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Quinoa: Taste The Rainbow

This simple side dish would work well as a bed for grilled salmon or as filler for a sandwich.


Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

This dish is garnished with a few roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Quinoa is all the rage these days. We’ve enjoyed getting creative with quinoa in a soup, a salad and a side dish. There are three different colors of quinoa: white, red and black. Today, we’re using a combination of all three — rainbow quinoa.

This recipe isn’t especially fancy, but that means you can use it in a variety of ways. Serve it with any type of roast meat or as a bed underneath grilled salmon. Use the leftovers as a topping on a salad or in a pita sandwich.

Before you cook quinoa, be sure to wash it well. The seeds are covered with a bitter coating to encourage birds spit them out, spreading the seeds to new places. Oh, the wonders of animals and plants living together on this earth!

Perhaps the most important bit of advice I can impart is this — Taste your dish before serving and adjust the seasoning accordingly! In this case, I added some more salt, pepper and a splash of lemon juice. Those additions really took this dish to the next level.

Rainbow Quinoa With Thyme And Lemon


  • 1 cup rainbow quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, diced
  • 1 1/2-2 cups onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • splash of fresh lemon juice

Cooking Directions

  1. Toast 1 cup of quinoa in olive oil until it gets a little nutty. Cover with 2 cups of water and cook for 15-18 minutes. Once the water is absorbed, let the quinoa sit, then fluff it up with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan. Once the pan is nice and hot, add garlic. Then quickly add onions before the garlic browns. Add a splash of water to the pan to help cook onions. Let the water evaporate out. Season with salt, pepper, thyme leaves and lemon zest. Cook until the onions are caramelized.
  3. Combine quinoa with onions and garlic. Add lemon juice. Season to taste.

More: Don’t those roasted tomatoes look delicious? Find the recipe here!

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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