Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lemony Quinoa and Cabbage with Chickpeas and Olives

WHY IS QUINOA SO EXPENSIVE? I have mentioned before that it is not my favorite grain. But I do like its nutritional profile and because of its popularity, I see very enticing recipes for it everywhere I look. Like this one, which is adapted from Martha Stewart. I was intrigued by the combination of ingredients--quinoa, cabbage (one of our favorite vegetables,) chickpeas, olives, lemon, and dill, all well loved, yet I couldn't quite imagine how they would taste combined. I am happy to report that we loved this dish and I will be making it again. Perhaps next time, I will experiment with a different grain?

Back to the price of quinoa. . .

Quinoa grows best at cool high altitudes at 2500 to 4000 meters, unlike rice or wheat which grow efficiently on large acreages of flat farm land. The top producers of quinoa are farmers in the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru. You know what that means: steep mountainous terrain, not easily mechanized, and difficult transport.

From now on, if I choose to purchase quinoa, I will happily pay the price.

Lemony Quinoa and Cabbage with Chickpeas and Olives
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 head cabbage, sliced
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup large green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh dill
Yogurt or sour cream for serving

Bring water to a boil. Stir in quinoa and 1/2 tsp. salt; return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat, and cook until water evaporates and quinoa is dry and tender, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

Heat oil, over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and cook, stirring often until tender and golden brown in places, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in quinoa, chickpeas, olives, lemon juice and zest, Toss to combine, season with salt and pepper. Stir in dill and serve topped with yogurt or sour cream.


  1. Quinoa really is rather pricey, isn't it? Loads of nutrition, however, and I love it in soups. Or in this -- fun dish. Great way to use cabbage, too (cabbage has been on my mind a lot lately!). Good stuff -- thanks.

    1. John, since I was using the humble (and cheap) cabbage, I figured I could splurge on the quinoa. Plus I bought it from the bulk bin so was able to buy only the 1 cup I needed for this dish. Thank you for your comment, Rocquie

  2. What a great side dish, I am looking for new ways to eat the Quinoa that is in the freezer waiting.....

    1. Melynda, we really enjoyed this dish. Thank you for your comment, Rocquie

  3. Love this Rocquie! Funny, today I'm working on a column about grains and I'm featuring quinoa.

    1. Rosie, I found much information about quinoa when I was researching it. Much of it gets political and ethical. Interesting subject for a column. . .
      Thanks for your comment, Rocquie