Say goodbye to boring, flavorless quinoa and hello to this zesty and delicious cilantro lime quinoa! Super flavorful and made with just quinoa, cilantro, lime, and vegetable broth.
If you feel like you’ve fallen into a rut with quinoa and just don’t enjoy it anymore, then this recipe is for you! Cilantro and lime combine to make this quinoa come alive with zesty flavors. Plus cooking quinoa in vegetable broth infuses so much flavor in the quinoa and has transformed my love for quinoa.
I love meal prepping this high-protein and high-fiber side dish to enjoy throughout the week – it goes so well with just about anything!
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a pseudograin becuase it acts like a grain but is actually considered a seed. Dry quinoa is a great pantry staple because it can be stored for a long time and is easy to cook. You can find quinoa in several varieties, such as white, black, and red quinoa.
Fun fact: Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah.
Quinoa Nutrition & Health Benefits
Quinoa is extremely nutritious and very healthy. It is high in fiber AND protein: 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. An added bonus is that quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
Quinoa is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, copper, iron, and zinc. It also contains polyphenols, phytosterols, and flavonoids, which can act as antioxidants.
Quinoa is also gluten-free and Low FODMAP, which makes it a healthy option for those following a gluten-free and/or Low FODMAP diet. A Low FODMAP serving is up to 1 cup of cooked quinoa.
- Quinoa: You can use any kind of quinoa you prefer. White quinoa has a more mild taste, while red or black quinoa tastes a little nuttier and earthier.
- Vegetable broth: For added flavor, I love using vegetable broth. If you prefer, you can of course substitute this with water.
- Lime juice and lime zest: Fresh lime juice tastes much better than the processed lime juice, in my opinion, so use that if you can.
- Cilantro: Chopping cilantro releases a lot of the flavor, so I prefer chopped/diced over whole cilantro. Also, the stems contain a lot of cilantro flavor as well, so you can chop those and include them too.
How to Make Cilantro Lime Quinoa
- First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under running water.
- Combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts vegetable broth in a medium pot (In this recipe, I use 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups vegetable broth). Stir in lime zest. Cook on medium heat until the liquid comes to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed – about 10-15 minutes.
- Then, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Finally, add the fun stuff! Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve immediately or store for later.
Allow cilantro lime quinoa to cool down to room temperature. Store the leftover quinoa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up 5 days.
- Rinse the quinoa with a fine mesh strainer before cooking to get rid of the saponins. Saponins are naturally found in quinoa and have a bitter taste.
- Quinoa to water ratio: The best quinoa to water ratio is 1:2 (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water). This allows the quinoa to cook properly without being too dry.
- Don’t cover the pot until after all of the liquid has absorbed and you’ve turned off the heat. Otherwise, it will likely get mushy and you don’t want that, right?!
- How to zest a lime: To zest the lime, use a fine grater with small holes or a microplane grater. Only grate the green outer part of the lime. Don’t grate the white part of the lime – this usually tastes bitter.
Variations and Substitutions
- Make it vegan: This recipe is already vegan, so no changes need to be made.
- Make it gluten-free: Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, and the rest of the ingredients in this recipe are gluten-free as well. However, quinoa can come into cross-contact with gluten-containing grains. If you follow a strict gluten-free diet, make sure the quinoa and vegetable broth you are using is labeled as “certified gluten-free.” You can also make your own broth or use water instead.
- Low FODMAP version: To keep this cilantro lime quinoa Low FODMAP, swap the vegetable broth for water and use this Low FODMAP vegetable stock or this Low FODMAP vegetable soup base by FODY Foods.
What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Quinoa
My personal favorite dish to have this cilantro lime quinoa with is my kale & quinoa black bean avocado salad. It’s just SO good!
To make it a complete meal, you can also enjoy cilantro lime quinoa with a protein of your choice (salmon, white fish, shrimp, chicken, tofu, etc.) and one of these delicious veggie side dishes: smashed brussels sprouts, maple roasted carrots, or pesto cauliflower.
If you made this recipe, I’d love to see your creation! Don’t forget to snap a picture and tag me @thebalancedbite on Instagram. Follow along on Pinterest and Facebook for more healthy & tasty recipes!
More Healthy Quinoa & Grain Recipes:
- Kale and Mushroom Quinoa Bake
- Butternut Squash and Farro Salad
- Quinoa Black Bean Avocado Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Zest and juice from 1 lime
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Salt, to taste
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under running water.
- Combine quinoa, vegetable broth, and lime zest in a medium pot. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed completely.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
- Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Salt to taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
Storage: Allow cilantro lime quinoa to cool down to room temperature. Store the leftover quinoa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up 5 days.
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