Quinoa with asparagus and oranges

A flavourful and hearty salad or main dish!

I’ve long been a fan of quinoa and I keep learning new things about not only how to cook it but also how to optimize the flavour of these delightful little superfood seeds. I’ve found toasting them before simmering them in a seasoned broth is one of the best ways. I prefer to serve red or multicolour quinoa as it has a more interesting colour on the plate. This salad’s bright, fresh flavour and loads of vegetables help to make it a lovely part of any brunch or dinner menu, whether you are feeding vegans, vegetarians or omnivores.


  • 1 cup (250 mL) orange juice
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) grated or finely minced ginger root
  • 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa
  • 18 slender stalks of asparagus; in 1″ pieces
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) white wine or water
  • 1 red bell pepper; diced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen peas
  • 1 navel orange (I used a Cara Cara)
  • 4 green onions; minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted walnuts, chopped


  • Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cool running water for 2 minutes, running your fingers through the quinoa as it rinses. Rinsing removes most of the quinoa’s natural coating, which can be bitter when cooked. Drain well.
  • In a large, non-reactive saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the quinoa is slightly toasted. This step enhances the flavour of the quinoa.
  • Add orange juice, water, salt and ginger to the quinoa; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot with lid and reduce heat to medium-low so quinoa is just simmering.
  • While quinoa cooks (should take approximately 20 minutes), sauté asparagus in the white wine or water in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes; add red pepper and peas and sauté one additional minute. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Remove peel and pith from orange and cut into quarters. Slice quarters into ¼ inch thick slices and set aside.
  • When quinoa is tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat and let it stand, covered, for 10 minutes, after which you can transfer it in a large serving bowl.
  • Add vegetables to the quinoa along with the green onions, oranges, cayenne and walnuts; stir gently to combine well.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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