Spring Vegetable Porridge


Spring Vegetable & Herb Quinoa Porridge

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

Pair this thoughtful vegetarian dish with one of our elegant, Spring Pick wines.  

These days, quinoa is quickly moving from grain to main, and we’re all for that. In the spring, we like to toast it, simmer it, and then finish it with a brothy sauce and perfectly cooked baby vegetables. It’s a bit of work, but the payoff is a satisfying meal-in-a-bowl that’s like a cross between a porridge and a risotto. Buy a preblended mix of white and red quinoa for this recipe, or, if you can’t find that, use all white, all red, or your own blend of the two.


  • 12 to 15 English peas in the pod, shucked with pods reserved

  • Leaves from 3 fresh tarragon sprigs, chopped, with stems reserved

  • 4 baby turnips, trimmed and quartered

  • 4 baby carrots, trimmed, gently peeled, and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices

  • 1 large spring onion (about 1⁄4 lb), white part only, halved and then thinly sliced

  • 8 small young fava beans in the pod, shucked

  • 16 tiny radishes, trimmed

  • 8 pencil-thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, then sliced on the diagonal into 1⁄2-inch pieces

  • 1⁄2 cup quinoa, white and red mix, rinsed

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1⁄4 cup medium- to full-bodied white wine (such as Chardonnay)

  • 1 tablespoon crème fraîche

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • 1 baby yellow beet, trimmed and then shaved on a mandoline

  • Handful fresh chervil sprigs

Prep the vegetables and herbs: Prep all of the vegetables and herbs as directed, reserving the pea pods and tarragon stems. Combine the turnips, carrots, and half of the onion in a container. Put the peas, fava beans, radishes, and asparagus in a second container. Set aside.

To make the quinoa: In a small pot, toast the quinoa over low heat, stirring often, for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and keep covered until ready to use.

To prepare the vegetables: In a 1-qt pot, sweat the remaining onion in the butter over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the reserved pea pods and tarragon stems, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water, bring to a simmer, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a 2-qt pot. Discard the solids, then place the pot over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the turnips, carrots, and onion, return to a gentle simmer, and cook for 1 minute. Add the peas, favas, radishes, and asparagus, return to a gentle simmer, and cook for 1 minute longer, until the carrots are tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche, tarragon, dill, and chives. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.

To serve: Divide the quinoa among four individual shallow serving bowls. Top with the vegetables, being careful to get balanced amounts of each vegetable and lots of broth in every dish. Top with the beet slices and chervil sprigs. Serve immediately.