Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Confetti Quinoa and Lentil

Quinoa! Pronounced (KEEN-wah). Scary word for those of you who have never heard of it. An even scarier word if you've tried cooking it and said, "bleh!". I'll admit, I wasn't a huge fan of the taste when I first tried it. Cooked straight up, it tasted a lot like dirt. Encouraging intro, no? Anyway, my initial experience didn't deter me from trying it again. Even though I wasn't a fan of the taste in it's natural state, I was a HUGE fan of its nutritional value. Without going too far into specifics, (after all I am no Nutritional Anthropologist-lol), simply put, Quinoa is often considered a grain, but its actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It's high in protein which makes it an excellent choice for vegans, vegetarians and mamas like me who don't eat much meat and can't get their babies to eat a lot of meat either.

I make this dish on a Sunday night and store it in the fridge. It's ready and waiting for me as a quick lunch for the family or as a yummy side dish for dinner. The veggies in this are colorful (like confetti) and chopped small, making it a great dish for your little ones. My son has been eating this dish since he was 9 months old. He LOVES the taste and I feel good feeding it to him, knowing he's getting veggies and protein in one quick and easy meal! Hurrah!

Quinoa and Lentil Confetti
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup red lentils (or any quick cooking lentils you have on-hand)
1 cup quinoa (i prefer the red variety but used the white variety in this recipe)
3 cups water (or low sodium chicken stock)
2 teaspoons salt (may need more, as mine took quite a bit of salt. taste it first!)
pepper, to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas

1)- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or deep skillet over medium heat.

2)- Add in chopped carrot, zucchini, onion and garlic. Cook until slightly soft, about 6 minutes.

3)-Stir in lentils and Quinoa. Pour in water and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Fluff with a fork.

4)- Stir in peas at the last minute and serve.

** Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.


  1. Quinoa, alone, is bland and uninspiring BUT like tofu and a chicken breast, it takes on any characteristic of a paired item and becomes something else altogether...something sublime, simple, hearty but light and really, so nutritious. I make a mexican spiced quinoa and often can't get enough of it. And that's awesome that your little man will eat it!

  2. excellent! I will try this one today!

  3. hi its me again, is this serve better cold, cool? or hot?

  4. hi - i am new to your blog. where would one pick up quinoa? the health food store or regular grocery market? i am looking for healthy alternatives to gluten.

  5. Armonia- In my opinion its best served warm because of the lentisls and reheats beautifully in the mocrowave.

    Joyfully- Welcome! so happy that you are checking my blog out. Qunioa is becoming more readily available in regular supermarkets in the health food section but can always be found in regular health food stores and if you live in the US, Trader Joe's as well. Its a PERFECT food for Gluten Free diets!

  6. If you're new at cooking quinoa, remember to wash it thoroughly first. Otherwise it can taste bitter.

  7. We're big fans of quinoa. Add butter and reggiano parmasean cheese and it's delicious.

  8. Just made this tonight... {eating it as i type} so yummy im loving this!

  9. this was really delicious! thanks for the recipe.