Easy Summer Quinoa


Easy Summer Quinoa is a fresh and fast quinoa recipe using tasty in-season ingredients!

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Howdy, friends, I hope you had a lovely weekend!


After an eventful Friday evening which included watching an all-new, 2 hour episode of Dateline and making homemade popsicles (#sarcasm,) my Mom and I kicked the weekend off with a trip to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning! There was another big race downtown, so the place was absolutely packedbut a cool, overcast sky made the summer morning so enjoyable regardless.

Pupusas helped too! The line was 15 people deep by the time we arrived, meaning we had to wait a good 20 minutes for our favorite spinach and cheese combo to come off the griddle, but it was one of the best to date. The cheese level was off the hizzle. That’s right.


Another exciting find? The first of central Iowa’s sweet corn! Due to our soggy spring, planting of sweet corn was heavily delayed and the precious ears haven’t been available up until now. The stand in the picture below brought 700 dozen corn to the market, and was expected to sell out by 10am. Best believe I got in on some of that action.


Another cool find was this mountain of green, curly kale. I could hardly believe my eyes – the pile at least 6 feet tall. Now that’s some good marketing!

I also bought some lavender which I planted around the koi pond out back. Excited to twirl around in the blossoms next year and pretend I’m in Provence. Anyway.


Sunday we all assembled at my parent’s house for a belated birthday celebration for me, and an early celebration for my bro. He turns, cough, 33, cough, on the 28th which he’s predicting will forever be overshadowed by the late birth of our son, who’s due the 26th. I say he’ll be even a few days later meaning his birthday is safe…for now. Muwahaha!


I was so thrilled to receive the Don’t Grow Up poster I featured on my Friday Favorites a few weeks ago!


Plus a chalkboard/key hook/mail organizer – WHEE! I have been desperate for one of these babies for years and was just going to make one myself but my Mom found and ordered one from IKEA. Call me crazy, but I didn’t think IKEA shipped?! Anyway, clearly they do. Couldn’t be happier. (It doesn’t take much!)


The fun was rounded out by feasting on our favorite, traditional Pepperidge Farms Birthday Cake. Bliss. :)


This weekend I also found time to use up a few of my farmers’ market finds in Easy Summer Quinoa! 

As I sat down to eat this bowl of goodness, I realized it’s practically kissing cousins of the Farmers’ Market Skillet I made last spring – minus the melty feta cheese and honey-lemon dressing. What can I say, the heart wants what the heart wants. That being said, it’s similar…but definitely different!

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Fresh farmers’ market finds like zucchini, sweet corn, kale, peas, and basil marry with fluffy quinoa in a simple, reduced wine and chicken broth sauce, topped with shaved parmesan cheese. This skillet supper is easy, fresh, and fast. Ready in under 30 minutes! Use whatever veggies you have on hand to clear some space in the fridge, too.

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Start by cooking 1/2 cup quinoa in a scant 1 cup chicken broth (or veggie broth if you want to make this dish vegetarian.) I have found this ratio to yield the best, non-mushy quinoa. Also be sure to thoroughly rinse your quinoa first in a fine mesh sieve to rinse away a naturally-bitter outer coating!


While the quinoa’s cookin, get to work on the veggie portion of the program.

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

First saute 1 large shallot in 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until tender, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of red chili pepper flakes and 3 minced garlic cloves then saute for 30 more seconds.

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Turn the heat up to medium-high then add 1 chopped zucchini and 2 cups chopped kale. I had lacinato kale leftover from the Kale Chopped Salad I made last week so I used that. Any type will do though – just make sure you chop it into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper then saute for 2 minutes.

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Now add the kernels from 2 ears of sweet corn (about 1-1/2 cups) and 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil. Chop the tomatoes into strips if they aren’t already pre-cut. I LOVE adding sun dried tomatoes into sauteed veggie dishes, btw. The chewy-chew and sweet flavor really liven things up!

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Next add 1/4 white wine then use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the wine is almost all the way reduced, add 1/2 cup peas. Fresh or frozen – whatever you’ve got.

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Finally, add 1/4 cup chicken (or veggie) broth and the cooked quinoa. Saute until the chicken broth is almost completely reduced then stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Scoop into bowls then top with freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese. Easy, right?

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

Easy Summer Quinoa

serves 4


Easy Summer Quinoa is a fresh and fast quinoa recipe using tasty in-season ingredients!


