Zucchini & Asparagus Quinoa [Vegan]

We are all guilty of that one night when the thought of making dinner makes us listlessly roll around on the couch and think, “…noooooooo…” in an internal voice reminiscent to that of an overly-tired toddler. That night happened to me more recently than not. New York City has been hit with some tapered bouts of hot and humid weather this May, in sharp contrast to the bitterly cold winter we all thought would never end. Granted, I live two blocks away from a 24-hour Fine Fare, but the thought of walking down and up four flights of stairs to make that trip, covered in a thin film of city grime, did not appeal to me. Sure, I could have ordered delivery, but my apartment has a buzzer that only buzzes; a glitch does not allow us to buzz people in. So…it would still be a trip up and down the stairs, regardless, to pick up my delivery order at my building’s front door.

Whine, whine, whine.

The plight of the Average New York City Millennial continues.

Chopped vegetables

Through my pantry and fridge I searched, hoping to find something, anything, that could create some semblance of a normal meal. One large zucchini on the top self of the fridge, wedged under a roommate’s friend’s box of pizza, was on the edge of death, but salvageable. I had some unused asparagus from the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus I made a few nights prior. I found an unopened bag of quinoa in the cupboard by the stove. Okay…making some progress…

Quinoa vegetables

Zucchini & Asparagus Quinoa
(Adapted from Avocado Pesto’s Quinoa with Zucchini and Asparagus recipe)
(Serves Four)


Quinoa Dish:

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa
– 1 cup vegetable broth
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided (vegetable oil can be used here)
– 1 large zucchini, unpeeled and diced
– 5 – 6 asparagus stalks, halved and cut into 1″ pieces (discard woody ends)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped


– 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
– 1 teaspoon mustard powder
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

There is always the debate on whether to rinse the quinoa prior to cooking it. Personally, I rarely do it. The fine folks at The Kitchn even say it’s a matter of personal preference. That being said, this recipe involves toasting the quinoa prior to simmering it; needless to say, it ain’t easy to toast a wet grain! My suggestion is to just add it to the pan, as is, and toast away. Should you prefer to rinse it before toasting it, you’ll need some advanced prep time: rinse the quinoa, allow to fully dry, then toast.


1.) In large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat; add quiona and stir until toasted, approximately 3 – 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and water to quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce quiona to simmer, cover pot, and cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy and all liquid is absorbed.

2.) While quiona is cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in an large frying pan over medium-high. Add zucchini and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes, or until zucchini is soft and slightly browned. Add asparagus to pan, lower heat to medium, and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minuets, or until asparagus is tender and a brighter green. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. Remove from heat.

3.) Add sautéed vegetables and walnuts to quiona and mix.

4.) Combine vinegar, mustard powder, lemon juice, and salt in small bowl and mix. Drizzle onto quiona mixture and toss.

 5.) Serve warm; roughly chop additional walnuts for garnish.

Quinoa vegetables


2 thoughts on “Zucchini & Asparagus Quinoa [Vegan]

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