Quinoa with Leeks and Walnuts

I went to Bikram yoga this morning for the first time in 4 years, and I didn’t feel like I was going to die! The first class I ever took, I had to sit down for a lot of it because the heat was just so overwhelming. In case you’re unfamiliar with Bikram, it’s a 90 minute yoga class in a very hot room. It’s intense, but you feel completely amazing walking out of that room dripping with sweat at the end. I can’t wait to go back! (And sorry for talking about sweat right before giving you a recipe…lets shift gears to more appetizing things now)

For the past couple years I was convinced I hated leeks. I can’t remember when the aversion started, but I made sure to avoid them (which, fortunately, was pretty easy). Then a few weeks ago I decided to give them another chance, so I made a Turkish recipe from Arabesquethat had leeks in an egg yolk-lemon sauce and realized they were completely delicious. So when I saw this recipe from A Couple Cooks, I was excited to make more leeks.

This dish is really simple, but there are a couple key things that really amp up the flavor. One is sauteeing some shallots and then adding broth to cook the quinoa. The shallots definitely add a subtle layer of flavor. The other is cooking the leeks in butter until they begin to caramelize just a little bit in places. The finishing touches of lemon juice and toasted walnuts round it all out.

Quinoa with Leeks and Walnuts


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 small leeks (green parts discarded), sliced thinly crosswise
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan with a lid. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until soft (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the quinoa and a pinch of salt, cover the pan, and turn the heat to low. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Turn of the heat but leave the pan covered.
  4. While the quinoa is cooking, rinse the sliced leeks well in lots of cold water. Make sure to remove any dirt that may be stuck between the layers.
  5. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then stir in the leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown in places, about 15 minutes.
  6. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the leeks and walnuts, and add salt and lemon juice to taste.

(adapted from A Couple Cooks

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