We cannot get enough of the elegant, delicate and nutrition-charged tea recipes by Tay Tea‘s Nini Ordoubadi!  Nini serves up these miraculous little dishes at Tay Home, an elegant tea shop and design store in the heart of Andes, NY. Her simple but incredibly fresh menu changes seasonally and many of the dishes are sourced from her own flourishing garden.

Cooking with tea adds the most sublime flavor to summer’s light as a feather recipes and adds complexity to fall’s hardier dishes as well. Using fragrant loose leaf blends like those Nini creates add unexpected dimension to everything from stir-frys to sweets. Here, Nini shares her simple-as-can-be recipe for quinoa like you’ve never tasted it before. Find the Kappstad tea blend she uses here.

Nini: “Tea is a fun and super healthy addition to your culinary lifestyle. Cooking with tea enhances the flavor of every dish and adds nutritional value too (tea is high in cancer fighting antioxidants) – a win-win formula for gourmet taste and health! Here is my ever popular tea-infused quinoa salad with mushrooms, herbs and quick pickled carrots for garnish. Nothing could be simpler and anyone can do it.”

Organic red quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas” for increasing the stamina of Incan warriors. With it’s light, fluffy texture and mild, slightly nutty flavor, it makes it an alternative to rice or couscous. It has a protein value that is extremely high and the protein it supplies is complete – including all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is easy to digest and naturally contains no gluten. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron.

Rooibos-Infused Red Quinoa with Garden Herbs

Brew the tea:  My personal favorite rooibos blend, Kaapstaad, is perfect for this recipe – a delicious blend of rooibos tea, Nigerian ginger, calendula petals (a natural liver detox) and vanilla. Brew the loose leaf tea strong: 2-3 tablespoons of tea leaves with boiling water for 7-10 minutes.

Boil the quinoa in tea:  (Another bonus of this super-grain is that it’s extremely easy to cook: no rinsing or cleaning is required.)

Mix 1 part quinoa to 2 parts brewed tea for 15-20 minutes.

Finish: This quinoa is great by itself, mixed with vegetables, in souffles or in casseroles. I like to add whatever herbs and vegetables I have growing in my vegetable garden to this dish – the one pictured is tossed with mushrooms and a handful of fresh herbs, washed, dried and finely chopped – parsley, chives, basil and my favorite mint – pineapple!

Garnish this dish with shredded organic carrots or use your imagination and use just about any fresh, seasonal vegetable – enjoy!

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