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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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. Thanks!

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, sasa.


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