Monthly Archives: April 2012

Quinoa with Lemon and Zucchini

One thing I always stress as an image consultant is that if you want to look great, you first have to feel great. And a big part of how you feel derives from what you eat. It’s so important to fuel your body with healthy, nutrient-rich foods that give you energy. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt when these foods taste great, too!) That’s why I want to share one of my favorite recipes with you: Quinoa with Lemon and Zucchini.

I make this dish year-round for my family, and it’s also one I frequently email to friends. I first came across it in a publication by Whole Foods Market, and it can also be found on their website here in case you’d like to print a version formatted for a recipe card.

If quinoa isn’t a staple in your home, I encourage you to give it a try! Quinoa is a very healthy grain, and this dish in particular simply feels clean as you eat it because it’s the perfect blend of grain, veggies, and cheese. Plus, it’s very easy to prepare since it’s a one-pan stovetop meal. I have added my own comments in italics to the original recipe below.

Quinoa with Lemon and Zucchini

Active prep: 15 minutes

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced

1 ¼ tsp. fine sea salt  I start by using only ¾ tsp. of salt, then add more when I’m eating if needed.

1 ¼ cups quinoa, rinsed for 1 minute under running water

2 ½ cups water

Zest of 1 lemon

2 Tbs. lemon juice  I love that I can use multiple parts of the lemon: the zest and the juice!

Lots of chopped fresh dill  I normally use an entire bunch.

Crumbled feta (optional)  Feta is very tasty with this dish. More often, though, I use goat cheese. It blends wonderfully with the other flavors and is a little healthier than feta.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove zucchini from the pan and add quinoa, water, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, until quinoa is tender but still chewy and a white spiral-like germ appears around each grain, about 15 minutes.

Toss quinoa with zucchini, zest, lemon juice, and dill. Serve warm or room temperature, topped with feta cheese if you like. I typically serve it at room temperature.

Make it a meal: Toss with peeled, cooked shrimp. I have never tried this option, but if you do, please let me know how you liked the addition of shrimp!

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If you and your family don’t eat the entire batch of quinoa, save the rest and eat it the next day for lunch. The leftovers are easy to transport in a Tupperware container, and I’ve found that the flavor combination is even better after the ingredients have had more time to blend. I hope you enjoy this good-for-you (and great-tasting!) dish as much as my family does.