Quinoa and Lentils


Left dish in the rear - French lentils; center front - quinoa and lentils; center rear - red quinoa as an example; right dish - common lentils.

Do you think quinoa tastes dull or even soapy? Here is something to change your mind - quinoa and lentils. It is a lively dish with mild spices, and it offers a lot of variety. This prepared dish shown was made with white quinoa (Trader Joe's) and common lentils. The quinoa is tan in this case because it was cooked with the lentils. But the dish could also be made with French green lentils and red quinoa, or some combination or variation. You can also cook the quinoa and lentils separately and combine them to serve. Initially, the quinoa will be brighter.

The French lentils can be more expensive, so try to buy them in bulk where the price is reasonable. The bulk food section at Whole Foods is a good place. The easiest lentils to find are the brown ones shown on the right, also available in bulk at Whole Foods.

The following recipe is very flexible, and you can make changes to suite your taste.

Step 1: Measure, then rinse the quinoa. Put the quinoa in a sieve and place it under a water spray from your kitchen sink to remove the last of the saponin which makes quinoa bitter and soapy tasting. Click here for the Wikipedia description.

Step 2: Measure and rinse the lentils in the same manner as the quinoa. In this case you are removing dust.

Quinoa and Lentils
Amount Measure Ingredient
2 Cups Water or stock, plus a dash of gf soy sauce
1/2 Cup Red or White Quinoa (Whole Foods , Trader Joes, or other)
1/2 Cup Brown or French Lentils
2 cloves Garlic- chopped fine, or a teaspoon or 2 of powdered garlic
1 - 2 Tablespoons (optional if you are using water instead of stock) Lipton Recipe Secrets onion soup mix or similar preparation. Lipton has MSG, but MSG is not harmful to celiacs..
    Black pepper to taste
up to 1/4 Cup Dried currants
2 Tablespoons Dried parsley (You could use fresh parsley leaves, but you will need more - probably twice as much.)
1/4 teaspoon (optional) Dried rosemary powder
1 Pinch (optional) Cayenne pepper or dash of hot sauce
up to 1/4 Cup Sunflower seeds or a combination of sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, soy bean, flax, hemp and other seeds (our mix came from a trip to England).
2 teaspoon Oil (any kind you like except motor)

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Then turn off burner and let pan sit until ready to serve. Lentils toughen in the presence of salt. If you do add salt, add it after the lentils and quinoa have simmered for 25 - 30 minutes when the lentils are tender. French lentils will cook more rapidly, so check for doneness after 15 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter.

This is a very high protein dish, but it can be served as the carbohydrate portion of the meal.

This recipe is like potato salad. No two people make it the same, and everybody makes it right. And you make it the best of all. Play with the spices, herbs, broths, etc. This is just a recipe of technique and suggested amounts.