Recipes: I Love Me Some Quinoa

Not your average vegetable seed, quinoa is a grain-like food that the Incans have long consumed and held sacred. Incredibly versatile, quinoa holds flavors well — pairing nicely with most proteins and veggies — and its soft, chewy texture is filling and satisfying. Nutritionally, quinoa is a complex carbohydrate powerhouse. It contains all eight essential amino acids, it’s low in cholesterol and low on the glycemic index, and it’s gluten-free. Best of all, it’s an excellent source of protein: One cup of quinoa has more protein than an egg, making it an ideal substitute for other grains and starches in your diet.

I’m excited to share with you these easy-to-make quinoa recipes from Susan Irby (aka The Bikini Chef). Add some diced chicken breast to the radicchio cups, and serve the pine-nut quinoa with salmon or pork loin and steamed veggies for a healthy, balanced meal. Enjoy!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Radicchio Cups with Quinoa and Citrus Salsa

Radicchio has a bitter flavor that provides balance to the nutty flavor of quinoa and the sweet citrus salsa of mango, lemon, lime, cilantro and pepper.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • ½ tbsp fine lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tbsp fine lime zest
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 medium mango
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed, and diced)
  • 1 large cucumber (peeled, seeded and diced)
  • ½ cup diced avocado
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 medium radicchio leaves


1. In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until almost all liquid is absorbed. Transfer quinoa to mixing bowl, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, lime zest, lime juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

3. Dice mango by taking a sharp knife and slicing lengthwise through mango on each side of seed. Make 4 or 5 lengthwise slices on each mango half. Make 4 or 5 crosswise slices on each mango half. Carefully slice along skin of mango and underneath mange “cubes” to release diced mango. Place diced mango on a cutting board and chop into small chunks, as you would for a fresh salsa.

4. Toss diced mango into mixing bowl with lemon zest mixture. Add red bell pepper, red onion, cucumber, avocado, cilantro leaves, and quinoa, and toss well to coat.

5. To serve, place 1 radicchio leaf on each of 8 medium serving plates or bowls. Spoon ½ cup quinoa mixture into each radicchio cup, and serve.

Yield: 8 radicchio cups with ½ cup quinoa each
Prep Time: 40 minutes  |  Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: 1 radicchio cup with ½ cup quinoa
Nutritional Info (per serving): 170.9 calories • 4.0 g protein • 23.9 g carbohydrates • 7.2 g fat • 3.6 g fiber

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Quinoa with Roasted Pine Nuts and Cilantro

Pine nuts have a nutty yet almost sweet flavor that’s delicious with tangy, fresh cilantro, quinoa, and other key flavors in this dish: lemon, cayenne, and coriander. Pine nuts are the edible seeds from the pine tree. Rich in flavor and nutrients, pine nuts are high in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats (the good fats), and they’re naturally gluten free.


  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • ½ tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ tsp fine lemon zest
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


1. In medium sauté pan, toast pine nuts over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn pine nuts. Transfer toasted pine nuts to a bowl, and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add yellow onion and garlic, and sauté for about 1 or 2 minutes.

3. Stir in quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes or until almost all liquid is absorbed.

4. Remove quinoa from heat, and stir in lemon zest, cayenne, coriander, sea salt, and black pepper. Top each serving with about 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, and serve.

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes  |  Cook Time: 18 minutes
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutritional Info (per serving): 142.6 calories • 3.4 g protein • 11.1 g carbohydrates • 10.2 g fat • 1.4 g fiber


For more quinoa recipes, check out The Complete Idiot’s Guide Quinoa Cookbook by Susan Irby (The Bikini Chef).
Visit The Bikini Chef website • Buy the book on


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *