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

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

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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! Magda

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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