Quinoa with Roasted Summer Vegetables and Harissa

I am really loving At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. I have pored over it in bookstores and have recently happily added it to my collection. It is a beautiful book with my favorite kind of food. Healthy, delicious, and appealing to the eye. This one-bowl summer meal was a big win the other night. The flavors were so warm and pleasing, and we both loved it. The perfectly cooked quinoa was a nice base for the sweetly caramelized vegetables, spicy harissa, tangy feta and briny olives. David and I are always looking for fun things to take on a picnic and we would be happy to bring a container of this along anytime. In place of quinoa by itself, I used a grain blend which had white and red quinoa, millet, and buckwheat. I also used a store-bought harissa, but if you’d like to make your own, check the bottom of the page. Omit the feta for a vegan meal.

slightly adapted from: At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
serves: 4-6

2 medium zucchini, roll cut* into 1-inch pieces
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, large ones cut in half
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
4 cups cooked quinoa (see below)
1/3 cup homemade harissa (see below), or store bought (I like to use one with substantial heat, like Mina)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 ounces goat milk feta, drained and crumbled
olives, to garnish – I liked Castelvetrano olives with this dish

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place zucchini, peppers, and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Divide vegetables between 2 baking sheets (lined with parchment if desired) and spread into a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes. Gently stir vegetables, rotate trays, and roast 10-15 more minutes or until a little browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, warm remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add red onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Lower heat a little and cook for 15 minutes longer, stirring every few minutes, until soft and caramelized. Stir in a pinch of salt, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl, fluff with a fork, add Harissa, and mix well. Add roasted vegetables, caramelized onions, and parsley; toss gently to combine and season to taste with additional salt. Crumble feta over top, and serve garnished with olives.

Simple Quinoa

Soaking grains for 12-24 hours removes phytic acid. It also enlivens the grain, activating nutrients as well as making them easier to digest, and just tastes better in my opinion. Once quinoa is soaked, it only takes 15 minutes to cook, which means it’s a great grain to prepare on a weeknight. Something to remember when cooking a different or unmeasured amount of soaked quinoa is that it’s equal parts water to the amount of soaked quinoa. The water should just cover the surface of the grain. If you forget to soak the quinoa, wash and drain multiple times, increase the water amount to 1 3/4 cups, and cook for 20 minutes.

makes 4 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup quinoa
1 cup filtered water, plus more for soaking
pinch sea salt

Wash and soak the quinoa in at least 3 cups water fro 8-24 hours. Drain and rinse quinoa. Place in a 2-quart pot and add 1 cup filtered water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Keeping the lid on, remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving. Once cool, quinoa can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

*Roll Cut

A roll cut, or oblique cut, is a way to cut any long vegetable, thick or thin. I especially use this method when cutting carrots for roasting or stews. Lay the vegetable horizontally on a cutting board and slice off a piece at a 45 degree angle. Give the vegetable a quarter turn and slice at an angle again; roll and repeat. For tapered vegetables, start at the tapered end and increase the angle as the diameter increases so the pieces are of even size.

Watch this video to see the roll cut in action.


From Tunisia, this fiery-hot sauce is usually made with hot chiles, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway and olive oil. It is widely used in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Algeria. It’s the traditional accompaniment for couscous, but it can also be used to flavor soups, stews, and other dishes.

Harissa keeps well for up to 2 months in the fridge, or if you leave out the lemon juice, it will keep almost indefinitely-just bring it to rom temperature and stir the lemon juice in when you’re ready to use it.

makes about 1/3 cup

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Warm a small to medium skillet over medium heat. Add cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds; toast seeds, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to an electric spice grinder and grind until fine (or use a mortar & pestle). Place ground spices in a bowl; add paprika, cayenne, garlic, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir until smooth. Store in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 months, or as mentioned above, leave out the lemon for storing indefinitely.


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One Reply to “Quinoa with Roasted Summer Vegetables and Harissa”

  1. The side I most often add to a weeknight dinner is quinoa, but I didn’t know that it could be soaked to improve the quality of the finished product. Thanks for the tip and the recipe!

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