Recipe Spicy Lemon and Saffron Quinoa

Quinoa prepared with lemon and saffron is truly special. The dish is very minimal but the ingredients are standouts. The saffron gives the quinoa an eye-catching yellow hue in addition to the rich, full, complex flavor the tiny threads provide. This is then accompanied by the bright, tartness of lemon with red chilies for heat and mint for that palate-cleansing sweetness between spoonfuls. The way to get the quinoa just right is high-quality saffron. It is pricey but only a few threads are required meaning it will last for quite a while. Always look for fragrant saffron with a musky aroma.

Serves 4


  • 1-2 dried red chilies, finely chopped (you can go with mild or spicy chilies)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add the quinoa along with saffron. Toast for a few minutes or until the quinoa starts to release its nutty aroma.
  4. Toss in the dried red chilies.
  5. Sprinkle with some salt and pour in your liquid of choice.
  6. Increase heat to medium-high.
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  8. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  9. Remove from the heat and leave covered for a few minutes.
  10. Uncover and transfer to a bowl. Fluff gently with a fork and set aside to cool a bit.
  11. Stir in the mint and lemon juice. Add the lemon juice slowly to achieve the right level of tartness.
  12. Add more salt if needed.
  13. Serve.

Enjoy your meal!
Check out other recipes for dessert or breakfast.


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