Jeweled Saffron Quinoa Recipe

Light and flavorful saffron quinoa studded with chopped vegetables and fruits makes a beautiful side dish inspired by Middle Eastern and North African jeweled rice recipes.

Summer 2018

Total Hands-On Time: 30 min.

Yield: 3 cups

Serve this jeweled saffron quinoa as a healthy side dish with an entrée, or as a light lunch.


  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water (or vegetable or chicken broth)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons crushed unsalted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and water (or broth) to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan with a lid. Cook the quinoa for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the water or broth is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the green onions, garlic, carrots, and salt and pepper. Sauté gently until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the saffron threads and cooked quinoa. Heat until warm.
  3. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl. Top with cashews, parsley, cranberries, tomatoes, and lemon zest. Stir and serve. 

Learn more about this coveted spice’s history and how to grow saffron in Garden Gold: Grow Your Own Saffron.