Quinoa with Asparagus and Oranges

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 nutrition-packed seeds. I’ve found toasting them before simmering them in a seasoned broth is one of the best ways. I prefer to serve red 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.

Cooking the quinoa in a blend of orange juice and water gives it a really great flavour.

Cooking the quinoa in a blend of orange juice and water gives it a really great flavour.


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


  • 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.

About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
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