Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Dates, and Almonds

March  9, 2012

yogurt, toasted quinoa, dates, almonds

- Amanda

Last November, Merrill and I and our friend Sharelle pored over the lunch menu at Sitka & Spruce in Seattle. And we all immediately homed in on the strangest item on the menu: yogurt with toasted quinoa, dates, almonds, and rose salt. Was it breakfast? Lunch? Who can say no to a chef who has the guts to put a yogurt dish as a lead on his menu?

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The dish -- the clear winner on our crowded table -- was like a Turkish recipe in a West Coast cloak. With each bite of tangy yogurt the quinoa snapped, the dates sweetened, and the rose salt made it all seem a little exotic.

At home, without rose salt, a little digging in my pantry produced a dubious but still vaguely alive jar of olive salt. This worked beautifully. Not quite as mysterious as the rose salt, but it got away with it, as most Mediterranean ingredients do. A good flaky sea salt will work just fine, as well.

I wrote the recipe for 1 serving. Selfish, I am. But if you want to share, you can easily double, triple, quintuple it as you so wish.

Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Dates, and Almonds

Adapted from Sitka & Spruce in Seattle

Serves 1 (can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.)

  • 1/2 tablespoon red quinoa
  • 5 shelled pistachios (raw or salted, either work), chopped
  • 5 almonds, chopped
  • 6 ounces whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 medjool dates, chopped
  • Pinch of grated lemon zest
  • Flaky sea salt or other coarse salt -- or olive salt if you can get your hands on some
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons best quality olive oil

See a photo slideshow and the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom


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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


char&feather March 19, 2012
I toasted the quinoa and almonds on a Sunday night and made the mix last all week with my greek yogurt. I absolutely loved it. Perfect way to jazz up your greek yogurt.
Ellen M. March 19, 2012
I don't have any rose salt, but I've been enjoying this recipe with some diced Granny Smith apples and a sprinkling of cinnamon for a very satisfying breakfast. The possibilities are endless, and toasting extra quinoa, nuts and seeds ahead of time reduces the morning prep time.
goddardmom March 13, 2012
Can't wait to try this! I have nut allergies in my beautiful family... any ideas for substitutions? Thinking pumpkin seeds and...?
Emmalator March 13, 2012
I got some rose petal salt for Christmas and had all the ingredients on hand to make this for breakfast this morning. As soon as I finished it I wanted more! I'm going to make this again tomorrow!
Amanda H. March 13, 2012
Great to hear it!
judyschwab March 13, 2012
A bit off topic, but I also reread the wonderful mother-in-law dinner article and was intrigued by the description of the Red Lion cocktail. Sounds delicious. Can you share the recipe?
Nourish C. March 12, 2012
I didn't realize until now that Amanda wrote "Cooking with Mr. Latte" one of my favorite books! No wonder I love this site so much. I'll be sharing it on my own blog//website in the coming weeks and wanted to thank you and let you know.
Scribbles March 12, 2012
I, too, had this for breakfast this morning...really, really good! I'm thinking this may be in my list of favorites. Thanks for the great recipe.
PFossil March 12, 2012
I just had this for breakfast. Sensational, even without rose salt. The salty olive oil lemony finish really makes the dish.

Thank you for this one. It's a keeper.
Maedl March 11, 2012
I stopped by the health food store and bought some edible dried rose petals, which I pounded with the mortar and pestle and mixed with sea salt. I will let that season at least over night and then try this recipe for breakfast. It sounds intriguing!
Amanda H. March 11, 2012
Like your purity -- let us know how it turns out!
Maedl March 12, 2012
Purity in following recipes isn't my usual trademark, but I love the idea of cooking with flowers and I suspected that rose salt might be easily made. I made the dish for breakfast and loved it--then immediately started thinking of riffs. My next version may be with lavender salt (another trip to the organic food shop for lavender blossoms) and figs--everything else the same. Or perhaps pomegranate seeds in season with hibiscus blossom salt. One of my favorite flavors now is elderflower blossoms, so now I will try to come up with a combination of flavors that would complement that delicate, flowery taste.
ctgal March 11, 2012
I just found out two years ago that quinoa was kosher for Passover. Thanks for reminding me, Twinsx2mom! (I'm afraid to think what your site name means!) Amanda, this looks great and easy. I love all the ingredients. By the way, I followed your adventures avidly when you wrote about your Mr. Latte events in the Sunday NYT Magazine. For your amusement, I actually recently made your now mother-in-law's easy and elegant dinner menu that you were so impressed with. I saved the whole column, one of many! Those columns seem like a long time ago. I don't want to think about that either!! :-) Thanks for all your cooking creativity!
Twinsx2mom March 11, 2012
This recipe sounds perfect for Passover (in addition to year round). I am so tired of relying on Matza as the basis for my meals during Passover. Thanks!
Amanda H. March 11, 2012
Hadn't thought about it as a Passover option -- great idea!
Joyce P. March 11, 2012
Thank you for this beautiful recipe. As one of the other comments mentions, this ticks all the boxes for me with foods that are on my top ten list. I can't wait to try this out. I'm sure it will taste as good as it looks.
mjoverwater March 11, 2012
This looks wonderful! Thank you! One of my favorite memories of breakfasts in Gumbet, Turkey were the dates, almonds, olives, and salty bread served with homemade yogurt. I love quinoa and this recipe ticks all the boxes. As an RD, it's an excellent, healthy alternative to oatmeal. I will probably use low-fat or 0% yogurt -- there are so many great ones available now!
h.mountainwall March 10, 2012
Just a question about the quinoa: since it looks like it's toasted dry, I assume no rinsing of it beforehand is necessary? I thought quinoa had a natural saponin protection that needed to be washed off prior to use. Looking forward to eating this yummy delight...
Amanda H. March 10, 2012
We didn't rinse it -- according to sources I've read, most quinoa sold commercially has the saponin removed. Our quinoa did not taste bitter.
Ruhht March 10, 2012
This sounds incredible! Can just imagine the rose bringing a 'Turkish delight' flavour to the dish to add to the sweetness of the dates and saltiness of the pistachios. Do you think adding rosewater would work too or does well enough without that flavour?
Snacktuary March 9, 2012
I've never heard of 'rose salt' before. Is it similar to this: ? or a rose-infused salt?
healthierkitchen March 9, 2012
sounds totally delicious! I love dates in my yogurt, but I've never tried this in a savory fashion rather than with honey.