Quinoa with Spiced Carrots

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I confess, I’m a bit of a food collector. I have to have every kind of grain, rice, seed, nut and dried fruit in my pantry ‘just in case’ I need to prepare any recipe at a moment’s notice. And every spice, a variety of salts and peppers too.  So much so, that I had a side closet turned into an extra pantry cupboard this week because I was running out of kitchen space!  Some items haven’t been used as often as I would like and I think it’s time to give them all a chance.  Therefore, this week, I have chosen quinoa. Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, originally from South America. Black quinoa isn’t really black; rather it’s a blend of black, white, tan and brown. The red and black varieties have a slightly nuttier flavour than the white quinoa seeds.  I have included a link: What’s the difference between red and golden quinoa? for additional fun facts and recipes.  I, of course,  have the three different colours of quinoa: white, red and black.

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Usually, I mix them all together for a confetti effect.

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I have been making this recipe for years although originally it is made with carrots and zucchini ( Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Quinoa). However,  I only had heirloom carrots in my fridge and no zucchini so I work with what I have.  And the carrots give it lots of colour on their own.  Also, this recipe is delicious in single colour quinoa mode too.

Cut the carrots into small cubes.

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Besides the quinoa and carrots, the rest of the ingredients consist of only currants, sweet paprika, cinnamon and a bit of salt.

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Prepare the quinoa first.  The ratio is twice as much water as quinoa.  This recipe uses 4 cups of water to 2 cups of quinoa.  The currants and salt are added at this step also.

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Cooked quinoa, up close.

Pan fry the cubed carrots in olive oil.  Next add the cinnamon and paprika and coat the carrots with the spices.

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Combine the cooked quinoa with the spiced carrots.

IMG_1636 (1024x683)Mix in some chopped cilantro or parsley and you have a delicious side dish.   Twenty minutes and you’re done.  This can be made a day in advance and re-warmed in a baking dish.  Delicious with any main course.

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Quinoa with Spiced Carrots

4 cups water
2 cups quinoa, rinsed well, drained
2 tablespoons dried currants
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Mix in paprika and cinnamon. Add quinoa to skillet; toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to baking dish. Cover and chill. Rewarm, covered, in 350°F oven about 15 minutes. Mix in cilantro and serve.
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11 comments

  1. Lovely recipe and great pictures!

    1. Thank you for your comment! It is as much fun to photograph as it is to eat!

  2. Frances harris · · Reply

    I love quinoa and made it for dinner last night.

    1. I will try and find other quinoa recipes in the future.

  3. Yummmm!

  4. Using this for Passover. Thanks for the idea Shelley. Where do I get sweet paprika?

    1. Hi Susie! The first time I made this recipe was for Passover too. Regular paprika is sweet, as opposed to hot paprika or smoked paprika. Enjoy!…Shelley

  5. Sounds great. I like to make a batch of quinoa for the week then have it for a quick lunch. There are some new flavours in this recipe which I’m sure to try soon. Thanks!

    1. Very organized and a great idea to make a batch in advance. You can try other spice additions too…like cumin?? Enjoy!

  6. Roslyn Nudell · · Reply

    Could I use raisins instead of currants?

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