8 In Sides

Quinoa with Leeks and Herbs

Quinoa with Leeks and Herbs

There’s something distinctive about leeks that makes them uniquely delicious. I’m not sure what it is, but they’re not just any old onion. We’ve learned a lot about substitutions in cooking, but I truly can’t think of another ingredient that can quite capture their flavor. So when I saw leeks make their appearance at our local farmer’s market, I couldn’t wait to use them!

This recipe was intended as a stuffing for some acorn squash (another market find), but it was so delicious that we wanted to share it as a side dish recipe of its own. The flavor of the leeks mixed with the fresh sage and thyme made for a wonderful savory combination; we’d highly recommend using fresh herbs if you can get ahold of them!  And if you’ve never made quinoa, this is a great way to try it out – it’s one of our favorite nutritious grains (and gluten-free, if you’re cooking for someone that is)!

Try this idea in a Thanksgiving or other special meal as an alternative to traditional bread stuffing.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quinoa with Leeks and Herbs
Notes: If you don’t have fresh sage or thyme handy, you can substitute dried. However, we highly recommend finding some fresh herbs to get the full effect of this dish! The rule of thumb is to substitute three parts fresh herb to one part dried; here we’d use about 1 tablespoon rubbed sage and 1½ tablespoons whole thyme. Only use ground dried herbs if that’s all you can find; if so, you can use even less! This tastes best when the quinoa is freshly made, so if you can, try to time it so that you can serve right away.
Serves: 4 to 6 as a side
What You Need
  • 1½ cups quinoa (white, red, or mixed)
  • 1 pound leeks
  • ¼ cup fresh sage
  • ¼ cup fresh thyme
  • ⅓ cup walnuts
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
What To Do
  1. Make the quinoa: Cook the quinoa following the instructions found at Master Recipe: Perfect Quinoa, using 1½ cups quinoa and 2¼ cups water. While the quinoa cooks, complete Step 2 and 3.
  2. Chop off the dark green stems of the leeks, then slice them in half length-wise. Place each leek half cut-side down, then chop it into thin slices, resulting in half-moon shapes. Rinse the slices thoroughly in a colander to remove any dirt. Remove the leaves of the thyme, and chop the sage leaves. Roughly chop the walnuts.
  3. In a skillet, heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Add the leeks, and saute about 4 minutes, just before they begin to brown. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts by placing them in a small skillet and toasting over low heat, until slightly browned (watch so they don’t burn)
  4. When the quinoa is done, stir in the sauteed leeks. Then add the fresh sage, thyme, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Taste, then add more salt or pepper to taste, as well as a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Top with walnuts and serve immediately.


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  • Reply
    November 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Oooh, going to make this but using some bulgur I have (need to clean the shelves before I purchase any more dried grains)!

    • Reply
      November 7, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Great idea – now I want to try it with bulgur too! (My favorite of grain currently :) )

  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    That dish looks delicious–and I’m with you, I adore leeks.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Oh I love the idea of pairing it with leeks! I want to add some craisins in here too! YUM!

  • Reply
    Cathy @ What Would Cathy Eat?
    November 9, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Wow. This looks incredibly good, yet nice and simple. You should link it to my Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge! http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011/10/announcing-the-healthy-thanksgiving-challenge/

  • Reply
    tasha - the clean eating mama
    November 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I wanted to let you know I share this amazing recipe on my own blog – http://www.thecleaneatingmama.com/2011/11/tofurkey-day-1.html

    I love your site – thank you for creating such wonderful recipes!

  • Reply
    Gabi Rupp
    November 21, 2013 at 5:59 am

    I love these kind of quick and healthy recipes –
    just 3 main ingredients: Quinoa, leek and walnuts – Wonderful!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2016 at 12:05 am

    So easy, but oh so good.

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