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This post took me completely by surprise.  I had absolutely NO plans to cook quinoa or toast garlic, but my friend Erica was coming over at 1pm to hang out (or enjoy a blogging feast 🙂 ) and I thought I should have something ready.  Erica rarely eats gluten so at the last minute I decided to make quinoa.  And boy did it come together!

Isn’t it amazing how pleasant surprises can be?  I plan most of my time, but I’ll admit that life wouldn’t be exciting without surprises.

The pleasant surprise this weekend is having my friend Erica over for toasted garlic quinoa and wine instead of going out for happy hour.  Sometimes a different setting allows you to connect in a way you hadn’t expected.


  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-6 fresh vine tomatoes (from a garden or farmer’s market)
  • fresh cinnamon basil (adds a peppery taste which I prefer)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper (optional)

I watched a Bobby Flay video on the food network while watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (is there really any other way to do it?) and I learned how to toast garlic.  Toasted garlic adds a whole new element to quinoa that is complemented by the tomatoes.

Smash the garlic cloves on a cutting board with your palm against the flat part of the knife.

Remove the skin and trim the cloves.  Sprinkle kosher salt over the cloves.

With a fork smash the garlic into the salt until it breaks up.  Slice if desired.

Add enough olive oil to the pan to cover the bottom.  Add the cloves and heat the oil on low until the cloves begin to brown and curl.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions.

Transfer the cooked quinoa to a bowl and fold in the toasted garlic and olive oil.  Add sliced tomatoes and basil leaves and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle olive oil on top and serve immediately.  We especially enjoyed this with chilled chardonnay and toscano cheese.