Three Quinoa Recipes for Your Weekend Parties

The personal chef of Diane von Furstenberg shares three delicious and colorful recipes for quinoa. Her new cookbook is Fresh Happy Tasty.

Pomegranate, nut, and green herbquinoa

This is the first quinoa I made for DVF. I remember being nervous aboutcooking for her, but she loved it—she has a wonderful appreciation for bold,vibrant food.

Serves two.

1 cup uncooked quinoa1/2 small red onion, finely chopped1 small garlic clove, minced1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil1 1/2 tablespoons HummusMaldon or other flaky saltFreshly ground black pepperJuice of 1 to 2 lemons1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted2 cups sliced almonds, toasted1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds1 handful fresh dill, roughly chopped (no big stems)1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped1 small handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1. Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions.2. While the quinoa is cooking, combine the onion, garlic, olive oil, and hummus in a large glass bowl.3. Drain the quinoa and put it back in the pot. Stir it over low heat for a couple of minutes to steam off some of the excess water.4. Add the quinoa to the glass bowl, season with salt and pepper, and add the lemon juice.5. Loosely cover the mixture and let it sit until it comes to room temperature. If you are not serving immediately, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.6. When you’re ready to serve, mix the nuts, pomegranate seeds, and herbs with the quinoa and toss with your hands. Check the seasoning. Remember, when food sits for awhile, especially in the fridge, the cold tones down the seasoning, so add a bit more lemon, salt, or pepper if you need to.

Lobster quinoa

This is another DVF favorite—it’s so luxurious and fresh. When I’m aboard Eos, I’m often approached by fishermen in little boats carrying huge whole lobsters. Cooking lobster sometimes can be daunting because it might seem like a massive effort to buy and prepare the whole thing. When I’m on land, I usually just buy the tails, so I’d recommend you try that too. The horseradish is the secret weapon in this quinoa, so definitely make sure to get some, even for just a small amount. You can add more if you like an extra kick. (I do!) You could buy cooked lobster tails if you don’t want to get into cooking them—in that case, start at step 3.

Serves six.

6 lobster tails, shell on, cut in half with kitchen scissors1/4 red onion, finely choppedExtra-virgin olive oil1/4 cup sauvignon blanc or other dry white wine1 fresh dill sprigMaldon or other flaky saltFreshly ground black pepper2 heaping cups uncooked quinoa1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved1/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise (see note)2 garlic cloves, minced1/4 red onion, finely chopped4 teaspoons jarred prepared horseradish (not the sauce)Tabasco sauce (just a few shakes or a lot of shakes)Juice of 1 lemon1 handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped1 handful fresh dill sprigs, roughly chopped (no big stems)1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly choppedSqueeze of agave nectar

1. If you’re not using cooked lobster tails, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.2. Place the lobster tails, olive oil, wine, dill, and salt and pepper to taste in a foil pouch. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking after 15 minutes, until the lobster is just cooked through and opaque in the middle. Let cool.3. Cook the quinoa in boiling water for 15 minutes and drain. Return to the saucepan over low heat; stir for 1 minute with a wooden spoon to remove the excess water.4. Place the warm quinoa in a large glass bowl and mix in the tomatoes, mayonnaise, garlic, onion, horseradish, Tabasco, and lemon juice.5. While the lobster is still warm, add it to the quinoa, gently breaking up the lobster meat into manageable-size pieces. (If you have precooked lobster, break it up and add it here.) Mix in the herbs so that they all fuse together nicely and the flavors meld. The rough edges of the lobster will help it soak up the other flavors.6. Set aside to cool to room temperature or cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Just before serving, add some more lemon juice, salt, pepper, and agave to balance.NOTE: I don’t use a lot of mayonnaise, but when I do, I use Kewpie mayonnaise. It’s the best for cooking because it’s mild and smooth and not too fatty or thick. It’s a Japanese product, but it’s getting easier and easier to find at grocery stores or specialty shops, and I like the packaging!

Quinoa risotto

I love risotto, but rarely eat it because I always feel so heavy and slow afterward. Making it with quinoa instead of rice gives you the wonderful taste and comfort of risotto without all that starch. This is a DVF favorite.

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Serves four.

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1⁄3 cup finely chopped red onion1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced1 cup uncooked quinoa1 cup sauvignon blanc or other white wineMaldon or other flaky sea salt2 cups water or vegetable broth, plus more as needed1 cup green beans cut into 1-inch pieces1/4 to 1/2 cup green peas1/2 cup lima beans1 cup asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces1/2 cup shelled fava beans3 tablespoons crème fraîche1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheeseJuice of 1/2 lemonFreshly ground black pepper1 small handful fresh dill leaves, roughly chopped (no big stems)1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped1 handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for about 4 minutes, until softened.2. Add the quinoa, give it a good stir, and let it toast for about a minute. You’ll hear it start to crackle.3. The next steps are the same ones you’d follow with risotto: Add the liquid in thirds to let the quinoa soak up each batch of liquid before the next addition. First add the wine and a bit of salt and let the liquid cook out, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. When there’s almost no more liquid in the pot, add 1 cup of the stock, give it a good stir, and again let that cook out gently for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, then repeat with the remaining cup of stock. These steps will take about 15 minutes. If at the end of the 3 additions of liquid the quinoa isn’t completely cooked, add a bit more stock and cook it out until the quinoa is done to your taste.4. Add the green beans, peas, lima beans, asparagus, fava beans, and 1/2 cup water to the pan. If there’s no liquid in the pan, add more to allow the ingredients to cook a little more easily and to keep the dish moist. Turn the heat up a little and partially cover the pan to give the vegetables a cook.5. When the vegetables are cooked and bright green, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the crème fraîche, Parmesan, and lemon juice and check the seasoning.6. Just before you’re about to serve, throw in all the beautiful herbs and stir well.