Finally a quinoa recipe I really really honesty and truly can say I like. This lemony lentil and quinoa salad recipe is a winner for me and I owe it all to Camilla Saulsbury and her latest cookbook, 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking: 500 Recipes for Lifelong Wellness. So thanks, Camilla, for this delicious quinoa recipe that has helped transform me into a quinoa lover.
Have you ever cooked with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa)? It’s a South American grain-like seed that you cook like rice, simmering it in water or broth until the liquid is all absorbed. It’s high in protein and gluten-free. Most well-stocked supermarkets have it. (I figure if I can find it in Eagle River, Wisconsin, Population: 1,626, it’s available most everywhere.)
Quinoa has been really popular with the healthy eating set for several years now, so I’ve been kind of embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t a fan. After attempting to cook it like rice a couple of times, I thought it was bland and looked more like fish eggs than a grain.
On the plus side, quinoa is very quick and easy to cook. (It’s important to rinse the seeds well, because they are naturally coated with a bitter substance called saponin, that protects them against birds and other predators. Most packaged quinoa has already been cleaned, but it won’t hurt to soak and rinse it before cooking, just in case.)
As I think more about my quinoa experiences to date, I realize I just didn’t give it a fair chance. After all, rice and oatmeal are pretty bland on their own too. You’ve got to show them a little love to make them delicious and that’s exactly what Camilla did in this lemony lentil and quinoa salad recipe.
If you’re already a quinoa fan, this recipe is a great one to add to your repertoire. And if you are looking for a recipe to turn you into a fan, this may just be the one. It was for me.
Do you have a favorite quinoa recipe? If so, I hope you’ll share.
The recipe calls for cooked lentils, and since I had a package of these little beauties in the fridge, I opted to use them instead of cooking my own. All I had to do was open the bag, and break up the clumps with my fingers, before stirring them into the cooled quinoa.
Drizzling on the lemony dressing…
- 6 cups water, divided
- 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¾ cup thinly sliced green onions
- ¾ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil over high heat. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium low, allowing the lentils to simmer, until tender, but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain and let them cool completely.
- While the lentils are cooking, prepare the quinoa. In another medium saucepan combine the remaining 2 cups water and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the temperature to low, cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and cool completely.
- Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the tarragon, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and mustard.
- When the lentils and quinoa are completely cool, in a large bowl combine them with the sliced green onions, tossing them gently together. Add the dressing and toss again gently until everything is coated.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled, or for up to 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the chopped fresh parsley.
If you liked this lemony lentil and quinoa salad post, check out these links:
- Weight Watchers Recipe for Quinoa Pilaf with Pistachios, Raisins & Cilantro
- Apricot Cilantro Quinoa Pilaf Recipe at Meatless Monday
- Ellie Krieger’s Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts Recipe
- More than 20 quinoa recipes from the NYT Recipes for Health
- Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins from Bob’s Red Mill and Lorna Sass
- Whole Wheat Quinoa Muffins from Camilla at Enlightened Cooking