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Quinoa with Broccoli and Lemon

November 7, 2013

So my dear dear (and I mean dear) friend/soul sister Laura AKA Lulu (of Lulu’s Apple n’ Honey Cake fame) came for my birthday. We haven’t seen each other for almost 3 1/2 years, and that was for my niece Karen’s wedding. It was a very exciting and beautiful time. And it was also a tough time. I was getting over a big hurdle and did everything in my power to make it out of the hospital to be at that wedding. And be at that wedding I was. Me and lots of other people. Lulu, her hubby, Bobby and lovely daughter Dora were there, as part of the NY Delegation (there was also a sizable Israel Delegation, but that’s another tale).

Three years before, in 2007, Lulu and Bobby and both their kids, Dora & Alex, were on their way to LA to share in the day that my Novio and I got married. There was a crazy freaky snowstorm that succeeded in closing down not one but the three major New York/New Jersey airports. Very disappointing all the way around. This was in March, mind you. When was the last time that happened? So they were determined to make it to the niece’s wedding.

One-to-one time? We didn’t have a whole lot of it in 2010. It was now high time for Juju to get a dose of Lulu and vice versa. We became best friends in the 6th grade and through all these years, our connection is just as strong, if not stronger.

She discovered Zumba a few years ago and it totally meshes with her passion for music and dancing. She’s dancing away a few nights a week after work and man, does she look good. It’s effected her eating patterns. She eats a good breakfast and a solid lunch. Then, by the time she gets home after Zumba, she just wants something light, like Greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Nothing too heavy. And no constant trips to the kitchen (as I have a tendency to do, funny how things change).

I know her eating habits. I wanted her to be happy. We had good robust coffee waiting for her, along with lots of fruit, yogurt, homemade granola and plenty of love and hugs. And I prepared a few things in the days before her arrival that I knew she’d enjoy.

Things like:

And quinoa.


She’d never had quinoa before – time she and quinoa got to know each other. I was only too happy to make the introduction. I do quinoa all kinds of ways. Click here for an example. Or here. Or maybe here.

Broccoli and lemon were a light choice to mix with the quinoa that would balance well with some of the other dishes I’d prepared.

broccoli and lemon

broccoli, cut up

Shocking the barely-cooked broccoli in a bowl of ice water retains color. Remove after a couple of minutes. Don’t want them to catch a cold.

broccoli in ice water

To add more color, you could throw in some tomatoes.

tomatoes: sun-dried and fresh

Or not. I kept it simple… green only.

Lulu’s very easy when it comes to food, just don’t give her any raw garlic or onion (and let’s not discuss fish). Thought maybe I could slip in a bit of green onion. Sure enough she spotted it, but didn’t appear to mind.

fresh herbs and lemon zest

All in all, she was pretty pleased with what she was fed.

Quinoa w Broccoli and Lemon


As you can imagine, the three days with Lulu flew. She mailed me a T-shirt ahead of her visit that states:  CAUTION: PRONE TO SUDDEN OUTBURSTS OF SONG. That Lulu knows me so well. Since her arrival, there have been numerous outbursts (of song, that is). For the next approximately 68 hours, we talked and laughed and cried and laughed and ate and talked and ate some more- you get it… We managed to go out and see my mom and nephew somewhere in there. My Novio was extremely generous and seemed to only appear for selected mealtimes. He is very good about sharing.

We promised not to let too much time go between visits. She’s an empty-nester now and can arrange things a bit easier than before. “Every year, year and a half?” I asked. “Yeah, maybe every year and a half to two.” The next day, I received the following email: “… came to the conclusion we should probably do this every year to year and a half, the very least.” Say no more, Lulu, say no more.

Quinoa with Broccoli and Lemon


1 c. quinoa
1 c. vegetable broth
1 c. water
1 c. broccoli, cut up into florets
2 T. olive oil
3 T. fresh herbs: green onion, Italian parsley and dill, chopped
zest of 1 small lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper
Optional: Add  1 T. chopped sun-dried tomatoes or 1 chopped Roma tomato or a handful of halved cherry tomatoes.  Add heat by sprinkling on a few red pepper flakes.


Bring liquid and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower heat, add the quinoa, increase heat and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered until liquid is just absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for five minutes.

Meanwhile, cook broccoli in boiling salted water (just barely covering vegetables) for 3 minutes. Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of ice water. After 2 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon.

Fluff quinoa and place in serving bowl. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and stir through. Cut drained broccoli into smaller pieces and add to quinoa, giving it a very light toss.

Serves 6 as a side, 4 as a main. As with all these types of dishes, feel free to play around with ingredients. A little feta crumbled on top would turn this into a lovely lunch. Strips of chicken breast on top is a possibility for an easy supper.


From → Sides, Veggies

  1. You’re so sweet making all the things Lulu would like! I have to expand my quinoa zone too! Sounds like you had a wonderful time together! I was scrolling and hoping I’d see a photo of the two of you together! I think you should add one 😉

    • we had such a blast, we forgot to take many pics… and they all are on her camera! She assures me they will eventually come to me and then I will share- Thanks for checking in!

  2. Farla permalink

    How wonderful that you and lulu had time together. Can’t wait to try the quinoa recipe.

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