Lemony Quinoa with Pine Nuts & Spinach

Bright, colorful, yummy and gluten-free, try this versatile and good-for-you in so many ways recipe from Kale and Chocolate’s Elise Museles.

Quinoa is the only plant-based food that has all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. In addition to being gluten-free, quinoa is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin E. Spinach, parsley and anti-inflammatory spices enhance the nutritional benefits of this dish, and the lemony dressing seals in the delicious combinations of flavors. This is my go-to way to serve quinoa. It’s easy to make, and it tastes amazing!

*Serves 6


1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water (or use 1 cup vegetable broth and 1 cup water for additional flavor)
2-3 teaspoons fresh turmeric (*optional)
Sea salt
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups raw spinach, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


*Add one teaspoon of dried turmeric to the cooked quinoa prior to mixing with the other ingredients as an alternative to the optional fresh turmeric. (Choose one or the other.)
Add golden raisins and/or garbanzo beans.


  • In a small pot, add quinoa, water and salt. If using the optional fresh turmeric, add that into the water. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let the quinoa sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes before removing the lid. Allow the quinoa to cool slightly (at least 20 minutes) before transferring to a serving bowl with toasted pine nuts, lemon zest and parsley. 

  • While the quinoa is cooking, slice the spinach and parsley, toast the pine nuts and grate the lemon zest.

  • Place the sliced, raw spinach on top of the quinoa mixture. Add in the garbanzo beans and golden raisins if using.

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Slowly add in olive oil to form an emulsion. Pour the dressing to the top of the quinoa bowl making certain to moisten all the ingredients. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

  • Serve this nourishing and delicious dish slightly warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Another wonderful recipe from Elise Museles and Kale and Chocolate: Vibrant Veggie Soup

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 This recipe was originally published on kaleandchocolate.com   Reprinted with permission. 

Elise MuselesElise Museles is an attorney turned Certified Eating Psychology & Nutrition Expert and creator of Kale & Chocolate.  A writer, speaker, teacher and healthy lifestyle advocate, she empowers people to reset their relationship with food & their bodies—by creating a happy, healthy, and ridiculously delicious Food Story. Elise is also the author of the newly released book, Whole Food Energy, (Barron’s Educational Series, January 2016) and shares daily inspiration (and mouth-watering photos!) on FaceBook and Instagram.


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