Monday, February 25, 2013


Do you know about quinoa?  It’s an ancient grain that has really been making a comeback just in the last 10 years or so.  Just from reading the back of the package I see that quinoa is a great vegetarian source of protein and fiber; as well as iron, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and phosphorus.

Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor that plays well as a pilaf, or in salads.  It is important to rinse the quinoa before cooking, however, or that nutty flavor will be taken over by bitterness… There ain’t nobody who likes bitter quinoa!

I actually had a request on the Twitter from Javier for a quinoa recipe.  I am only too happy to oblige Javier!

This Mushroom Quinoa is very versatile.  I used tarragon which has a slight licorice flavor, but you could also use parsley, thyme or rosemary.  Enjoy Mushroom Quinoa as a side dish, as a main dish with a salad, or as a stuffing for chicken, peppers, or zucchini.

Here’s what you do.

This recipe uses both dried and fresh mushrooms.  The dried mushrooms bring a more intense, earthy, mushroom flavor to the dish.  Hydrate the dried mushrooms with some boiling water.  I buy a large container of dried mushrooms at Costco; it's much more cost effective than buying the small packets of dried mushrooms at the grocery store.
Rinse the quinoa under cold running water.  This helps to remove and bitter flavor.

Saute the fresh mushrooms in olive oil over medium-high heat.

When the mushrooms have browned, add the shallots, garlic, and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Cook stirring for 2 to 3 minutes; until the shallots are translucent.

Remove the cooked mushrooms to a bowl.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the now hydrated, dried mushrooms to the same bowl as the cooked mushrooms.  Save 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms; be careful to not pour any sediment into the measuring cup.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in the same pan that you cooked the mushrooms in and toast the quinoa for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
When the quinoa has toasted add to the pan, the soaking liquid from the mushrooms, the vegetable or chicken broth...

...And a tablespoon of soy sauce.  I use low sodium.

Once the quinoa comes up to a low boil add the mushrooms back into the pot and reduce the heat to medium low.  Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed.  Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.

Chop up some fresh tarragon and stir it into the cooked quinoa.  Tarragon has a herbaceous, licorice flavor which I love with mushrooms.  If you don't love tarragon, add some chopped fresh parsley or some dried rosemary or thyme instead.  If you go with the dried herbs, you will add them into the cooked mushrooms at the same time as the shallots and garlic.

Mushroom Quinoa is super versatile; it goes great with chicken, pork, beef or lamb.


Serve 4 as a side dish

1/3           cup         Dried mushrooms
2/3           cup         Boiling water
1              cup         Quinoa
8              oz.          Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
2              Tbsp.       Olive oil
1                            Shallot, minced
2              cloves      Garlic, minced
                             Salt and pepper to taste
1              Tbsp.       Butter
1 ½          cups        Vegetable or chicken stock; low or no sodium
1              Tbsp.       Light soy sauce
             Tbsp.       Fresh Tarragon, chopped

  1.        In a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the dried mushrooms; set to the side.
  2.       In a fine mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold, running water.  This removes any bitterness.
  3.       Add the fresh mushrooms and olive oil to a 3 quart sauce pan, cook, stirring occasionally over medium high heat until the mushrooms have browned.
  4.       Add the shallots, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper; cook stirring for about 2 minutes, until the shallots are translucent.
  5.       Remove the cooked mushroom mixture to a bowl.
  6.       Use a slotted spoon to remove the dried mushrooms from the water.  Give the dried mushrooms a rough chop, and add them to the same bowl as the cooked mushroom mixture.  Pour ½ cup of the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms into a measuring cup, being careful not to pour any of the residue that had settled in the bottom of the bowl.  Set to the side.
  7.       Melt a tablespoon of butter over medium heat to the same pan, add the quinoa.  Toast the quinoa for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  8.       Add the reserved ½ cup of soaking liquid from the mushrooms, the vegetable or chicken stock, and the soy sauce to the quinoa.  Bring the liquid up to a low boil.
  9.       Stir in the mushrooms and turn the heat down to medium low to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes; until the liquid has been absorbed.  When the quinoa is done, the grains will be translucent and the outer germ layer will separate.
  10.   Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh tarragon.

Serve with chicken, steak, pork or lamb.

*Note, ½ teaspoon of dried rosemary or thyme may be substituted for the fresh tarragon.  Add dried herbs to the mushrooms in step 4.


  1. Wow what a perfect recipe! I love quinoa and I love mushrooms so pairing them up for a healthy meal sounds great!

  2. Hi Kari,
    thank you for this wonderful recipe.
    Quinua is a great gift from Mother Nature and I love the combination with mushrooms, looks so tasty :)

  3. I love quinoa and super love mushrooms even more, so this dish is right up my alley! :)

  4. Kari! you've been nominated to get a Liebster award! Details are on my blog. Congratulations!