Quinoa with Blood Orange and Basil

by Marla on March 20, 2010 · 40 comments

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quinoa with tumeric, blood orange, green onion and spices

Blood oranges are showing up all over the markets and the web these days. Not only are they beautiful with their ruby red color, but they are a tasty addition to sweets and savories. This is a great dish for Meatless Monday’s. Quinoa is a great high protein whole grain that is also gluten free. The citrus and grain combo makes for a great side or full meal when served with veggies.

This salad brings out the flavors of spring. Even folks like me who cling to everything winter will love the peppiness of this whole grain dish.  A bowl of this quinoa and I am ready to embrace the tastes and flavors of the upcoming warm weather seasons!  Grab a spoon and dig in.

healthy whole grain side dish, feeds a crowd

About Quinoa

  • It is gluten free and low on the glycemic index, a slow burning high energy food.
  • Loaded with phytonutrients and minerals.
  • Great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
  • It is an inexpensive whole grain.
  • Quick cooking. In 15 minutes it is ready to serve.
  • There are many varieties of this grain. Each have a similar nutritional profile. From red to cream, pinks, brown & black, you can create beautiful, rich looking dishes with it.
  • It  is a complete protein with 9 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks needed for our tissue development. A great way for vegetarians to get a complete source of protein.
  • This versatile grain can be seasoned and used in many ways, sweets and savories.
  • It  is a great addition to soup, casseroles, stews, chili.  Wonderful to use for breakfast too!
  • It keeps a nice firm, nutty texture, doesn’t get mushy even with sauces.

Quinoa with Blood Orange and Basil

Makes about 8 half cup servings


  • 1 cup dry Quinoa (prepare according to package directions)
  • Handful chopped fresh Basil + some for garnish
  • 1/2 Lemon or 1 Tbs Lemon juice
  • juice from 1/2 Navel Orange (any “orange” Orange) or a few tbs Orange Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • chopped Green Onion (Scallions)
  • A few pinches of the following spices:
  • ground Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Tumeric
  • 3 Blood Oranges: cut into small pieces with pith and seeds removed


Prepare quinoa according to package. Let it cool and toss with all of the above ingredients. Add the sliced blood orange last so they don’t break up too much when you combine. This is best served at room temperature or chilled.

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  • Toasted nuts: Add some walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, almonds, etc.
  • Cheese: Top with Chevre (creamy goat cheese), Feta, good sliced Parmesan, Romano, Gruyere, etc.
  • Dried Fruit: Toss in some chopped dried Apricots, Cranberries, Cherries, etc.
  • Have a few ounces of quinoa with cheese or nuts for a mini meal.
  • Toss with mixed greens and some lean protein for a balanced salad.
  • Use as a bed under your favorite lean protein. Serve with a side of steamed veggies.
  • Use unseasoned quinoa for breakfast instead of oatmeal. Serve with any toppings you would put on your oats.

Quinoa Recipe Links

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara March 20, 2010 at 10:34 am

Looks Delicious & Springy! Love the blood oranges in the salad! :)


2 Maria March 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

Can you make this for me for lunch? It looks Soooo good!!! Have a great weekend!

Marla says:
Any time girl, come on over for a visit!


3 Michelle March 20, 2010 at 11:33 am

I keep seeing so many great quinoa recipes popping up but I can’t find it at my local stores. :( Same with the blood oranges. I really have to find myself a better place to shop!


4 Ann @ Healthy Tasty Chow March 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

It’s so sad that I’ve never had a tasty blood orange here, but trust me, if you go to Italy, you HAVE to have some! I had the best fresh squeezed blood orange juice outside of Pompeii a few years ago (and normally I do not even like orange juice…too sweet, would rather eat an orange)- the best substitute here is Cara Cara oranges when they are good- but it’s still not the same. However, your pictures look beautiful and the quinoa looks yummy!

Marla says:
Ann, if I ever make my way back to Italy I will remember your recommendation. I too prefer the whole fruit over the juice any day.


5 FoodFitnessFreshair March 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

This sounds awesome. I’m a huge fan of quinoa. I also love blood oranges, but probably more for their aesthetics than their actual taste.


6 Gaby March 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Omg what I wouldn’t give for this right now for a late lunch! Looks fab and super healthy!


7 xiaoyen March 20, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I had blood orange once and found myself liking the fruit. This recipe is something new to me. Nice and healthy too!


8 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 20, 2010 at 11:48 pm

what pretty food, marla! I love blood oranges and where did i just see the greatest recipe for quinoa…cant remember i read too many blogs, but basically you take cooked quinoa and mix it with oats and cinn/sugar and banana and basically make muffins with it. It was a really nice use of leftover quinoa b/c whenever i make it, i end up with wayyyyy too much. those little buggers multiply on me :)
thx for the emails today, meant the world! oxxo

Marla Says:
Muffins with the quinoa…great idea. I will need to track that recipe down.
Always here for you girl!


9 Joanne March 21, 2010 at 6:28 am

I adore quinoa! It is definitely one of my favorite whole grains (although I have to say, I’m really loving barley at the moment as well). This salad sounds delicious. Perfect for a grab-and-go lunch. I think I like the color of blood oranges more than the taste. There is something so dramatic about them.

