This gorgeous bowl of grains is packed with equal parts flavor and nutrients. Garlic Brown Rice and Quinoa is fancy enough for a dinner party and quick enough for meal prep Sundays. Make it once and serve a savory (vegan!) side dish or grain bowl all week.
I tried the Seeds of Change Quinoa from Costco several years ago and determined to make my own variation with an even more robust flavor.
And here it is! This savory brown rice and quinoa recipe packs a ton of garlicky, savory goodness with fragrant olive oil, red pepper and lemon zest for a supporting cast.
Fair warning...make a double batch!
What you need to make this recipe:
Before we get into the step by step instructions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Quinoa: the recipe calls for red quinoa, but use what you have. Keep in mind different colors can require different cook times, so check your packaging and adjust the recipe accordingly.
Red pepper flakes: a pinch of chili flakes adds just a bit of heat and a ton of flavor to this grain dish. Amp it up for a spicy take, omit for a mild version.
Full ingredient measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Sauté vegetables and spices
Begin by heating two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When warm, add ½ cup diced onion, 8 cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper and ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are transparent and the mixture is fragrant.
2. Prep rice and quinoa
Rinse 1 cup of long grain brown rice and ½ cup quinoa in cold water. Add both to the pan of sauteed veggies and spices and stir for about 30 seconds, coating the grains well in the oil and aromatics.
Once coated, add 3 cups of vegetable stock (or three cups water and 3 veggie stock cubes) and stir to combine.
3. Cook rice and quinoa
Bring the pot up to a full boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 22-25 minutes, until the stock has fully absorbed and the grains are tender.
Add the lemon zest and fluff the rice to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
4. Garnish and serve
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
Quinoa is a tasty replacement for rice. It is a gluten-free, high-protein, and high-fiber grain with a host of health benefits. While it can be used as a side or grain base, similar to rice, the flavor is complimentary, but not identical.
I've made this with several types of quinoa, including the tri-color and white quinoa. Cooking time can vary by several minutes based on the type you choose, so begin testing for doneness at 22 minutes.
Short grain brown rice usually requires a few minutes longer cook time than long grain brown rice. So substituting is fine, just keep checking for doneness and add a little more stock, if needed.
You have endless varieties of substitutions and variations with a grain dish like this one. Here are my two favorites:
Asian: for a far East themed grain bowl, use a teaspoon of sesame oil, a splash of soy sauce (or two) and green onions instead of white onions. A few tablespoons of fresh grated ginger could be added at the same time as the fresh garlic and green onions.
Southwest: for that Tex-mex vibe, add finely diced green or red bell peppers with the onions and garlic, then stir in a teaspoon of cumin and chili powder as the grains cook. To finish the dish, top with lime zest and cilantro.
My favorite fancy at-home meal lately has been Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon topped with Creamy Parmesan Garlic Sauce and served with this grain dish. It would also be delicious with Baked Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce or Salmon Patties.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, microwave for 30-45 seconds, until just heated through.