Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Dates, and Almonds

March 9, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

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. The dish -- the clear winner on our crowded table -- was like a Turkish recipe in a West Coast cloak. At home, without rose salt, a little digging in my pantry produced a jar of olive salt, which worked beautifully. A good flaky sea salt will work just fine, as well.

Amanda Hesser

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


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


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the quinoa into a small saute pan and place over medium heat. Toast the quinoa -- it will begin popping when it's toasted, and as soon as it is pour it into a bowl to cool. Spread the pistachios and almonds in a small baking dish and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  2. Spread the yogurt on a small plate or shallow bowl. Sprinkle on the quinoa, pistachios, almonds, and dates. Fleck with lemon zest and sea salt, and finish with a sprinkling of olive oil.

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Reviews (57) Questions (1)

57 Reviews

Sarah B. November 19, 2018
Very easy and flavourful! The lemon zest adds a brightness to the earthier flavours of the nuts and dates.
LisaD February 22, 2018
Late to the game, but I made this for lunch yesterday and breakfast today, using a super-creamy and tangy bulgarian yogurt from Whole Foods. Delicious! I drizzled honey on it instead of olive oil; just a touch. Winner!
Author Comment
Amanda H. February 22, 2018
Glad you think so!
MsGourmand December 31, 2016
I make this over and over again. Absolutely delicious - a combination of ingredients and textures that I wouldn't have put together & the olive oil adds a luxurious finish. Love that I have learned to pop my own quinoa, an ingredient that piles up on my shelves along with good intentions.
SophieL April 5, 2016
I printed out this recipe ages ago and finally made it this morning - definitely an "eclectic gourmet" twist on breakfast. I streamlined the toasting by using the same saute pan on the stove - toasted the quinoa first, then the nuts. I also "cooled" the quinoa and nuts in the same shallow bowl that I would eventually be adding the yogurt and dates (fewer dishes to clean). I was skeptical about the flavor combination of lemon zest, sea salt and olive oil but it all came together nicely. I use a fabulous French-style organic yogurt from Sonoma County that comes in a jar - lovely flavor. The comments from others here inspire me to use other nuts and fruits. I have a jar of lime honey in the pantry that is begging to be included. Thanks!
Author Comment
Amanda H. April 5, 2016
Glad you gave it a try!
leggyloulou October 5, 2015
The first time I made this I realized I had no quinoa so I used oats. Delicious, it was like a cheat's granola! Have used quinoa since then and I love the crunch it provides and experimented with cranberries, flaked coconut, flaked almonds, pistachio oil and drizzled some honey on the top. A fantastically filling, luxurious, unctuous breakfast.
booglix August 29, 2015
Really delicious combination! It seems like a flexible recipe and I look forward to trying variations. What seems essential is good yogurt, toastiness, crunch, earthy sweetness, lemon zest, with a bit of olive oil and salt. I didn't have Greek yogurt but used some fantastic local yogurt and it was great.
Skiingstella July 28, 2015
Awesome! I'll use only one date next time. But WOW.
Andrea July 4, 2015
My new Go To breakfast! And so versatile! I have a nearby grocery store with an excellent dry goods bulk section. Planning to make use of that as a way to really mix things up without having to invest in a lot of larger containers of things. I could see this as being really good with dried mango... macadamias... and so much more!
Andrea July 4, 2015
OH, and PS... don't skip the lemon zest! It really takes this to a different level.
cooking I. June 11, 2014
This is delicious! I've just made for the first time with golden quinoa, and hazelnuts instead of pistachios. Unfortunately, I had to wing it on the lemon zest, and just scraped what I could off of the lemon with a fork (only tools I had at the office). I'm really looking forward to modifying it and trying all sorts of variations. A great way to use up the package of Medjool dates I had tucked in the pantry!
Author Comment
Amanda H. June 11, 2014
Love that you winged it in our office!
Faith April 13, 2014
Do you rinse the quinoa first and toast it wet? It doesn't sound like that is what you do but just need to check...have been reading that quinoa needs to be rinsed. Cannot wait to try this dish...thanks.
Author Comment
Amanda H. April 13, 2014
I don't rinse it!
kimberly.godwin April 5, 2014
MMMMMM..... I just made this and it is soooo simple and crazy delish. Don't leave out the lemon zest! It made all the difference. I chopped up alot more nuts than what it calls for and was happy I did. (I also think a couple cranberries chopped would be a nice bright addittion.)
Neophyte April 2, 2014
Tantalizing enough to make me spring for several ounces of olive salt. I don't think I'll be disappointed.
Anne April 2, 2014
This was really yummy! I used driec cranberries because I didn't have dates. The fresh lemon zest makes it! I'll me making this again soon.
Author Comment
Amanda H. April 2, 2014
The fruit is very much interchangeable -- thanks for giving it a try!
Amy P. March 23, 2014
I just made this for breakfast and it was so delicious!!!! I did decrease the amount of yogurt by quite a bit though as 6oz is way too much for just me! Such a delightful surprising flavours though!
Kat August 16, 2013
This is delicious, I underestimated the pairing of such simple ingredients. so good! didn't add oil and it wasn't missed- but the salt! now that's something else all together!
ortolan July 14, 2013
Finally got around to making this recipe as written, with dates. I bought some beautiful, large fresh Medjools and used marcona almonds, I was so excited. I have to say that it is leaps and bounds more delicious with prunes instead of dates! The plump tartness of the prunes and good, spicy, flavorful olive oil make this superb.
Julieek June 26, 2013
So you just eat the yogurt by the mouthful, Ortolan? I didn't think that pita would work either. But it looks pretty yogurt heavy to eat on its own - especially if it is full fat Greek yogurt with olive oil. Greek yogurt in its many manifestations is often an accompaniment to something else. I thought that this might be the case here as well. I did order the rose salt online!
ortolan June 26, 2013
I *just* finished a beautiful bowl of this. I use Fage 2%. If you are unaccustomed to the intensity of Greek Yogurt, I suppose you could substitute whatever yogurt you love eating for breakfast. I've also made this for many of my friends, who have loved it. The olive oil actually works to cut the richness of the yogurt, believe it or not.
Julieek June 27, 2013
Thanks, Ortolan! I will be sure to give this a try. The way that it was spread on the plate (above) gave me the impression that it was a kind of 'dip' (a sweet tatziki or labne) or to be had with a bread or something. I am sure that it is delicious!
Julieek June 25, 2013
What would you serve this with? Pita? Any other suggestions?
ortolan June 25, 2013
It's a very filling breakfast. Just serve it with coffee or tea! I think pita would be terrible with it.
Author Comment
Amanda H. June 25, 2013
Julieek, Ortolan is right that it's filling, but if you'd like a bread with it, I might actually go with something like a biscuit!
ortolan March 31, 2013
Oh. My. God. This was so much more delicious that I would have ever expected. I used prunes instead of dates, and pecans instead of almonds, and drizzled a bit of honey over the top along with the olive oil for good measure--the flavors came together anyway so beautifully--thank you for this remarkable recipe!
Author Comment
Amanda H. March 31, 2013
Hey -- glad you tried it. Lots of others also altered the recipe with success; seems to be built for personalization. And if you ever get to Seattle, Sitka & Spruce is a must!
ortolan April 2, 2013
I shall indeed!
fmacmac March 13, 2013
Everyone I have made this for loves it; even though I have to sometimes to persuade them to try it. It's such a delicious, healthy breakfast!