Dairy Farmers of Canada

Caramelized Onion and Arugula Quinoa

Our dietitians' favourite

Cooking quinoa in milk creates a soft, creamy texture similar to polenta. In this dish the quinoa is accented with sweet and savoury caramelized onions and a peppery punch of arugula. It provides a pleasant change from the ordinary as a side dish for grilled or roasted fish, chicken or pork tenderloin.

  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cooking: 45 min
Yields 4 Servings
caramelized onion and arugula quinoa


  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa rinsed
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups (500 mL) milk heated
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
  • 4 cups (1 L) chopped trimmed baby arugula
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Cut onions in half lengthwise and trim out cores. Cut crosswise into thin slices.

In a medium, deep saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté onions for 2 minutes or until starting to wilt. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until very soft and caramelized.

Increase heat to medium. Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to taste; sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in quinoa and flour; gradually stir in milk and water. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring twice, for 15 minutes or until quinoa is creamy and tender. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Gently stir in arugula just until wilted.


Arugula has a peppery, slightly bitter flavour which works well with the sweet onions and creamy quinoa. For a milder dish, baby spinach makes a terrific alternative, or, use a mixture of arugula and spinach for just a little punch.

When cooking quinoa in milk, it tends to bubble up so using a deep saucepan and keeping an eye on it as it simmers helps prevent a boil-over.

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Nutritional information

Per serving
Energy: 279 Calories
Protein: 12 g
Carbohydrate: 41 g
Fat: 8 g
Fibre: 4.5 g
Sodium: 300 mg

Top 5 Nutrients

(% DV*)
Calcium: 20 % / 218 mg
Folate: 52 %
Magnesium: 46 %
Phosphorus: 31 %
Vitamin B12: 33 %