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In the kitchen, as in life, sometimes y’all have to take a bunch of goodness, throw it in a pot, boil, simmer, and pray for the best. That’s basically how this Pretty Southern recipe came to be; however, we had a bit of help from our pal: Chelsea Cook. As a girl on the go, Cook has to get creative with her cooking, and she came up with the brilliant creation of quinoa with cilantro, goat cheese, then a dash of sriracha. We’ve modified ours with a few extra ingredients. Most Southern kitchens (at least the healthy ones) should have these ingredients handy but if not this recipe will literally cost less than a few bucks at your local grocery store. We’re quite keen on this quinoa recipe and hope y’all will be too!

  • 1 & 3/4 cups  water
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 box quinoa (we picked the roasted red pepper & basil flavor)
  • 1 cup chopped kale (buy a big bag of the pre-chopped then use the rest for smoothies!)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves only)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (or to taste)

Bring the water, olive oil, and quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, add the seasoning packet from the box and reduce to medium heat. Keep a steady boil and DO NOT COVER. While the quinoa is cooking, rinse the kale and cilantro. We used a full bunch of cilantro but picked all the leaves off the stems for about a full cup of packed herbs.

After 10 minutes, add the kale. Keep it boiling for 4 more minutes then remove from heat. Add the lemon juice and garlic. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and mix in the cilantro. Do this quickly to keep the steam in the pot, as it will help release the flavor of the herbs. Let your pot stand for 3 more minutes then add the goat cheese. Serve immediately.

A heart healthy dinner of tilapia & quinoa

And if you like your quinoa spicy, add a dash of sriracha. We served ours with grilled tilapia marinated in Tex Blair’s BBQ Rub and topped with a bit of the fresh cilantro. It made enough for leftovers so we’re quite keen on having this quinoa again the next day!