Serve it as a side dish with roasted chicken and a big green salad. Serve it warm with a poached egg on top, or serve it cold with chopped boiled egg mixed right in. Enjoy it as a main course - it's hearty enough. Experiment with different herbs, nuts, and vegetables. No shallots? Use an onion. The possibilities are endless!
1/2 cup nuts (I used sliced almonds; walnuts would also be nice)
4 thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped or snipped fresh herbs (I used chives, basil, and parsley)
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a pie plate and toast in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown; let cool. If you're using whole nuts, chop 'em up.
In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, about 7 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Add the shallots to the pan with the bacon grease, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes, adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds or so. Add the quinoa for a couple of minutes before adding the stock, then add the stock and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook over low heat until the stock has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and stir in the herbs, toasted nuts, and bacon. Add a squeeze of lemon, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.