Lentil and Quinoa with Herb Flowers

June 21, 2014 Published by Dina

I found a recipe for lentil-quinoa-kale-avocado tacos in the China Study All Star Collection cookbook. You must have heard about the China Study conducted by Dr. Colin Cambell. In one sentence, the findings of the study indicate that incident of disease is in direct proportion to the amount of animal protein in your diet, specifically, casein, the protein found in milk and dairy. I am not here to preach or tell you what to eat and I find it almost impossible to cut out all dairy from my diet, although I try. What’s a spaghetti without parmigiano?

The lentil quinoa recipe appealed to me but I didn’t want to make tacos tonight so I adapted it to serve as part of a lovely dinner of roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled broccolini, crisp green salad with sherry vinaigrette and the lentils and quinoa. I cook vegetarian as you may have noticed and for us this is dinner. I happened to have the lentils already cooked in the fridge but cooking them takes no time at all so I consider this a fairly quick dish to make.


Lentil and quinoa with herb flowers

Lentil and quinoa with herb flowers

The recipe was contributed to the book by Heather Crosby of Yum Universe, a plant based and gluten free website. True to the China Study approach the recipe does not use oil but since I am not using the avocado (high fat) I thought I’d enhance the flavours a bit by adding a tablespoon of olive oil. I cooked a cup of lentils and a cup of quinoa but only used half for this recipe and saved the rest of the lentils and quinoa for trying another dish tomorrow. Will keep you posted.

I have been working in my rooftop garden the last couple of days trying to get it into shape. I have been away last week and the herbs just shot up and are full of flowers. I am no expert on growing herbs but i think you don’t want them to flower too soon so I pick the flowers off. I don’t throw them away though. I pile them on a plate that I leave on the kitchen counter and sprinkle a few herb flowers onto various dishes that I make. I used a generous amount of these flowers today in the lentil dish. They added a nice fresh aroma and a delicate herb flavour to the dish. And made it look so pretty.

What’s for dessert? mixed berry sorbet that I made in the Vitamix. Delicious. Too bad you weren’t here.

Serves 4.




Fresh garlic

Fresh garlic

1 cup green lentils (not the brown kind)

1 cup quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 small fresh garlic, chopped, or 1 large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoon tex-mex seasoning mix (see below)

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Grated zest of 1 lime

1/3 cup pistachios, chopped




Soak the lentils in cold water for 20 minutes.

Cilantro flowers

Cilantro flowers

Drain and place in a pot with fresh water to cover the lentils by about an inch.

Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook partially covered until the lentils are cooked through. There should be very little liquid left. Remove and set aside.

Rinse the quinoa and place in a pot with 1.5 cups water.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through. Keep it covered for 10 minutes to allow it to fluff up.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook until fragrant but not brown.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add lentils and quinoa and stir to combine.

Add the Tex-Mex seasoning and stir it in.

Add the parsley, lime zest and pistachios (or save the pistachios to sprinkle on top).

Sprinkle some of the herb flowers on top.

Spoon onto a serving platter or individual bowls, garnish with more herb flowers.

Serve warm.


Tex Mex seasoning:

2 tablespoons chili powder

Tex Mex spice

Tex Mex spice

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne, optional

Grated zest of one lime, see note below.

Combine all the ingredients except the lime zest. If you wish to add the lime zest to the spice mixture make sure it is completely dried by leaving it on the counter to dry completely. If there is any moisture in the zest it will spoil the spice mixture. I just add the fresh lime zest to the dish.


Lentil and quinoa with herb flowers

Lentil and quinoa with herb flowers

Herb flowers

Herb flowers