Marla says:
Sounds like most of us agree that the color is much more special than the flavor with these blood oranges.


10 denise @ quickies on the dinner table March 21, 2010 at 9:06 am

A very pretty salad Marla! Never had quinoa before but I will buy a bag next time I see it and give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration :)


11 caronae March 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

OMG genius! The flavor combinations sound absolutely perfect here. I’ll have to go fetch me some blood oranges and basil. Mmmm mmm mmm. Happy Sunday :)


12 grace March 21, 2010 at 9:58 am

i REALLY enjoy quinoa–its texture, flavor, and nutritional benefits combine to make a valuable little ingredient! your salad-type creation here would be delicious–nicely done!


13 A Canadian Foodie March 21, 2010 at 10:44 am

I had the same experience you have had the first several times I tried a blood orange. I think they were picked unripe – sent to ripen, not tasty – woody in texture. Then, in Italy, I tasted a blood orange. It was so sweet, yet so tart at the same time. Absolutely sensational. However, I still do not buy them at home. Have never found a good one here, but your recipe looks sensational… and cooking with one makes a lot of sense. Great thinking! YUM.


14 marla March 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Sounds like the general opinion here is that blood oranges are really pretty but lacking in flavor…unless you have them in Italy! Valerie and Ann, you are two lucky gals to have had them there. Until I get to Italy, I will use them as an accent to a dish!


15 Faith March 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

This looks so fresh and bright, Marla! Definitely a perfect salad for spring! Blood oranges and basil sound like a really refreshing combo. I’ve been dying to try quinoa as an oat replacement! :)


16 Cara March 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I love the versatility, taste, and health benefits of quinoa! Another neat tidbit about quinoa is that it’s kosher for Passover, so I’ve been working with it a lot lately, trying to come up with new things for the holiday. This sounds like a great combination!


17 sweetlife March 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm

what a wonderful spin…perfect for spring.



18 aruna March 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Looks awesome, just yumm!


19 arugulove March 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I’m super excited by the flavors in this dish -looks incredible!!


20 Linn @ Swedish home cooking March 22, 2010 at 8:20 am

Blood orange in food is super super delicious. mm. I very much like that for dinner!


21 Pallavi March 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

My two year-old also looks at me in horror when I offer her blood oranges. So funny. I’ve linked this this recipe on my new blog. Thanks so much for it!

Main site

Recipe page



22 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather March 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

Looks fresh and delish! I actually just tried blood oranges for the first time over the weekend and really enjoyed the more subtle flavor. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains and it pairs so nicely with fruit!


23 Nicole, RD March 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

What a combination of flavors! I’ll bet it was fantastic! I’m not a quinoa fan but I think that’s because of how its been prepared. Basil and blood oranges, however, sounds delicious! And your pictures? Wowza! They are gorgeous! I may have asked you this before, but what camera to you use?

Marla Says:
We have a Canon 10D. About 6 years old…could use an upgrade bad! 17-40mm lens


24 Coley @ cookingiwthcoley.com March 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I was admiring how pretty this recipe was on your blog yesterday and saw you were featured as a Top 9 on Food Buzz today – congrats!


25 Chitra March 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

this is so inventive i love it. quinoa is a staple in my cupboard when i get bored of rice and couscous. blood oranges yum!


26 Carol, Simply...Gluten-free February 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

You are right, quinoa is the perfect grain! Love your
version and I must try this soon. Thanks for the link love :) xo,


27 Paula - bell'alimento February 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

Quinoa is such a great canvas for infusing flavors and blood oranges is one of my favorite flavors : )


28 Marla February 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

Paula: Love foods that serve as creative canvases. Quinoa is a great grain for any time of the day. I need to develop a lot more recipes using it :)


29 Heather February 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

I also cling to winter, but this salad looks sunny and bright tasting – I would love to have this on a pretty day like today!


30 Amanda February 26, 2011 at 9:20 am

What a beautiful presentation marla!


31 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. February 26, 2011 at 9:36 am

I can’t wait to try this one. This has all of my favorite ingredients in it.


32 Shaina February 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Love the idea of the orange and the basil together.


33 Cookin' Canuck February 26, 2011 at 8:25 pm

What a beautiful quinoa dish, Marla! We make quinoa at
least once a week and are always on the hunt for new


34 SMITH BITES!! February 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Marla – this is just fantastic – i can taste all those flavors coming together! you say side dish, i’m thinking main dish – LOVE!


35 sippitysup.com February 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

The color of blood oranges never ceases to amaze me!


36 Jaime {sophistimom} March 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Marla, you made something that’s difficult to photograph look absolutely beautiful.


37 Megan March 3, 2011 at 6:40 am

I always keep quinoa in the cabinet but dont use it as much as I should. This sounds really good and I’m going to look for that grain. I’m sure it’s somewhere here in the back. 😉


38 Jennifer (Savor) April 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Thank You for the linky love and for sharing a refreshing quinoa recipe. XO


39 Megan McD April 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Can’t wait to try this! I love anything with quinoa.


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