  • 1 scant cup + 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed very well under cool running water
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 bunch - I used lacinato kale)
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups sweet corn kernels (about 2 ears worth)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese


  1. Bring 1 scant cup chicken or vegetable broth to a boil in a small saucepan then add quinoa, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, and then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots then saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper flakes then saute for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly. Turn heat up to medium-high then add kale and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper then saute for 2 minutes. Add corn and sun dried tomatoes then saute for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add white wine then scrape up brown bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. When wine is nearly evaporated, add peas then stir to combine. Add chicken broth and cooked quinoa then cook until broth is absorbed. Remove skillet from heat then stir in fresh basil. Taste then add salt and pepper if necessary, and then serve topped with freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

This Easy Summer Quinoa was super filling all on its own – quinoa is packed with protein – but this would also be great under a grilled chicken breast, or salmon. Mmm, salmon… Enjoy!

Easy Summer Quinoa using Farmers Market finds! | iowagirleats.com

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  1. I just love that massive mountain of kale (and, as always, your gorgeous photography!). Bookmarking this recipe for sure- looks delicious!

  2. losing lindy 07.15.2013

    That looks amazing! I now wish I bought extra corn.

  3. Oh wow that looks delicious! SO fresh and summery! Looks like you had a great weekend too; the farmers market looks great & that cake looks delicious!

  4. Angela 07.15.2013

    Awww your little boy is due on my birthday! Its also my best friend’s nephew’s birthday! (He’s be 2 this year)Its a great day to be born :)

  5. Kari Knudson 07.15.2013

    My daughter and I went to a farmers market in Alexandria, MN this weekend. She picked out Colby cheese and I bought a block of Gouda and thought of you! Yum, yum!

  6. Kathy 07.15.2013

    The Summer Quinoa looks refreshingly yummy!

    I always think its neat when birthdays bring out traditions like the favorite cake or plate. I haven’t had that Pepperidge Farm one is sooooo long but I can remember how good it tastes. (sweets are my treat!)

  7. Becki 07.15.2013

    We had our first corn here in the Quad Cities too. Heaven!

  8. Yummy! I’m always looking for ways to use up leftover kale. Definitely saving this recipe :)

  9. Tieghan 07.15.2013

    This quinoa is gorgeous and right up my alley! Sounds perfect!

  10. You look beautiful! I can’t believe how fastbyourvpregnancy has flown by, you’re almost there!
    I love everything about this quinoa! It’s perfect!

  11. Allyson Smith 07.15.2013

    Ikea only ships certain items (for instance, they won’t send you a picture frame in the mail), and for some things the shipping cost is ridiculous… like for furniture, the shipping could cost as much as the items itself! Shipping on some items may be more reasonable though.

    Sending you good thoughts as your due date approaches! Mine is August 19th, although i’m hoping she’ll make her appearance just a little bit early. :)

  12. Kristi 07.15.2013

    I’m always so jealous when I see pictures of your Farmer’s Market! It looks like such a good time.

  13. Melissa 07.15.2013

    The summer quinoa looks beautiful – so colorful and I’m sure it is exceptionally flavorful, too. I love the way your Farmer’s Market looks, it seems like it has a lot of variety and high quality produce!

  14. This looks great! I need a farmer’s market recipe! I’m not a huge fan of peas though so I’m thinking I might try edamame or maybe some beans instead.

  15. Looks like an awesome weekend!!! Love this!!!

  16. kiley 07.15.2013

    This looks super tasty! Summer has me going out to eat way too much lately…I need to cook in more – this one looks delish!


  17. i actually substituted quinoa into your skillet recipe a few times last summer, and i can attest that it is oh so good with it in there. i still have not been to the farmer’s market yet when there has been actual food there, so i am trying to make some time soon!

  18. MB 07.15.2013

    My nephew was born on my birthday last year, so I can relate to what your brohter is thinking ;) Hehe!

  19. Jen 07.15.2013

    You are the cutest! I am so glad you are able to go out and enjoy yourself (like at the Farmer’s Market) before your son gets here :) I’ve never heard of Pupusas but they look delicious! Also, my (33rd!)birthday is 7/24 so I’ll be rooting for that day :)

  20. Holy cow, that is a mountain of kale!! And yay for Iowa sweet corn. I am meeting my mom in Des Moines next weekend and we already have plans to head to the Farmer’s Market. I cannot wait to buy some sweet corn :).

  21. Tracy 07.15.2013

    This sounds really really delicious! Can’t wait to make!

    Btw I made your corn and bacon mac n cheese for my family last night. Huge hit!

  22. You are too cute – all baby!! I’ve been obsessed with all things quinoa and sweet corn recently too – it is the perfect light summer salad :)

  23. […] Dinner – Easy Summer Quinoa […]

  24. Erin 07.15.2013

    Gah, I always LOVE your quinoa recipes! Nebraska sweet corn still isn’t ready; our farm stand guy actually had some shipped in from Alabama (or somewhere south) so he had product to sell. We had such a late plant, too, but he says by this weekend he’ll have his own corn. Good thing, too, because the stuff of the south was deeeesgusting. Tough and just blah. Will be making this recipe when I get some local corn. :)

  25. Julie 07.15.2013

    Hey, I never thought about it before, but your Fri. Faves WOULD be a perfect way to drop b-day/Xmas hints for your friends & family. Nicely done, Kristin! ;)

  26. Karla 07.15.2013

    700 dozen?! Whoa! They were totally sold out by the time I arrived. Unreal!

