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Lemon Quinoa Recipe

lemon quinoa recipe

fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh herbs.


  • Shallots (or onion): If you have never cooked quinoa with onions, this is a great dish to start doing so. I used shallots here as I love their milder and sweeter flavors, but a small yellow onion would also work
  • Garlic
  • Ground cumin: I find that ground cumin is at the top of the list when it comes to the list of spices to put in quinoa. It has a nice earthy flavor that compliments the overall flavors of the dish.
  • Lemon and lemon zest: It is no secret that freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest brightens the flavors of any recipe, especially when it is mixed with onion, garlic, and fresh herbs.
  • Fresh Italian Parsley & Fresh Thyme: As I did with my Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, this simple quinoa side dish is also elevated by the use of a handful of chopped fresh parsley and thyme. If you can get your hands on them, I recommend using fresh herbs, but their dried versions would also work.
  • Olive Oil: While it is optional, I love drizzling it with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil while it is still warm. 
  • Roasted Sliced Almonds: I used sliced almonds here, but other nuts such as pine nuts or hazelnuts would also work. I know it is an extra step, but roasting them for a few minutes in a skillet is an easy way to bring out their flavors.


1.    Sautee the flavoring agents: Start by heating a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add in the shallots and ground cumin and sauté until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.

2.    Toast quinoa: Add the raw rinsed and dried quinoa and toast for 3-4 minutes. 

3.    Add in the cooking liquid: I used water to cook the quinoa as I wanted it to have a neutral taste to benefit from the rest of the flavoring agents, but you can swap some of the liquid with vegetable or chicken broth if you’d like.

4.    Season with salt and pepper: As it is with any dish, this lemon pepper quinoa benefits from proper seasoning. Be sure to season it well with salt and pepper. 

5.    Cook: Put the lid on, bring it a boil, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 15 minutes or until there are tiny holes on the surface of the quinoa. When cooked, remove from heat and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. 

6.    Add the flavorings: Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer it to a large bowl. Add in lemon juice, lemon zest, chopped parsley, and thyme. Give it a gentle toss. Taste for seasoning and add in if necessary.

If preferred, drizzle with olive oil and top it off with a handful of roasted sliced almonds.

7.    Serve: Transfer to a large serving plate and serve while still warm.