Salads and Side Dishes

Saffron Quinoa

Preface for my non-Jewish readers. One of the main elements in keeping Passover is to restrict eating any form of wheat or leavened bread products. Posting a quinoa recipe for Passover will definitely raise some flags for my Jewish readers.

For even slightly religious Jews, quinoa is not acceptable for Passover. You can go back and forth about it forever and people will choose to believe what they want. Here’s a quick blurb about why quinoa might be a ok for your week of wheat free eating: quinoa is in fact kosher for Passover because it is in no way related to wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt. According to the chabad, it is acceptable for this reason. Genetically, quinoa actually resembles the properties of a beet more than it does wheat, which is pretty hard to believe. There are two reasons that many will protest it. 1) It’s incredibly difficult to grow quinoa without it being in proximity of the five forbidden grains. Valid. 2) Quinoa can be classified into the category of legumes, which are in fact allowed over Passover, but historically were confused with the forbidden grains and thus forbidden themselves. This practice started in medieval times by some very strict rabbis.  Ughhhhh. This one kind of stinks for contemporary times, but I’ll go with it for sake of tradition.


If you read this and decide there is no way I’ll ever serve quinoa over Passover, then you are probably in good company. However, I would still use this recipe and substitute a Passover stuffing. The fruit and crunchy nuts give it a great flavor to compliment the Moroccan Chicken I posted earlier this week. The chicken has lots of warming spices, and the quinoa has a few different sweet flavors to balance it all out. I’ve used dates a few times recently and love their honey-like taste and texture. If you use a stuffing substitute, bake according to package directions for dish size, time, and temperature.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes     Total Time: 30 minutes

1 1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried saffron (unless you have the good stuff, and only use threads!)
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small vidallia onion, small dice
1/3 cup dates, pits removed
1/3 cup apricots, roughly chopped
1/3 cup currants, rehydrated
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
salt and pepper to taste

  • Bring the chicken stock to a simmering boil. Add the quinoa, saffron, and turmeric to the pot. Reduce to low heat and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, heat a large skill over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes so that the onions start to caramelize. Add the fruit to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat until the quinoa has finished cooking.
  • Add the quinoa to the saute pan and mix in the fruits. Add the toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

One Year Ago Today: Bistro Steak Sandwich 

Other Recipes for Passover:

Passover Zucchini Kugel
Passover Zucchini Kugel
Cinnamon Apple Matzo Brei
Cinnamon Apple      Matzo Brei
Mocha Macaroons
Mocha Macaroons

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