My friend made this for me a few weeks ago. I usually find quinoa unpalatable due to its somewhat bitter taste, but the creaminess of the goat cheese really masks it well. 

The original recipe is from Food52 but my friend made a few delicious substitutions. 

Ingredients Edit

  • 2 cups salted water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped into 1" lengths
  • 1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 small scallions, minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (or any light oil, the original calls for walnut)
  • 3 tbsp. slivered almonds (the recipe called for pine nuts)
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, oil, nuts, and goat cheese.
  3. Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed -- the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.
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