Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa

  Apr 24, 2019  |  #Recipes

This Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa is a light, gluten-free nutritious meal option packed with flavor. It comes together quickly and can be a perfect side option, or be a canvas for other additions to serve as a main meal. 

Plate with cheesy quinoa and herbs

So, last week I went without a chiropractor visit. Man, can I tell the difference.

I’ve been going weekly for the last month and a half, and I haven’t really had much back pain at all. This week, my back is all up and flared. So, I now realize that those tiny adjustments that the chiropractor has been making makes a huge difference.

Needless to say, I went yesterday and all is good in the world again.

We also had a follow up visit with the fetal maternal specialist yesterday. We have been seeing them every few weeks just to monitor the baby’s growth.

Fortunately, she is small but within the normal range, so that was a big breath of relief! 

You know what else makes my world good? Easy dinners and cheesy quinoa. Quick meals are staples for us!

Key Points About This Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa

Have you ever tried cooking your quinoa in chicken stock? It’s good! You’ll never do plain old water again – this has way more flavor.

This is also a fantastic quinoa recipe for kids because cheesy quinoa can be enjoyed by all. I may even need to use it as a base for a quinoa casserole or lemon quinoa salad. 

When making this lemon cheesy quinoa, I like to add some butter and spices. If you are dairy-free, you can use olive oil or avocado oil instead.

Quinoa can be kind of bland on its own, so we have to add some flavor and seasonings in our house. Quinoa with vegetables is a great way to go!

We love red bell peppers, zucchini, onions and mushroms mixed in.

I’ve made quinoa before that hasn’t been fluffy – it’s been hard or too grainy. Have you been there? It’s not super flattering.

But, when you figure out how to make it fluffy, it just takes on so much more mouthfeel and flavor.

To make it fluffy, I always bring the water and quinoa (normally, 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa) to a boil slowly, and then turn it down with the top on and let the quinoa absorb the heat.

Watch it though, it can burn quickly. Mine took about 10 minutes.

Bowl of cheesy quinoa and cutting board with shredded cheese

Quinoa is also a great option for meal prep because it pairs with so many things, which is why it’s one of my main pantry staples. You should always have it on your shopping list! Quinoa with vegetables is one of my easy weeknight meals.

Usually, I’ll add frozen vegetables and some sort of protein, like beans, eggs or chicken sausage. No joke – I’ve made this on repeat the last week.

I’ve paired it with turkey meatballs, salmon and just eaten it on its own. It’s SO good, light and fluffy.

I love how the lemon shines through but isn’t too overpowering.

Andddd, cheesy quinoa is the best kind of quinoa. You add the cheese when the quinoa is hot so it sorta just melts in there. Heaven.

Bowl of cheesy quinoa and cutting board with shredded cheese

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, if you follow a gluten-free diet. It’s also one of few grains that has all the essential amino acids, like meat.

Most grains are lacking in some and therefore aren’t complete proteins. Quinoa is, and in fact, offers 8 grams of protein per 1 cup.

While it can be a great vegetarian protein, I still recommend pairing it with something else (like beans, lentils), to get sufficient protein. I often recommend 20-25 grams of protein per meal for my clients, especially those who are in training mode.

This Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa came about during some meal prep time because meal prep snacks and meals are key. 

We’ve had a lot of rain the last few weekends. Which I guess is perfect for staying in and doing meal prep. But I just wanted to lay on the couch and not meal prep.

Fortunately, I got the motivation to do a little bit and prepare for this baby, and hence this quinoa was born! And now it’s a canvas for our quinoa with vegetable dishes. 

What Kind of Cheese Should You Use For Cheesy Quinoa?

I had bought a block of sharp cheddar cheese because I love snacking on plain cheese. Cheese is delicious in pretty much anything, so naturally, that was a clear option for adding to cheesy quinoa.

I also just bought a little basil plant, so the herbs sounded like a great accompaniment too. Finally, lemon juice and butter are mainstays, so they were added to the equation too.

Like I said, this is one of my favorite quinoa recipes for kids because most kids love butter and cheese (like mac and cheese). So, this is sort of like a quinoa mac and cheese. 

Cutting board with shredded cheddar cheese

Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa

Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa

Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa

Yield: 3

This Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa is a light, gluten-free nutritious meal option packed with flavor. It comes together quickly and can be a perfect side option, or be a canvas for other additions to serve as a main meal. 


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, diced
  • 1 Tbsp basil, diced


  1. Add clove and butter to small pot over low heat.
  2. Add in quinoa, chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring liquid to a boil and then turn heat down to low and cover. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes, or until quinoa is soft and fluffy and absorbs water. 
  3. While quinoa is cooking, grate your cheese. 
  4. Once quinoa is done cooking, add cheese and stir in herbs. If desired, add extra cheese and herbs to top. 
  5. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 1019mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g
I hope you make this cheesy quinoa when you’re stuck on inspiration, or you just want something simple that pairs wonderfully with just about anything.

Whether you’re making a lemon quinoa salad, a quinoa casserole or quinoa with vegetables, it’s a blank canvas with endless possibilities!

I like to make a big batch at the beginning of the week (like 3-4 cups worth), and then just pair it with whatever protein I cook for the week.

Sometimes, it’s rotisserie chicken (when I don’t feel like cooking). Other times, it’s turkey burgers, or fish, or beans. We eat quinoa with vegetables often, as quinoa seems to pair perfectly with just about everything.

cheesy quinoa with salmon and broccoli


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Lemon Quinoa in blue bowl with text overlay

Lemon and Herb Cheesy Quinoa || Easy Dinner || Quinoa

Looking For More Easy Quinoa Recipes?

This Mango Lime Quinoa Salad is a fun warm-weather dish, great for summer cookouts.  If you’re looking for something for breakfast and a one-pot quinoa dish, this Sweet Potato Beet Quinoa Scramble is a hit.

Personally, though, I prefer this Quinoa Chocolate Chip Apple Crumble or Chocolate Mint Berry Quinoa Bowl as a fun, healthy quinoa dessert that kids love!

All work great as meal prep snacks, too!

Tell me,

Favorite herb to cook with? Extra cheese or no cheese?  I have to say basil, because it smells so good and goes with so much! And extra cheese all the way for me, please 🙂

15 responses to “Lemon Herb Cheesy Quinoa

  1. I’m often too lazy to use chicken stock to cook my grains, but there’s really no reason not to. I’m sure it would add so much wonderful flavor.

  2. Hey Sarah!
    So glad the OB visit went well. I know a few New Englanders who cannot wait to meet Baby!!

    I love quinoa as well. But I recently made a batch with chicken broth and accidentally left a good portion of leftovers out of the refrigerator overnight. It killed me to throw it out, but that was probably the best move, right?

    Hope you continue to feel well these last few weeks. Hang in there!!

    1. Thank you Bridget 🙂 We are counting down the days until she arrives, and then we’ll be excited to meet two more next!

      Hmm, I probably would have done the same thing. It may not have all been spoiled, but when it comes to food safety, better safe than sorry! I hate wasting food, too.

  3. Great to hear all is well with the you and baby…Any day now…..You, hubby and Tater must be so excited to meet her :-).
    I adore quinoa and cook quite a bit of it. Using stock instead of water is the best! Thanks for the lovely recipe, it sounds really good and so tasty. Take care and have a great weekend.

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