Snapshots and Savorings

Moments captured. Food adventures. Recipes to keep. Life savored.

Lemon Parmesan Quinoa

I made quinoa last night for dinner. It’s fast to make – it only took me 30 minutes! It was hectic trying to cook it though. I over-used vinegar, so  it turned out really sour. I was in such a rush because I had to go to a fellowship event with grad students from MIT. Speaking of which, I am so thankful for how they were hosting a testimony night that night only 15 minutes away from where I live! So of course I wanted to go, especially since a lot of fellowships/ church small groups are on break during summer. I was so glad I went and got to meet the 3 GP people we always just heard about – Marcus, Stephanie, and Michelle. They were super nice and since my friend from Berkeley who came with me was wearing a Cal shirt, Marcus and Michelle immediately noticed and we got along just fine because once a cal bear, always a cal bear. I really feel that God led me to the fellowship that night… how I got in touch with Stephanie the day before and how they were doing a testimony/ outreach kind of event on Friday. It was fun to fill them in on all that has been happening at GP, and to hear about their transitioning experience. Nothing out here is like GP, they said, but you have to learn to not compare I guess, and to just be stretched in different ways out here as you might be challenged to serve or step up in a fellowship group or church group.

Some things I have been thinking about –

– should I join a church small group or a graduate student fellowship? If I join a church one, I can be more involved in the church. But if I join a graduate student one, I can get to know and grow with more people who are my age…

– if asked to lead a small group, or to be more active in a small graduate student fellowship at my school… can I do it? Will I be willing to be challenged in that way? It’s scary to think about doing so as I feel that I do not have enough knowledge or training… but maybe those are just excuses. This is something I need to pray more about.

But yes, it was great talking to them and knowing that even if I don’t join their fellowship (as it is all composed of intense MIT graduate students), I have them nearby to just chat and talk to, seek prayer from, and get advice from. Oh, and Marcus told us about Cal football game viewings with other Cal bears in Boston! Although I was never a big Cal football fan, it will be a way for me to stay in touch with my college roots, and to just get to know other Cal alumni.

Back to the quinoa, after this tangent. Quinoa is a seed but is often confused as a grain. It’s a very healthy pseudo-grain to eat, as it has:

– all the essential amino acids (aka is a complete protein)

– a source of fiber

– offers calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate and iron

and in addition to all that, it’s gluten-free!

After discovering this “grain” last year, I fell in love with it and really only have 1 way of cooking it. I supposed I could explore other ways, but this recipe has just been so yummy and easy to make.

My lunch today!

Lemon Parmesan Quinoa Salad

Used vinaigrette recipe from

You can also easily make your own colorful variations of this dish by adding in your favorite summer fruits or vegetables with the quinoa so that you toss up a different quinoa salad every time. The combinations are endless – the recipe has yet to get old for me, as I have made it with pomegranate seeds and purple cauliflower in the past! This time, I just mixed in some feta cheese, green zucchini, and yellow squash, and seasoned with some dried parsley and Italian seasoning.

For the quinoa:

1  cup of quinoa

2 cups of water

For the lemon parmesan vinaigrette:

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (save the zest)

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or substitute with distilled white vinegar)

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of black pepper

1 tablespoon of sugar

¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad (make your own variations!):

2 cups of  zucchini, diced

feta cheese (however much you want), crumbled

Fresh herbs (parsley, basil)

1. Rinse the quinoa before adding it to a pot and filling the pot with the water. Add a pinch of salt to the quinoa and bring the quinoa to a boil. Reduce the quinoa to a simmer and let it cook for 15-20 minutes with the lid on, until you see the “tails” from the quinoa seeds become visible. Once it is done, remove quinoa from the heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork before putting the lid back on to cover for 5 more minutes. Then, fluff the quinoa again and let it cool.

2. To make the vinaigrette, here’s useful trick I learned from Dr. Maring from Kaiser. Using an empty spaghetti sauce jar (or any other jar or bottle), combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, salt, black pepper, sugar, cheese, and olive oil. Cap the lid and shake the mixture until well mixed – when the oil has emulsified with the lemon juice.

3. Pour mixture over cooled quinoa and mix well with a spatula. Add more Parmesan cheese or salt if needed. Dried herbs can work as well to enhance flavor.

4. Mix in fruits or vegetables and cheeses you prepared on the side. For example, you can chop up zucchini and toss it into the quinoa salad, or add in some chopped purple cauliflower boiled for 2-3 minutes until it is cooked. When plums, peaches, nectarines, and berries come into season, you can dice them and add those to the quinoa salad as well to make the dish all the more refreshing and summer-y to eat! Top the dish with the finely chopped fresh herbs and enjoy.

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This entry was posted on August 26, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged .

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