Incan grain, Spanish flavors. Sort of. This protein-rich pilaf is reminiscent of paella, but a lot easier, and made from 100% plants.

Quinoa is a great nutrient-dense food. It’s technically a seed, but we use it like a protein-rich grain. Grown for thousands of years in South America, quinoa is now also grown in the high mesas of Colorado, too. Ain’t that dandy?!? Serve this with some green veggies, and you have a complete dinner. It also travels well to picnics. Leftovers are great for lunch.

Yes, use organic ingredients. It’s important to support our organic farmers. The way they farm makes healthier soil, which means healthier plants with more nutrients to nourish us! Organic is worth it.

You may notice the surprising red walnuts in the photo above. Yes, they’re really red. And no, they’re not GMO. Compared to regular brown (Chandler) walnuts, the red ones are crisper, creamier, and sweeter — and richer in antioxidants. You can use other nuts, too. For example, sprouted salted Texas native pecans are like eating butter. Shelled pistachios for a stronger flavor. Or just plain-old peanuts.

¼ C extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 C peeled, chopped onions3½ C boiling water or broth
6 garlic cloves, peeled, minced1½ C artichoke hearts in oil, drained (save oil for salad)
1 tsp good salt and 1 tsp pepper½ C nuts (see paragraph above)
1 tsp smoked paprika (it’s a little spicy)2 Tbsp salt-cured capers, optional
1 tsp oregano1 C pitted Nicoise olives (small & DELISH)
2 C quinoa (yellow or tricolored)½ C minced parsley, garnish
¼ tsp saffron, optional but worth it!little lemon juice, lemon slices as garnish

In a large skillet, warm EVOO over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 3-5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add salt, pepper, smoked paprika, oregano, saffron (if using) and quinoa. Stir 2-3 minutes. Toasting quinoa in olive oil brings out its naturally nutty flavor. Add tomato paste and boiling water. Stir. Cover skillet, turn heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. In the meantime, slice artichoke hearts. Once quinoa is done, let sit 10 minutes. Then toss together with remaining ingredients in your serving bowl. Garnish with parsley. Drizzle lemon over top. Garnish with lemon slices. Enjoy!