Steak Love 1: Red Quinoa and Black Kale Recipe

I don’t cook meat much.

My diet consists largely of veggies and seafood for reasons that likely won’t interest you.

So on the rare occasion that I do eat or cook meat, I am very selective about its quality and preparation.

As I browsed through Granville Island Public Market, I picked up some Red Quinoa and robust organic Black Kale. Dinner’s all set… or so I thought.

When I gazed dreamily over the tantalizing meat selection, a gorgeous hunk of aged, grass-fed rib-eye tugged at my heartstrings.

I must bring him home.

I once converted a vegetarian of 10 years with my lamb at a picnic so I’ll certainly do my juicy heartthrob justice.

But before that, allow me to present its accompaniment: a satisfying and healthy textural-sensation of Thyme- Infused Quinoa with Lemon- Mustard Kale.
The lemon’s floral tartness and the mustard’s acidic heat counterbalances with the kale’s slight bitterness. The sweet fennel provides creamy texture and accentuates the thyme’s perfume.

For those unfamiliar with quinoa, it is an ancient crop originally cultivated in South America. The grains are actually seeds and are very high in protein and fiber and is also gluten-free. Yellow quinoa works just as well here but reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes.

Steak Love 2: Meat Smut is posted!

Thyme- Infused Red Quinoa with Lemon- Mustard Black Kale


  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 bunches of kale, aprox 1.5 lbs.
  • 1 fennel bulb, white parts only, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup grainy mustard
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Olive Oil, S&P


  • Quinoa: Place in a fine sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Initial red and foamy water is normal.
  • Thyme: Tie the sprigs together with twine or spend 10 minutes picking them out like I did.
  • Stock: Bring to a boil.
  • Kale: Strip the leaves from the stalk by grabbing the stalk by the bottom and pulling the leaves towards the tip. Chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.


    In a large pot, sweat the fennel on medium heat with the garlic in some olive oil. When the fennel is tender, add the quinoa and continue to cook for 2 minutes.

    Add the hot stock, 2 tsp. of salt, and thyme bundle, cover with a lid, and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes.

    The quinoa is done when all the liquid is absorbed and little white curls are released. When ready, remove the thyme, fluff through with a fork, cover, and keep warm.

    In a deep skillet, heat up some olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale in by handfuls and welt it down for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Unlike other leafy greens, kale does not release much liquid.)

    When the kale is tender, stir in the mustard and lemon zest + juice.

    Toss the kale into the warm quinoa.

    Serve with roasted vegetables, fish, or meat as I will in the next post.

    Serves 4 as main-dish, or 6 as side-dish

  1. October 13, 2009 by Cate

    I adore quinoa but still haven’t tried the red variety. I love all the flavors going on in this and any recipe with kale I’ll pretty much jump all over. Although I haven’t eaten beef in quite awhile, I’m excited to see what you do with that beautiful piece of meat!

  2. October 13, 2009 by Beth

    Meat smut is probably the best thing I’ve heard all day….and one of my true passions! :) Can’t wait to see the steak. I visited Granville Market last year and fell in love with it – along with most of the Vancouver food scene.

  3. October 13, 2009 by Mel (admin)

    Darling, glad you find meat sexy too. Granville Island is my favorite place to shop. I hope you had a fantastic time in Vancouver. Any particular food experiences stood out above all?

  4. October 13, 2009 by Elizabeth

    Bring on the meat! Oh but that Quinoa looks divine…I do so love it.

  5. October 13, 2009 by High/Low

    Can’t wait to see your meat dish! Haven’t made Quinoa before, but will give this a try.

  6. October 13, 2009 by Cookin' Canuck

    What a beautiful piece of meat! That would convert almost any vegetarian I know. I love your method of plating the quinoa.

  7. October 13, 2009 by Lea Ann

    I really like the looks of this recipe. I’m saving it my files and will look for red quinoa at the market. Thanks for the post.

  8. October 13, 2009 by Nicole

    Wow, what a unique and delicious side dish. Can’t wait for the beef recipe!

  9. October 13, 2009 by Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    What a beautiful way to eat kale. I also love red quinoa.

  10. October 13, 2009 by Michelle

    I love the idea of putting the quinoa into a martini glass and inverting it!! So pretty! Ill be sure to use that idea the next time i try to impress my boyfriend with a home cooked meal! hahah

    I’m kinda like you in that I’m not much of a meat cooker, but when I do, it’s gotta be yummy.

  11. October 14, 2009 by Divina

    I just love quinoa but we don’t have the red ones here. If they’ only cheap I would eat them almost everyday. I just love this dish with the kale and fennel (which we don’t have as well) and all the wonderful flavors.

  12. October 14, 2009 by clumbsycookie

    Your pictures are gorgreous and so bright! Plus this must be delicious! I’m not a big meat either either…

  13. October 14, 2009 by Miranda

    Very unique twist. The pictures are beautiful!

  14. October 14, 2009 by redkathy

    Beautiful photography…. but you already knew that [big smile] This looks absolutely wonderful! And that rib eye… my guys would be in heaven!

  15. October 14, 2009 by Debi (Table Talk)

    We don’t eat a lot of meat in our house either…kind of like it that way—the carnivorous side of me kicks in and the meat tastes that much better…and it usually is a good steak.
    -Really like the flavors you have with the Kale here .

  16. October 14, 2009 by The Little Teochew

    Very VERY nicely done. Really stunning, and not just the food. You’re so glamorous!!!

  17. October 14, 2009 by Alta

    Awww, you tease us with juicy steak and then give us quinoa? Not fair! Just kidding. This looks lovely, I love quinoa and kale!

  18. October 14, 2009 by Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    Beautiful side dish, I love the flavors of quinoa with the thyme infusion!

  19. October 14, 2009 by Mel (admin)

    @Alta ; ) tehe

  20. October 14, 2009 by Mel (admin)

    @ The Little Teochew: Honey are you kidding? Look at your stunning photos, you cutie xoxo

  21. October 14, 2009 by Ange

    Sooo… I don’t eat read meat…. but the picture of that ribeye… wowsers…. I devoured it raw… in my mind. :)

  22. October 15, 2009 by Jessica

    I have three bunches of kale in my fridge from last week’s farm share just waiting for some love – this would be the perfect way to adminster it!

  23. October 15, 2009 by zenchef

    Quinoa is so hard to photograph and you do it so well. You’re good. But you knew that already. :)

  24. October 15, 2009 by 3hungrytummies

    wonderful reipe for quinoa, love the piece of meat too.

  25. October 15, 2009 by NYNYEATEAT

    just made some organic kale (bit smaller than non-organic), but boy does this look so Yum with mustard. will have to try that next time!

    always such great pics, what setup do you use?

  26. October 15, 2009 by Mel (admin)

    @ Justin: I don’t have a set up… I’m fortunate enough to have my friend snap action shots in return for dinner :)

  27. October 16, 2009 by alice

    This looks amazing.. please come to Seattle and cook for me. Can’t wait for meat smut part 2!

  28. October 17, 2009 by Ellie

    Love the presentation of your dish. Beautiful pictures as always!

  29. November 11, 2009 by Fine Dining Vegetarian Recipes

    You have built a mass of great content here and i have enjoyed surfing around. I was trying to find information about fine dining vegetarian recipes and your post has been a great help. Ben

  30. December 10, 2009 by Earl K

    Amazing combination of flavors! I’ve recently discovered black kale and have been growing tired of it flash fried. I had to try out your recipe and LOVED it. I’m going to have to keep my eye out for red quinoa

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