and then topped with some fresh chopped tomatoes and yellow peppers.


sounds really delicious!


Terrific way to punch up quinoa (agree with the other comment about bland quinoa recipes). Like the Tabasco, but may have to add a diced chili pepper (maybe a serrano).
Love the creme fraiche touch, can’t wait to try …

Family Cookbook - Denise

I made this last night. So very yummy. I used walnuts instead of pine nuts, and added Parmesan cheese for a bit extra yummyness. Seriously so good, and recommend it to everyone.


So jealous you have such a great running route. I used to have a run I loved in Miami along the water – but now I have the hills in CT! Can’t wait to try this quinoa – the asparagus and tabasco is so unique. Thanks!


Heidi, thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I used your recipe and made the asparagus quinoa today. I love the “kick” that the Tabasco gives to the earthy quinoa. I am from Louisiana so I love a good use for Tabasco 🙂 I topped my quinoa with a dollop of sour cream and sliced green onions. Also, added a little extra Tabasco butter (delicious)! Thanks again –


What makes a perfect lunch? Cooking with passion, discovering new food combinations, coming up with new flavors resulting to a healthy, tasty dish bursting with flavor. Tabasco, butter, pine nuts, asparagus and quinoa – definitely a dish worth trying.

Kathy - My Online Meals

Love the pics and what a fantastic idea for the Quinoa. We love quinoa in my home and this would be a nice change to the typical basil, tomato and lemon. Can’t wait to try it!

.Say. La Vie

Quinoa, tabasco, aspargus and pine nuts – you’ve got four of my favorite ingredients right there, so how can I not try this?
Sounds like a super nutritious lunch too. Thanks!

mitzimi @

That sounds so good, and I love the use of butter. I usually just dress my quinoa with olive oil and herbs–this is much more creative. And am I ever jealous of your running route!


Just made this – nummy! I boiled the quinoa and simply added the asparagus the last two minutes to the water. Am looking forward to having this for lunch tomorrow. thank you


I made this using both red and white quinoa, Earth Balance in place of butter, and subbing the pine nuts with slivered almonds. The flavor and texture is so well balanced. I love it!


This is wonderful! I just made it but switched the following:
–lemon juice to lime juice
–asparagus to oven roasted zucchini
–I also added black beans and onions
I can’t believe I’ve never tried tabasco. SO, so, so good. Thanks for the recipe.


Quinoa is just so versatile. I love this recipe. I always start with a lemon & oil base and go from there, but haven’t tried butter or adding creme fraiche (my favorite!). Nice!


This looks so good! I would have never thought of Tabasco.. hope to try this soon.


Still cold and wet in the Pacific Northwest USA but I do remember fondly those mornings in the park. It is asparagus season and need a salad for Sunday’s pot luck. Will substitute pasta for the quinoa and call it salad. Older cooks such as I get great pleasure from your efforts. Much thanks. Ann

Ann Marie

oh, those poppies…


Everything you make always looks so amazing!!!


I don’t typically cook with quinoa. This preparation would be great with couscous which I happen to have in my pantry. I’m planning to try quinoa soon. I had quinoa spaghetti last night and loved it. It was so light.

Dinners & Dreams

I don’t typically cook with quinoa. This preparation would be great with couscous which I happen to have in my pantry. I’m planning to try quinoa soon. I had quinoa spaghetti last night and loved it. It was so light.

Dinners & Dreams

when i lived in the inner sunset, i ran a route very similar to yours and was rewarded with that gorgeous view before turning around and running back home. i miss it!
i will def. try that quinoa recipe, thanks!


I’m seriously obsessed with quinoa. Thanks for the new recipe!

Melange a Trois

Tabasco and quinoa? I’d never have thought to put this combo together! I’m excited to try it. Thanks for all these great veggie meals – I’m by no means a vegetarian, but definitely trying to decrease the amount of meat in my diet. You are an inspiration!

