Spiced Quinoa Timbales

February 8th, 2011

Quinoa is one of my new favorite foods.  It is a disk-shaped seed that is high in protein and fiber and is now readily available in most supermarkets.  It is cooked like rice, but has the added benefit of a nutritionally better profile.  I stumbled upon this recipe in an old issue of Gourmet from 1992.  That goes to show you that Gourmet was savvy about food before most of us had even heard about it.  I still miss that magazine.

Timbales are molds in which food can be cooked or shaped.  If you do not have timbales here is a good source.  I used mini jello molds that I have had for many years.  I would think that hardware stores would be a good place to look for inexpensive molds also.

The advantage of using a mold for this dish is twofold.  The first reason is all about presentation.  The pearly quinoa studded with dried cranberries and parsley just looks good that way.  The second reason is all about portion control.  My molds hold about 1/2 cup and that is just the right amount of food for a serving.

With the spiced quinoa timbales I served curried chicken from the leftovers of a roasted bird and roasted brussel sprouts.  I love brussel sprouts browned in the oven.  But even more I loved the flavors in the quinoa.  This is an outstanding side dish that I will be cooking often.


1 cup quinoa
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a rounded 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

In a fine sieve rinse the quinoa under cold water for 1 minute and drain it well.  In a heavy saucepan cook the onion in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the cumin, the cinnamon, and the turmeric, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the quinoa and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the broth, the water, the cranberries, the roasted red pepper, and the salt and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the pan from the heat, let the mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes, and stir in the parsley.  Divide the quinoa mixture among 6 buttered 1/2 cup timbale molds, packing it, and invert the timbales onto a platter or onto individual dinner plates.  Serves 6.

Printable recipe 

11 responses to “Spiced Quinoa Timbales”

  1. Susan says:

    I also love quonia and always pick up a large bag at Costco or bag my own at Whole Foods. I love the ingredients you added. I usually grab whatever herbs are looking good in the garden and also like adding cranberries. Very nice meal combo you have. Susan

  2. Big Dude says:

    I’ve seen a lot of dishes lately that use this and I’ve never had it. Yours looks delicious and I’ll have to give it a try. I’m glad I looked it up as I would never have come up with the pronounciation from the spelling.

  3. Love quiona, I’ve just started using it this past Fall, I’ve been adding it to soups! It’s delicious! Thanks for sharing! Have a great day!


  4. Pondside says:

    We are definitely on the same wavelength – different coasts, different ends of the continent, but definitely the same wavelength.
    My daughter brought home a big bag of quinoa on the weekend and I’ve been meaning to find out what to do with it – and here you are! I’ll let you know how I do.

  5. Funny, years ago I remember looking for quinoa in grocery stores and they’d never heard of it. Now, fortunately, it’s easy to find. I love your timbales Penny.

  6. Hi Penny, been lurking for awhile, but have read your every post. these look terrific. Dumb question, but is there anything that holds these together. My molded foods that are loose like this seem to crumble as i move from countertop to table.

  7. Donnie says:

    I have quinoa cold in a salad and really like it. This is a different approach and looks good.

  8. Penny says:

    Hi Dave. These did hold together. Don’t know if it is the startch in the grains that do it or what. I have only molded rice, potatoes and this. If anyone has an answer leave a comment. I do know that some of those timbales look kind of narrow and tall. Perhaps if the base is wider and the food is not as tall gravity would not be such a big factor.

  9. Rita says:

    I love Quinoa; discovered it a couple of years ago and always looking for something new to make. This really is exciting. I am printing it out and will try it soon. Thank you!!!!

  10. Lyla says:

    Again, you will push be out of my culinary comfort zone into an area that will delight me I’m sure. The combination of spices, fruit, and grain is mouth-watering. Thanks, Penny, for a delightful blog full of familiar favorites and also unfamiliar dishes destined to become family staples.

  11. I have only just recently ventured into quinoa so will be looking for tasty ways to coon up this protein packed grain!!!

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