Lemon Herb Quinoa with Hemp Seeds, Spring Peas, and Basil

June 27, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This dish shows off hemp seeds and quinoa -- two sources of complete protein. Both of these ingredients are sort of famous for being "hippie foods," but as you'll see, they're both perfectly accessible and delicious, especially when paired with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Feel free to substitute the basil for dill, oregano, or another herb of choice; no matter what, they result will be a tasty, satisfying, and simple meatless meal! —Gena Hamshaw

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup Quinoa, dry
  • 2 cups Water, cold
  • 1 cup Green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup Fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Shelled hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea salt (plus a little extra)
  • 1 dash Black pepper
  1. Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer with cold water. Transfer to a pot and add the 2 cups cold water and a nice pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer, and leave the lid of the pot slightly ajar while cooking. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is plump, the water is absorbed, and you see the tiny little outer “shells” of the quinoa grain coming loose in the pot.
  3. Remove quinoa from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes or so. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  4. While quinoa is cooking, boil fresh or frozen peas till warm and tender. Drain and set aside.
  5. Mix quinoa, peas, basil, and hemp seeds in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and black pepper. Pour over the quinoa salad mixture, and serve warm or cold. Dish will keep excellently (though the basil might turn a little dark) in the fridge for 2-3 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Sherry Zaks
    Sherry Zaks
  • Marghet
  • Nancy O'Leary
    Nancy O'Leary
  • Kaite

27 Reviews

Katherine January 2, 2019
I make this at least once a week. It's so easy, filling, and delicious. Friends have all asked me for the dressing recipe after trying. When I'm low on groceries, like really low, I use white wine vinegar instead of lemons, and when I've just been to the market, I toss in kale, mint, basil, and cilantro. It's an amazing go to.
Taylor S. March 26, 2018
Delicious! A perfect spring time recipe - will try it with dill next time! I added double the amount of lemon juice and will probably add the zest next time as well. Might cook the quinoa in some veg. broth base - it's a simple recipe but I want a little more oomph :)
Sherry Z. July 13, 2017
This was fantastic. Didn't have hemp seeds, so I left that out. I added some lemon Zest and parm. I also always cook my quinoa in chicken stock (using better than bullion) and I felt I added a needed meatiness to the disk. Definitely going to make it again!
Kerry G. February 26, 2017
Lovely. I used mint in place of basil as I served it with an Indian inspired dish.
Marghet November 3, 2016
What a great template for a quick meal! I was missing mustard and basil (sprinkled some dried basil) and it still turned out great! Put some hot sauce and sprinkled a little parm-regg and ate it right! Next time I'll add more frozen green veggies from the fridge.
Nancy O. August 30, 2015
I also used red quinoa, substituted almonds for the hemp seeds, added garlic to the dressing and crumbled creamy sheep's milk feta and extra basil on top. Also delicious with mint. Great make ahead recipe!!
Kaite July 8, 2015
I could drink the dressing from this recipe it is that good! The great thing about this recipe is how quick it is as well as how easy it is to substitute ingredients. I didn't have peas so I used green beans. I blanched them and then cut them to about pea size. I also didn't have hemp seeds so I just threw in some pine nuts and chopped up some almonds. Lastly, when I served myself I added some cheese to mine. I used what I had on hand, cotija, and the saltiness played really well with everything. Although, I imagine feta or goat cheese would be more appropriate.
koc June 12, 2014
Delicious! Plus it's so quick and easy to put together. I didn't have any peas so I used edamame instead and just added them to the quinoa during the 5 minutes resting stage. Also added toasted pine nuts. Thanks!
isabel April 2, 2014
I've made this a couple of times and it's been so handy to have on hand, especially since I was getting a bit bored with quinoa. When I cook the quinoa I always throw a whole garlic clove in, too, so that I can add it to the Dijon mustard dressing. I crush it against the side of the bowl and just stir it right in... works really well for me. I also forgo the hemp seeds and add chopped, roasted hazelnuts instead. Yesssssss
Francine W. July 18, 2013
Just bought hemp seed at the recommendation of a friend and was looking for a way to use it. Lo and behold, there it was! I will make it for dinner tomorrow, serving it as a side to salmon. Thanks for the recipe.
[email protected] June 18, 2013
Delicious. Sbstituted tarragon as well as tarragon mustard.
Hello.IamPhat June 17, 2013
This dish is DE-LISH! I made this over the past weekend and WOW! It's luv in a dish <3. {I made the following changes:: added a little shrimp and omitted the sea salt.}
Tashipluto June 11, 2013
Made this last night and subbed asparagus cut up small and blanched in place of the peas. Also used toasted pine nuts. Really good.
Lee A. May 16, 2013
Beyond delish. I cook this so often that I may need an intervention. I much prefer toasted pine nuts to hemp seeds, and I cube in a block of silken tofu at the end for added unctiosness. Is that even a word? Yummy yumness.
Sarah E. May 3, 2013
Loved this! I used red quinoa, left out the hemp seeds and added pine nuts and chopped (sautéed) portabella mushrooms...delightful :)
Kaja1105 April 17, 2013
I've made this a couple of times recently, and it is a mild-tasting but delicious dish that one of my friends aptly described as a comfort food. Even so, there is something slightly addictive about it. (Perhaps it's those hemp seeds?) I was able to find fresh peas at the farmers market, and even with the extra time it took to shell them, the dish came together quickly.
walrusgumbo April 12, 2013
amazing combo. i added the peas (fresh) to the same pot as the quinoa during the last 5 minutes off heat at the end of the cooking process (to save a step). i subbed toasted pepitas for hemp seeds. while the mixture was still warm i snacked on it with slices of gouda goat cheese. wow - they pair well! for dinner i paired the dish with crispy juicy slow cooked pork loin with a sweet & spicy roasted pepper sauce + a spanish syrah to drink.
glammie March 25, 2013
What do the hemp seeds add? Crunch? Flavou? Could I use pumpkin or sunflower seeds or pine nuts instead? Toasted almonds or pecans? I don't see myself using hemp seeds again ... would prefer not to have to buy them.
Shiyam S. March 25, 2013
Thats Dinner tonight. Great Idea. Thank you
aqua E. March 24, 2013
I make this almost every week for lunches to take to work and I never get sick of it. It is so delicious and I don't feel guilty eating a giant bowl of it.