Julia Sarver

I’m jealous of your short run to the beach. But, I have to say my view of our front range from the high line canal in Denver is pretty hart to beat (and gets me out on the tough days with lots of spring wind). Thank you for a new receipt for quinoa. New to this grain, I’m trying to incorporate it more!

kristen adams

I missing running in Golden Gate Park. I now live in Nob Hill and while I typically run to the GGB, I miss the bison circuit! I mean, bison…random!!
Anyways, just wanted to say, intriguing recipe. Can’t WAIT to try it!

Saucy Seasonal Chef

I like anything with tabasco. How about adding Sriracha? 🙂

A Little Yumminess

I never would have thought to put butter and tabasco together. What a wonderful idea!

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)

I day dream of jogging along the sea shore but never lived close to the shore 🙁

Radhika Vasanth

Love all the ingredients! I never would have thought about Tabasco butter, but it sounds perfect!

Jenn (

What beautiful photos. This is a recipe I will make for my writing retreat this weekend. Instead of pine nuts and butter, I’ll try it with Northwest hazelnuts and hazelnut oil and add currants.


When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it — mostly because I had everything on hand! Instead of the quinoa I used brown rice. It was a tasty lunch! Thanks for all your recipes, they are so delicious!!


Looks lovely as is, but I’m contemplating substituting sriracha for the tabasco. And maybe putting a poached egg on top!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

Made it last night! Loved it! I’m not a HUGE fan of tabasco flavor so I used Cholula instead… Loved it with Cholula. I also didn’t have pinenuts so like Heidi suggested I used toasted almonds which worked perfectly.


as soon as my husband hears tabasco, he’ll be in love with this. i made something similar with a flavored butter but using couscous and madras curry butter. i’ve stayed away from quinoa but will have to give it a shot.

nithya at hungrydesi

I have some quinoa banging around in my kitchen cupboard. Now I know what to do with it! thanks


Thanks Heidi. I love your site it’s always inspiring. I don’t usually enjoy the strong vinegar taste of tobasco. Would substituting another hot sauce be just as good or do you think tobasco is essential to the dish?
HS: Hi GB, I think you could certainly experiment with a hot sauce of your liking.


you had me at tabasco.


Had all the goods so I made this for dinner tonight! It was a big hit, my husband and I both LOVED it!

The Maiden Metallurgist

This was REALLY delicious! We had white asparagus so that is what I used. Did not look as nice because the asparagus color blended in with the quinoa, but was tasted great!


Lived at 4th & Hugo and 11th & Lincoln decades ago (hippie time) — LOVED Ocean Beach. Great memories, and what a wonderful-sounding recipe. I’ve just moved again and need to restock — quinoa is on the list for sure! Thx, Heidi!


I don’t know how you can run and take pictures, when I ran I used to HATE anything or anyone messing up my ‘flow’ but now that I think of it, it would’ve been great to have a camera, just don’t think I would have used it

The Curious Baker

I was in utter shock when my local grocery didn’t have asparagus! IN SHOCK!
Alas, I have Broccolini in my veggie bin so I’m gonna make this with that… May be I’ll even roast it a little bit first – hee hee…
That’s something I have been inspired to do since visiting your website – I find it easy and FUN to substitute items with things I have on hand – it’s never failed 🙂


tried your meyer lemon risotto and of course i cannot locate anything remotely called a meyer lemon here in ontario (near Toronto) so I just grated some regular old lemon rind and this recipe was so outstanding I had to share it with freinds. I used a spelt farro I found at metro … absolutely delicious!


Although I am avoiding the use of dairy products this is a great recipe base and I could see substituting cashew creme for the butter.

Reciprocity Foods

Perfect timing as I just bought asparagas! Tried it just this afternoon with a mix of red and white quinoa, and Cholula instead of Tabasco. My butter was too cold to whip up properly in the little processor. I added some fresh chopped cilantro at the end, too. YUM! Thanks, Heidi!


I am going to try this with flax oil and chia blend in place of the butter for my vegan peeps. Inspired as always!

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

Quinoa is known as a health food but this sounds downright decadent. Well done!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

This recipe looks so good. I have not cooked with quinoa yet, but have wanted to. Think I will try this out! Have some fresh asparagus in fridge from farmers mkt!