    What a fun birthday celebration, Kristin. I had no idea that IKEA shipped either. This could get dangerous!

    I can’t wait to try this recipe after my next trip to the farmers market. I’m totally on a quinoa kick. :)

  27. jad18 07.15.2013

    You look terrific and I just want to reach through the screen and grab that kale. IKEA definitely ships. I used to get frustrated, though, because it seemed liked 70% of their products were not available online, so I stopped shopping their website.

  28. I have that Ikea board as well and love it! The quinoa looks so yummy!

  29. Brittany 07.15.2013

    So. Freakin. GOOD. Just made it…it’s awesome people…try it!

  30. That looks super delicious!!

    That cake you ate looked so sugary and good too.

    I can’t believe how cheap those sunflowers are! They are my favourite flower but they are never cheap here in australia to buy.

  31. Marina Torres 07.16.2013

    I hope you had a wonderful time on your belated birthday!

    The pupusas look delicious! I am glad that you like them. I love pupusas!

    God bless you and your baby.

  32. You are too stinking cute, Kristin! And this summer quinoa – LOVE IT! I may just have to make it for dinner tomorrow night!

  33. Cathy 07.16.2013

    Yummy dish for summer. Can’t wait to try it!

  34. Cari 07.16.2013

    Your brother is the exact same age as me! Birthday on 28th and turning 33. I’m going to savor the last couple weeks of 32, though. ;)

    Love seeing your posts on your pregnancy. I’m expecting my second in October. The hot temps in Iowa this week are insane! Enjoy the last couple weeks of your pregnancy and get lots of sleep!

  35. Shanelle 07.16.2013

    I think I saw you at the farmers market Saturday :) Were you wearing a black shirt? I wanted to say hi but I wasn’t sure if it was you or not.

  36. nancy cowan 07.16.2013

    Amazing! I just happened to have all the ingredients and just got done making this salad. It is so yummy – and when it sits in the fridge for a couple of hours, it’ll be divine. I have to say also that you are just absolutely glowing and beautiful! Stay cool down there!

  37. Nessa 07.16.2013

    I want that quinoa so bad!

  38. Jess 07.16.2013

    I can’t believe that stunning mountain of curly kale, Kristin! What a great market you have there!

  39. Meg 07.16.2013

    Looks delicious! Do you think this would still taste good as a cold leftover? I’ve been eating your quinoa salad with avocado, corn, grapefruit, etc for lunch for 3 weeks in a row now…oops ;)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.17.2013

      Totally! I ate leftovers straight out of the fridge and they were delicious. :)

  40. How pretty! Love this healthy salad!

  41. Claudia 07.17.2013

    Your adorable! I enjoy reading you column. Your food are awesome!
    Love…love it for sure.

  42. Genola 07.17.2013

    Hi Kristin. I just finished making this for dinner. It was delicious! My husband (not such a fan of quoina) loved it. Your recipes are the best. I tell everyone about your blog.

  43. […] you can find at the market. Because we love when fresh foods work together. Recipe thanks to Iowa Girl Eats. Follow the link to see step by step directions complete with beautiful […]

  44. Buy Fresh Buy Local 07.18.2013

    Love all the fresh foods! We featured this recipe on our latest “What’s Fresh” page. Let us know if you have any problems with the post! http://drakebuyfreshbuylocal.org/whats-fresh-sweet-corn-and-zucchini/

  45. jennyv 07.18.2013

    Just made this recipe yesterday and it is fantastic! I’m actually taking the leftovers cold to Jasper Winery in a few minutes — picnic and sangria, sounds about perfect :) Thanks for a great recipe!

  46. […] and recipe from iowa girl eats  this dish is so light fresh and […]

  47. This recipe looks great, the dish looks delicious in the pictures, I am going to try it at home and hope the taste measures up as well. I have been consciously trying to eat more healthy recently and quinoa makes my life easier in that respect.

  48. Patty 08.06.2013

    I can’t wait to make this. Do you cook the corn first or is it raw when you cut it odd the ears?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.14.2013

      It’s raw when you cut it off the ears, then it cooks in the skillet with the other veggies!

  49. […] Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats […]

  50. Nicola 09.06.2013

    I’ve just eaten this cold for lunch and it was delicious! I swapped the kale for Swiss chard and added some fresh tomatoes. Delicious and lovely and summery on a very rainy day!

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