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Italian Style Quinoa

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Healthy quinoa spiced up with a classic Italian Soffrito makes for a simple and delicious meal in this Italian Style Quinoa recipe.

 

Italian Style Quinoa recipe

In the recent cooking class I went to at Marianos, we learned about four quick starters that you can use  in soups, sauces, couscous, quinoa, brown rice and vegetable dishes.

Below are the four starters with flavors that are particular to countries around the world. A few nights ago I made a quick side dish, Italian Style Quinoa, using the Soffritto as a starter. I really loved the way it turned out and thought I would share! Feel free to use any of the starters below and modify according to your tastes!

Italian Style Quinoa in a bowl

Starters:

Indian Curry: Curry uses about 25 different spices, but the basics include turmeric, cayenne, pepper, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom.   Start with sautéed onion in canola or olive oil, then add a combination of these spices (1/4 or 1/8 tsp for the hot spices and maybe ½ or 1 tsp of the others ) and then let the flavors really cook.

To begin:

1)      Heat oil over low/medium heat for two minutes

2)      Add chopped onion and cook until translucent, approximately 4-5 minutes.

3)      Add spice blend to skillet, stir frequently to combine all ingredients.

Sofrito: A sofrito is a flavorful base that can be used as the starting flavor to rice, quinoa, baked chicken and many other dishes.  A basic sofrito is sautéed onion, tomatoes, sweet pepper, tomato sauce, cilantro and garlic.

To begin:

1)      Heat oil over low/medium heat for two minutes.

2)      Add chopped onion, tomatoes, and sweet peppers and cook approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

3)      Add garlic to vegetable mixture; cook approximately one minute, stirring often.

4)      Add fresh cilantro, stir to combine.

Mirepoix: A mirepoix is a base used in classical French cuisine.  Sauté diced onion, diced celery, diced carrot until translucent.  These ingredients can be purchased frozen and used when needed.  Add a bay leaf, thyme, and parsley  and add to the base.

To begin:

1)      Heat oil low/medium heat for two minutes

2)      Add diced onion, celery, and carrot and cook until translucent, approximately 10 minutes, stirring often.

3)      Add bay leaf, thyme, and parsley, stir frequently to combine all ingredients.

Soffritto: Italian version which incorporates a mirepoix with tomato paste and garlic, then add basil and oregano.

To begin:

1)      Heat oil over low/medium heat for two minutes

2)      Add diced onion, celery, and carrot and cook until translucent, approximately 10 minutes, stir often

3)      Add tomato paste and garlic, stir to combine all ingredients, cook two minutes

4)      Add basil and oregano, stir often

I used the Soffritto as my starter and then added the quinoa in. I loved the way it turned out. I find quinoa very bland on its own and am always looking for new ways to spice it up!

Italian Style Quinoa

delicious Italian Style Quinoa

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  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A simple side dish made with quinoa and Italian flavors of tomato, carrot, celery and basil.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped and loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package (usually takes about 10-15 minutes).
  2. While quinoa is cooking heat oil over low/medium in separate pan for two minutes.
  3. Add diced onion, tomato, celery, carrot and cook until soft, approximately 10 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add tomato paste, and garlic, stir to combine all ingredients, cook two minutes.
  5. Add basil and oregano, stir to combine, and cook for two more minutes.
  6. Once quinoa is done cooking combine the vegetables mixture with the quinoa and mix well.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley or chopped green onions and serve warm.

Notes

You can use 2 teaspoons dried basil instead of fresh basil. When you make this dish you can taste it before serving and add more salt, pepper or other spices if you feel it needs more flavor. I thought the above ingredients yielded great flavor though!

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Cilantro Lime Rice - A Cedar Spoon

Friday 8th of May 2020

[…] love finding new ways to spice up rice, quinoa (check out my Italian Style Quinoa), any grain really. So when I saw her recipe for Cilantro Lime […]

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

Friday 7th of December 2012

Like you, I want something with quinoa - much too bland on its own for me. What a great post!

A Cedar Spoon

Saturday 8th of December 2012

I agree! I am always looking for new and exciting ways to spice up quinoa!

Leah

Friday 7th of December 2012

YUM, Julia! Of the four starters, the Soffritto definitely stood out the most to me. This sounds absolutely delicious... and the fact that you cooked the quinoa in it... Ahhh, I can't wait to try this immediately!

A Cedar Spoon

Friday 7th of December 2012

I agree! It was the one I thought looked the best as well. I really liked quinoa (only really starting eating it recently). I know you had a couple of recipes using it that I wanted to try. I am hoping to cook with it more as time goes on. Have you started using kale? I haven't done much with that yet...

Tonya@The Quick Dish

Thursday 6th of December 2012

I adapted a recipe for Quinoa Mac &Cheese that was a big hit at Thanksgiving.

A Cedar Spoon

Thursday 6th of December 2012

Oh that sounds awesome! I would love to see the recipe--are you posting it soon?

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