Everything looks safely GF to me – quinoa is for sure…. I’d know, I pretty much live off the stuff!


i’m ready for some fresh asparagus to come in too! this looks awesome, and the landscape pics are great! i need to pick up some quinoa and give it another chance. everytime i’ve had it i like it, but i always forget about it!

heather @ chiknpastry

I found Your journal some time ago and since delighted some of my friends with your pastries.
I have a question that goes to Your Unfussy Apple Cake Recipe, but can not place it there anymore. If you could please answer me .. is it possible to freeze the (made) pie? Would love to have a piece or two stored for later.
Thank you and all best wishes from Slovenia,


Could couscous be used in place of quinoa?

Barbara Blandford Helm

Could couscous be used in place of quinoa?

Barbara Blandford Helm

Our two favorite ways to have quinoa is in soups and in cold salads. This looks like a perfect salad for this time of year!

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Great…had some asparagus that I did not use for Easter….first gorgeous day in northern NM, after weeks of snow…sitting out on the porch looking at mtns (instead of sea – anyone want switch for a week?) enjoying this recipe for lunch.


One thing that I have discovered lately is that cooked white wheat berries sauteed in just a touch of butter can simulate pine nuts in recipes where they are kept whole. With how expensive pine nuts are, I like to know that I have an inexpensive substitute.


So I’m imagining you trying to jog while carrying your DSLR…how does this work? Or was the picture-taking day a non-jogging day? 🙂 It looks like a breathtaking view, I’m jealous! And this dish sounds simple and delicious – I wonder if the Tabasco butter could convince my husband to eat asparagus…hmm….


Lovely idea of combining the tabasco with the butter. thanks for the recipe and the photos are always fabulous!

The Mistress of Spice

Thank you Heidi! Now I’m wondering if I have enough quinoa to make this, and asparagus is now on my list. Someone mentioned garlic, and suddenly I can see cloves of it in the butter, and am wondering what flavors would pop if I threw a few cloves in the quinoa while cooking it? Hmm.


Today I ate amaranth for lunch, but I have never tried quinoa yet. I would like, though, because I know is packed with lots of nutrients too…and it looks delicious! A great way to eat aspargut, too 🙂


It isn’t mentioned in the recipe, but I assume that once you cook the asparagus and have mixed the butter into the quinoa, that you simply add the boiled asparagus to this mixture and nothing more. Correct?
HS: Yes, exactly – will make that more clear.


Thanks for the inspirational photos and foods. –Also to The Healthy Apple,: Quinoa is an ancient grain that is gluten free and still full of protein…go for the recipe as it is written. Enjoy!

no Wheat -Penny

Where can I get quinoa? Is there a substitute? I am not a great cook. But I am a good eater. I would like to do both on this recipe. Tks K


can’t wait to try it.


Amazing, Heidi…I love Tabasco…nice n’ spicy…even though I’m gluten-intolerant, I’m surely going to create this dish with buckwheat as I’m sure it will still be delish…Thanks Heidi!
HS: I think this recipe is GF as written, no? Let me know if I’m off-base GFers, and I’ll pull the tag off.

The Healthy Apple

Very imaginative, and I love the simplicity. Somehow making a spiced up quinoa has escaped me, love this idea. The fried rice leftover version sounds great as well.

The Ordinary Vegetarian

How creative and clever! I love the flavor of Tabasco, and basically dump it on top of anything and everything as it is. I’ve been playing around with this Quinoa Tabouli, and have been thinking about ways to give it a little non-traditional kick. I’ll have to try adding a little tabasco next time. Ah spring, ah quinoa. Love this season.


This dish sounds delicious! I am trying to incorporate more grains in my diet, so am happy to have new ideas. I keep Cholula sauce on hand as well as Tabasco. I might like to give the Cholula sauce a try in this instead.


