Make Ahead

Quinoa with (Almost) Caramelized Onions and Shiitake Mushrooms Two Ways

March 22, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

It's still a little early here for fresh asparagus, so I use cabbage for now. Soon, I'll switch it out to asparagus for the spring. Either one tastes great. There are also two options for seasoning. You can use a pinch of cayenne (or 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper) and a pinch of salt in lieu of the soy sauce and sesame oil if you don't want that flavoring. Just use some extra stock in step 4. I like to serve this on the side of a protein the first night, then use leftovers for lunches. Add a fried egg on top for another great meal. —healthierkitchen

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup mixed red quinoa and cream colored quinoa (or even some black quinoa mixed with red), rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock (you can use chicken if you don't want it vegetarian)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved and then thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced thinly
  • 1 small Napa cabbage or 1/2 of a larger one, sliced (about 2 -3 cups). You can also use a bunch of asparagus, cut into two inch pieces on a bias and lightly steamed.
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. When pan is warm, add 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to pan. Add the sliced onions and let them cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 - 15 minutes. You want them to get a little brown, but not actually caramelized (see picture above).
  2. Meanwhile, put quinoa and stock or water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. I like to cook it on the shorter side to maintain a little more of a chewy mouth feel. After about 10 minutes, check the pot and see if the grain has become translucent. Taste it gingerly, as the stock or water is hot, and if it's still crunchy, leave it to simmer a couple of minutes more. When it is done, the individual grains should be translucent and you should be able to see a "ring" around the edge. That is the germ of the grain. You just don't want to let it get mushy. I find that it takes less time than the packages instruct.
  3. When the quinoa is done, drain over a fine mesh strainer or colander if there is still liquid in the pan. You can reserve some of the stock if you are not using soy sauce.
  4. Lower the heat in the saute pan to medium-low and add the garlic and mushrooms. Once they have softened, about 3 minutes, add the cabbage or asparagus. Add the soy sauce one tablespoon at a time (or water or stock) to moisten the pan. Add the other if needed. Let cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 more minutes.
  5. If you are using the soy sauce and sesame oil, take the pan off the heat and add the sesame oil and mix and serve. If you are omitting the soy sauce and sesame oil in favor of the pepper, add the cayenne or Aleppo pepper here and taste for salt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • QueenSashy
  • molls to the wall
    molls to the wall
  • fuhsi
  • TiggyBee
  • healthierkitchen

16 Reviews

salena November 4, 2014
This is a great fall recipe. I had both local mushrooms and cabbage and it just fell into place. I have made quinoa with mushrooms and quinoa with cabbage but never combined them. Very nice. (I did the Aleppo pepper variation.)
healthierkitchen October 22, 2016
So glad you liked it Selena!
Monica September 11, 2013
Excellent, simple recipe. Deliciously good!! Thank you very much!!
healthierkitchen September 25, 2013
Thank you for your kind comment! So glad you liked it!
QueenSashy August 22, 2013
Cannot wait to try it! And at least in my mind, cabbage is the perfect choice for this dish.
healthierkitchen August 23, 2013
Hope you do give it a try, QueenSashy! I am very much enjoying cabbage these days, too.
molls T. March 12, 2012
So simple, so perfect.
healthierkitchen July 25, 2012
thanks so much molls!
fuhsi January 1, 2012
We happened to have all the ingredients to try this recipe and this is another one that will be added to the roster. The quinoa doesn't have to be perfectly fluffy with the composition of flavors.
Photographing food is a specialty, so don't be fooled by the picture- this combo tastes unbelievably good, to the point I've frozen the leftovers for a brown-bag lunch. Next time, we'll increase the quantity.
healthierkitchen January 25, 2012
thanks fuhsi - glad you were able to look past my photos and give this a try!
fuhsi December 28, 2011
Tried this tonight, using asparagus, as an accompaniment with lamb and vegetable kabobs- perfect match, especially if you like your meals more grain-and-vegetables laden.
fuhsi December 28, 2011
Tried this tonight, using asparagus, as an accompaniment with lamb and vegetable kabobs- perfect match, especially if you like your meals more grain-and-vegetables laden.
TiggyBee May 6, 2011
Love anything quinoa - this looks great!
healthierkitchen May 6, 2011
Thanks TiggyBee - it's one of my favorites!
healthierkitchen March 30, 2011
thanks BadCat! I love shiitake mushrooms with sesame oil!!
BadCat March 29, 2011
That was SO yummy, thank you! I was actually licking the serving spoon as I was cleaning up the dishes.