This is the least paleo recipe I’ve shared, as it includes grains and goat dairy. After many years on an autoimmune diet, I’ve reintroduced gluten-free grains and goat dairy, and wanted to show you how I’m enjoying those ingredients.
If you’re curious about the when and how of food reintroduction, read my post 3 Ways To Successfully Re-Introduce Foods After Elimination Diets.
About the ingredients in Asparagus + Herb Quinoa Pilaf
Quinoa — I recommend soaking your quinoa before cooking, to remove the phytic acid and make it more digestible. However, in full disclosure, I didn’t plan ahead enough to soak my quinoa. While I folded my laundry, paid bills, and did the dishes on the day I made this, soaking my quinoa was just too much added adulting for me. If you want to increase digestibility, however, here are instructions for soaking quinoa.
Asparagus — If you don’t have asparagus, feel free to use fresh or frozen peas, lightly cooked so they remain vibrant and green.
Pistachios, orange zest, and dried figs — I love this combination of flavors, especially with spring veggies.
Goat cheese — if you can’t do dairy, use chopped avocado or a non-dairy cheese such as almond ricotta or cashew cheese.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, soaked if desired (instructions for soaking quinoa here
- 1¾ cup stock or broth of choice and/or water (if using bone broth, I recommend 1 cup broth with ¾ cup water. If using stock, you can use 1¾ cup of it)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus
- Zest from ½ orange
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup chopped dried figs
- 2 Tbs. chopped pistachios
- 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- Optional: cooked chicken, to add protein if desired
- Before soaking or preparing the quinoa, make sure to rinse it thoroughly. Otherwise, it can be pasty. Put the quinoa in a bowl and cover with water, and then drain through a sieve. Repeat this process.
- To cook the soaked quinoa, follow the instructions here. To cook the rinsed quinoa immediately, put it in a pot with the broth/stock/water. Add a pinch of salt (depending on how salty the cooking liquid is) and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until it has absorbed the liquid. Fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Cut off the tough lower stems from the asparagus, and cut it on a diagonal into bite-sized pieces. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Blanch the asparagus by cooking it quickly in the boiling water until just vibrant green and still crunchy — just a couple of minutes. Then, drain the asparagus in a sieve and transfer it directly into the ice water to stop the cooking and retain the color and crunch.
- Toss together the asparagus, quinoa, orange zest, lemon juice, dill, and figs. Season with salt and pepper.
- Before serving, top with the crumbled goat cheese and the pistachios. If you want to make it a full meal, add chopped cooked chicken or another protein of your choice.