I’ve got to say thank you! I consistently use your recipes, and I never tire of ‘veggin’ for a while and roaming through your website and planning out my meals for the family. Thanks to you, my family eats many healthy and delicious meals!!!! Kudos to you sista, go on with yo bad self! 🙂


Your pics of SF as of late have been a welcome comfort. Having been “transplanted” to New Jersey 7 years ago I miss the Bay Area everyday. No offense to any NJ lovers out there, but there just isn’t any place quite like the SF Bay Area. Thanks for taking me home again Heidi!


Are you kidding me? You are just too much! Bella bella! Definitely making this.

Leah @

This looks fabulous; both recipe and pics. Sister’s visit last week again reminded me that our landscape is spectacular (Denver view of Rocky Mountains) so I’m inspired not only to try your recipe but to get some some pictures before the snowcap melts.
Thanks for both!

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

I just repeated your double broccoli quinoa last weekend, so I am sure this one is equally delicious. I am currently reading McGee and have the desire to try making butter… and I think I will use that butter with this dish. Thanks!

Casey Angelova

Always love to see how others make quinoa! So jealous that you already have asparagus, we are begining to get it over here in New York (from CA), but won’t be local for awhile.
The dish sounds lovely with the slight heat….enjoyed the photos too!

Not sure what I like more, your pics or your recipes. Such good stuff.

Andrew Violette

hi heidi.
love that poppy photo so much. this recipe sounds so good. can’t wait to try it when the asparagus finally comes into season here.


I’ve never had quinoa before but your dish makes me wanna try it! I’ve spotted some fresh asparagus at my local market!

my little expat kitchen

You must live in such a nice place! It sounds beautiful. I live on a river, but I can’t imagine living on an ocean. The sounds of the waves crashing must be so soothing!


Flavored butters are one of my favorite things to experiment with. This spicy one looks like a great accompaniment to many things, especially a bowlful of warm quinoa!

Hallie @ Daily Bites

Love the photos! I really like the poppies, so pretty!

Christie {Honoring Health}

Interesting idea Heidi. I’d seen that tabasco butter recipe before but would never have thought to dress quinoa with it.
The butter sounds like something that would go beautifully with broccoli also (I’m pondering this because the purple sprouting broccoli has arrived in England but sadly there’s still no sign of an asparagus spear)


course now I am feeling really silly for not reading every quinoa recipe you’ve ever posted. They all sound delicious. (Yes I am hitting my head against the wall for this oversight)


I’ve been trying to find more ways to incorporate quinoa into my diet but most of the recipes I’ve seen are so blah. This sounds tasty though. I might mix some cayenne pepper into the Tabasco butter though because I love spicy food.


What I love about your site is that you are never repetitive! Your recipes are always new and draw from so many inspirations. These pictures are gorgeous and your recipe post is making me hungry. Hope to be making this soon. I’m trying to discover the world of quinoa! 🙂


nice shots! what kind of camera are you using?
HS: Hi eh, I took my little Polaroid out for these shots.


Thanks for another interesting quinoa recipe. I’m not big on Tabasco sauce but might try another hot sauce like Cholula, Red Devil or Marie Sharp’s.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

Ohhhh, sounds interesting! I just posted a Red Quinoa Salad recipe on my blog I made for my family yesterday. Quinoa is such a great grain and so versatile.

Carrie (Love Healthy Living)

I live on the other side of the Park from you; when I go walking from my side and am always blown away by the manmade waterfall, without fail. So out of place and perfect in the city, simultaneously.
Since I started reading your website. I have started experimenting with all the different green veggies, garlic, a bit of butter, with quinoa, different rices. I am currently obsessed with udon noodles and kale, and made something exactly like this recipe today before I read it. Love it.
Thanks for your recipes!


This looks like a very nourishing post-jog lunch! I like your pics of the park. I would love to go back to SF one day….

Joe @ Eden Kitchen

Ohhh so beautiful to live steps away from the beach!!! Your recipe sounds pretty good and healthy!

Chocolate Freckles

Lovely Heidi! I really like your snap shots. You make me miss quinoa so much, but it is hard to find it in Indonesia, I think I will make this with red rice instead.


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