Orange and mint-marinated quinoa + steamed vegetables {vegan + gluten free}

Orange and mint-marinated quinoa + steamed vegetables {vegan + gluten free}

(cliccate qui per la versione italiana)

Happy Monday folks! I hope everyone is well rested after all these holidays (at least in Italy). I know I am, I also “stopped” eating (huge meals) on Jan 1st and even started a new diet! That is – I eat less and especially less or no stupid carbs such as white bread and pasta, and I also try not to eat or make baked goods (this is the hardest for me). I’m keeping track of my calorie intake using an app called “My Net Diary” (I’d tried once before in 2014 but I kept forgetting to log all my food and quit after a couple of weeks). So far so good! A week has gone by and I’ve been really good at keeping up with both diet and app. It’s not a strict diet at all, I made it myself and I think I am mature enough not to stress over it! Besides, I know perfectly well when I’m eating something I’m not supposed to, like 100gr+ bowls of white pasta…

Back to today’s recipe! I want to share with you one of my absolute top favorite ways to eat quinoa: with lots of lemon and orange juice!! I think it’s a match made in Heaven. As usual, the recipe is really simple and with basic ingredients so I hope all of you will give it a try!

About quinoa: I tend not to eat it often because of controversial environmental concerns (there are countless articles on the topic, try this and this). I mean, when you read something like this, won’t you think twice before eating a bowl of delicious, protein-packed quinoa? “With the burgeoning demand in Europe and the United States for healthy, gluten-free grains, quinoa—which is very high in protein—has become very popular, especially among foodies. But because of this, today, most Bolivians cannot afford to buy quinoa, and the quinoa-growing region of the country is also the most malnourished because those who grow quinoa for export now purchase refined grains to eat from the store. The region also faces decreased soil fertility, as farmers mine their soil to grow quinoa year after year to meet Western demand, instead of using traditional methods of rotating polycultural crops with llama pasture to restore fertility and prevent erosion.

So I eat quinoa very occasionally, mostly when I’m in foreign countries where often the only healthy option is a quinoa salad. It’s ok! It’s a great, nutrient-dense ancient grain that deserves to be cultivated and eaten but we lucky people in 1st world countries should consider not consuming it as much. This goes for all of the “superfoods”…think of the environmental impacts of growing avocadoes, almonds, soy…!!! It’s crazy. Just… Moderation.

 Orange and mint-marinated quinoa + steamed vegetables {vegan + gluten free}

by Marta Giaccone

serves 2
prep time: 5 mins, cooking time: 25 mins, total: 30 mins


¼ cup quinoa
½ cup water or vegetable stock
handful fresh mint
juice of ½ a lemon
juice of ½ an orange
2 tbsp olive oil
1 zucchini
1 carrot
bunch Swiss chard
pinch salt



  1. Rinse and drain quinoa in a strainer, transfer to a small pot along with water or vegetable stock and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then lower flame and let simmer until all water has been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl combine oil, a pinch of salt, lemon and orange juice and some finely chopped mint. Add half of the dressing to quinoa and mix. Set aside.
  3. Wash and peel vegetables (if necessary), then chop and steam until just tender. Don’t overcook them! They should still be crunchy.
  4. Dress vegetables with the remaining liquid. Serve quinoa with vegetables on the side or mixed in. Add some more fresh mint. Enjoy!

Orange and mint-marinated quinoa + steamed vegetables {vegan + gluten free}

Orange and mint-marinated quinoa + steamed vegetables {vegan + gluten free}

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