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  • Writer's pictureMarissa Bialecki

Recipe: Quinoa with Shiitakes, Toasted Pine Nuts & Parsley

Calling this a recipe feels silly. It's more like a suggestion, a guide, a recommendation, if you will, on how to pull together some ingredients you might already have in your pantry and fridge that you need to use up. I came up with it years ago for a few reasons: a) quinoa has more fiber and protein than couscous or rice, making it a healthier alternative, b) I could make a batch of this on a Sunday and it would jazz up salads or serve as a side dish throughout the week, and, c) when you buy a Costco-sized bag of quinoa, you gotta find something to do with it.

What I like about this grain salad is that it's simple, but tasty. Low effort, high reward type of thing, you know? The shiitakes lend a nice umami flavor that compliments the nuttiness of the quinoa and toasted pine nuts, while the lemon and parsley give it a fresh zippiness that will make you want to eat it by the spoonful. I've made it with what I think are balanced proportions of each ingredient. But if you like more mushrooms, go for it. Less parsley? Have at it. More of that zippy lemon juice? Knock yourself out. Like I said, this recipe is a guide; nothing in it is a hard fast rule.

Quinoa with Shiitakes, Toasted Pine Nuts & Parsley

Serves 4-6


1 cup quinoa*

2 cups water or broth

5 oz. sliced shiitake mushrooms

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for mushrooms

1/4 cup pine nuts

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for dressing

tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for dressing

Fresh lemon juice from 1 and a half large lemons + 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. *Cook quinoa according to box instructions (or use handy guide from Whole Foods). I typically do a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. Chicken or vegetable broth will give the quinoa a richer flavor.

  2. Add pine nuts in a single layer to a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Gently toast for 1-2 minutes, frequently shaking the pan. Do not walk away, do not get distracted. Pine nuts go from toasty to burnt in a snap! Transfer the toasted pine nuts to a large mixing bowl.

  3. In the same, now empty skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add shiitakes, salt and pepper. Sauté until softened and browned, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to mixing bowl with the pine nuts.

  4. After quinoa has cooked and cooled, mix in with the mushrooms and pine nuts.

  5. Chop parsley and fold into quinoa mixture with lemon juice and 4 tablespoons olive oil.

  6. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Note: I find that if you do store this to eat later in the week, the quinoa will continue to absorb the dressing. If you find the salad to be dry or not as flavorful, simply add more freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil to taste.



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