Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spinach Almond Quinoa with Berries

How about a fresh quinoa dish to start the week out right?! I think so. I would say that this is to help bring spring to Michigan as well, but that doesn't seem to be happening too quickly, or perhaps anytime soon. 18 degrees today with the windchill is COLD, especially for it almost being April.

I have been making this quinoa dish for a while and truly enjoy it and thought I should probably share this with you already. It would be so rude of me to only keep this to myself :)

If you are new to gluten-free you may be new to quinoa...it is actually a seed. Not technically a grain, but is still considered a whole grain... weird. It is amino-acid rich protein which means that is has the same make-up of eating 'meat' protein and so if you are a vegan/vegetarian, it is a very helpful protein to help stay balanced and nourished. Some consider a super-food-grain because of it's high protein components. It is highest in manganese, but also has high amounts of iron, calcium and magnesium. It is said to improve cardiovascular health and prevent female health issues with breast cancer and hormones. So ladies, if you haven't made quinoa a apart of your diet, then consider this your wake up call to get to the store and try this special little gluten-free seed grain we call (KEEN-WA).
I have made this dish a few ways, but most of the time there is always, almonds, spinach and a berry of some sort. It is a perfect combo of bitter, sweet and crunchy. Plus the quinoa has a nutty flavor that ties it all together. I think the fresh herbs are also what make this dish great and full of extra nutrients and flavors. Do you now that fresh herbs are health foods? Well they are... they have large amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and then they are green, so that is good for you too. Just a little tidbit to think about. Which is one of the main reasons why I have an herb garden every summer...to enjoy the scents, flavors and vitamins. Anyway, onward to the recipe to hopefully bring spring to Michigan...
Spinach Almond Quinoa with Berries Recipe
2 TB of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced and chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves of garlic diced and minced
1 1/2 cup of dry quinoa
2 cups of veggie broth or stock
1 cup of pure water
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of black pepper
2-3 TB of tamari sauce (gluten-free soy sauce would work too)
1 TB of dried Italian herb mix (oregano, basil, or thyme/rosemary)
1-2 cups of fresh spinach leaves (start with 1 cup, but if you want more greens, add 1 more cup)
1/2 cup of raw almonds (whole or sliced)
1/2 cup of a berry (either dried blueberries, craisins, or even figs or raisins) or use fresh blueberries or figs instead
1/4 - 1/3 cup of fresh chopped parsley ( or I have used cilantro)
Fresh lemon to squeeze on top

First, saute the chopped onion and garlic with the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add in the dry quinoa and broth/water, and also the salt and pepper. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the quinoa becomes fluffy. Quinoa cooks the same as rice with one cup dry grain to 2 cups water/broth... BUT, it cooks in half the time of brown rice, so keep an eye on it and then...

Just before the quinoa is done, add in the tamari, herbs and fresh spinach. Stir constantly to get the spinach to wilt and combine all the flavors. Then lastly, add the almonds and berry to mix in and not become too mushy. Then when you are ready to serve, top with more fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon... viola you have your delicious quinoa dish!

This dish will serve as a perfect side dish or feed about 4-6 people as a center-dish.

Hope you try this simple quinoa dish and love it!

Much love to you!


  1. Stephanie - I just have to say, your recipes always seem to take the cake for me. Every single one you put out is right up my alley! I get really excited over your posts. Can't wait to see all the things you come up with next :) I've added thi to My Favorite Recipes from Last Week post. Thanks! ~Aubree

  2. Aubree- Thanks for your kind words! And for adding me to your Top 10. Love it! Hope you have a good week! Much love, Stephanie

  3. I have become such a huge fan of quinoa! It's so versatile. This sounds awesome and I'm going to give it a try tonight!

  4. I love the mix of flavors here! Usually my quinoa is savory and/or breakfast porridge-y.

  5. Love your blog so far and haven't even tried your recipes yet:) Thank you for posting these yummy and healthy recipes!!:)