Tuesday, April 9, 2013

PARMESAN GARLIC QUINOA (you'll never eat mac & cheese again!)

I love quinoa.
Being a vegetarian I used to eat a lot of pasta, but lately have been trying to eat a little less processed pasta- especially boxed mac & cheese. I am in NO means claiming to be a part of any whole30, paleo, ANYTHING, just realized every time I ate boxed pasta I felt sleepy & sluggish. Thus, I've started eating quinoa more and more. For those of you who aren't totally behind it, I totally get it. I know it's a texture thing for a lot of people, but I promise once you learn how to cook it properly and infuse it with great flavor, you won't go back!

*oh, and quinoa is not the most appetizing to look at or photograph. bear with me *

What you'll need:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 medium white onion (cut in 1.5 inch strips)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (part of which for garnish)

How to make it happen:
Step 1: RINSE YOUR QUINOA. Don't be lazy. It takes two seconds! Rinse in cold water. Your stomach will thank me later. I won't get graphic but that's all I'll say.
Step 2: Heat up your olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute your onions for 4-5 minutes. Throw in your garlic for a minute, stirring so it doesn't burn.
Step 3: Add in your water and quinoa and cover the pot, bringing the water to a boil.
Step 4: Bring down to low and allow to simmer. Quinoa should take about 15 minutes to cook or so- but you'll know when there is a ring around the outside and the center is clear- plus about all of your water should be absorbed!
Step 5: Mix in your salt, basil, black & red pepper, and 1/3 cup of your cheese. If you want it a little more creamy, go ahead and add more!
Step 6: Dish it up while hot and sprinkle with pepper and cheese for garnish!

You'll be left with a creamy, salty, smooth dish! It's really worth it to use good, grated Parmesan cheese- the flavor will be so much better!

Willing to give up mac & cheese for this?
Try it friends. It's seriously delicious!

xo, lp


Want an even healthier, VEGAN quinoa recipe?

find me here:

*Psst: if you're an online shopper, you HAVE to use Ebates. For real, y'all. Find out more HERE*


  1. I love quinoa too! This sounds delicious!

  2. I love quinoa–although, I never knew you had to rinse it before cooking! I'm not sure if anything can replace mac and cheese in my book, but this DEFINITELY looks delicious!

  3. I don't know if I could give up mac and cheese... but I'm willing to give it a shot! Looks great!

  4. I made this last night and it turned out so well! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. This is so good! Used 2 tbsp fresh basil and 1/2 parmesan and half mozzerella only because that's what I had on hand, but still great! Fast, easy, delicious, definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oooh I bet it would be DELICIOUS with mozzerella! Great idea! Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. I found this on pinterest and although the link wasn't working it comes up on a google search. I made it for the second time tonight. My 18 year old and my husband love it! I was just mixing up whatever I had and throwing it in the quinoa in the past and I'd been pretty lucky because they always liked it and then one day I made this major fail quinoa dish and they didn't get seconds and I didn't even really like it. After that I was afraid of winging it with quinoa. I don't eat mammals and quinoa is just too important to me to risk permanantly alienating my cow eating family from it just because I'm too lazy to use recipes. So this parmesan garlic quinoa was my first time using a recipe with quinoa. I need to branch out now..but it's a start. Thanks ;)

    1. So glad you found the link! I hope you and your family love the recipe!!

    2. ditto, I've pinned the real one now too!

  9. I can't wait to try it!

  10. I have some fresh spinach leaves. I think I am going to try this recipe and add the spinach sauteed with the onion & garlic. It sounds great to me.

  11. Though I will still want mac & cheese, I do love this recipe. It makes for a quick lunch/dinner & I love how flavorful and easy it is. I found this recipe/website on Pinterest, I will def check out the rest of the site for additional recipes!

  12. Hi thanks for the recipe. I made this tonight, but was thinking more like a risotto, so I added a splash of white wine and some chopped brocolli around the 8 min mark. Everyone enjoyed it and my hubbie had seconds. I also omitted the basil just to focus more of the flavor on the parmesan. Thanks again :)

    1. Sorry in the delay in replying! Love the alterations you made to the recipe, sounds great!!

  13. I made this today for lunch. So tasty! Definitely making this for work meals. It was so easy as well!

  14. This was a great recipe! I was missing a lot of the spices, and too lazy to go out, so I added lemon juice and extra parmesan to mine. It gave it a risotto feel! Loved it, thanks!

  15. I made this tonight and it was delicious! I skipped all of the spices, added a ton of garlic (love the big jar from Costco!), and chicken stock instead of water. Way better than any mac & cheese I've ever eaten - thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying- so glad you liked it!!!

  16. Think i could make this and eat it cold for lunch all week?

  17. How many people would this feed? Because it looks like it is a single serving.

    1. It's definitely not single serving! the quinoa expands, and makes a lot! When i follow this recipe, it's good for 3 meals for me. hope this helps!

  18. Husband and I are on low salt diet. How could we compenate for/replace the salt in this recipe. I'd love to try it!

    1. Just adding more garlic keeps the flavor up without taking in the salt! also, you could cut back on the amount of cheese for sure!

  19. Quinoa really is such a versatile ingredient. Love that you made it into a delicious recipe!

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