Vegetarian dishes: American adaptation of Italian classic using quinoa

Raw quinoa from Wikimedia commons
Raw quinoa from Wikimedia commons

Awhile back Matteo published his tomato sauce recipe that is part of his recipe for spaghetti sciue`-sciue` (pronounced shoowae-shoowae). I am amazed at how adaptable this basic tomato sauce is. I have incorporated it into other dishes that I prepare regularly, including his spaghetti sciue`-sciue` true to the Italian tradition,which is always a hit.

I wanted to write a short article about one of the vegetarian dishes that I discovered by experimentation with this sauce that has been so popular with my family and friends that I thought I should share it on the blog. It is essentially just a substitution of quinoa for pasta. The trick seems to be in preparing the quinoa well so that it has a mild flavor, similar to pasta. I would love to have comments from readers on this recipe to see what people think.

As many of you know, the nutritional value of quinoa is just beginning to be discovered and it has made its way into a lot of cuisines, though I have not seen many adaptations of Italian cuisine with quinoa.

Recipe for: Quinoa salsa di pomodoro ( makes enough for 2 servings)


  • 1 cup of quinoa ( I used white quinoa for my preparation, but any variety should work fine. I have found the flavor of the white quinoa to be particularly mild, though)
  • 2 cups of water ( water should cover quinoa )
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • salt to taste
  • see link below for ingredients for tomato sauce


Step 1: Suggested step ( the packages of quinoa that I buy suggests this step): rinse the quinoa in water. It is a little bit tricky because the quinoa grains are very small. I have found the best way to do this is to put it in a small bowl with lots of water, then pour the quinoa through a sieve with a very fine mesh directly into the saucepan.

Step 2: Add the quinoa, water, butter and salt to a small saucepan and boil the quinoa until the water is absorbed into the quinoa. Then, turn the heat to the lowest setting for about 10 minutes. Alternatively: you can turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit for about a half hour. Either way, the quinoa grain will open up and get soft when ready. Here is a photo of what it should look like when cooked:

photo from Wikimedia commons titled quinoa cuit
photo from Wikimedia commons titled quinoa cuit

Step 3: Next, prepare the tomato sauce. Here is the link to the recipe:

Once you have the sciue`-sciue` sauce ready, simply pour it over the pre-prepared quinoa. A leaf or two of basil looks nice as a garnish:

quinoa salsa di pomodoro

Buon appetito! Lina

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