Quinoa with Roasted Figs, Arugula & Goat Cheese

Festive Fall flavors make this quinoa dish a wonderful vegetarian entrée, hearty lunch or refreshing potluck dish. Enjoy the rich, sweet figs and delicate spice of fresh arugula paired with goat cheese, balsamic and orange. These flavors remind me of crisp autumn weather...

A Hip, Simple, Fabulous™ dish imbued with seasonal favorites that offers stand-out flavor and satisfying protein. This dish is perfect for gatherings as it is gluten-free and vegetarian. For vegan and dairy-free options, simply omit the goat cheese.

I brought this dish to a wonderful reunion at The Old Globe theatre last night, where my daughter, along with members of a cast of close to 200, gathered to celebrate their performance of The Odyssey. As a part of the San Diego Junior Theatre Honors, we were blessed to be a part of this amazing production. For those of you fortunate enough to be a part of this experience in any way it was the culmination of artistic dreams, creative talents, haunting musical scores, passionate theatre-goers, talented professional actors and charismatic San Diegans young and old. Curious? Catch a glimpse of the show here.

This theatre experience made professional theatre and actors accessible - joining local performing youth groups throughout San Diego with veteran performers and creative talent to create a one-of-a-kind collaborative work. It was breathtaking!

Last night, we learned that director Lear deBessonet will be creating a similar experience for the New York Public Theatre next summer with a presentation of The Tempest. If you're in NYC, make a point to be there! How wonderful to see the lasting impact and ripple effect this production has created for so many - reigniting the spark that fuels creativity, community and hope! I know I'll be looking into making the trip out, perhaps to visit the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, catch up with a few of my colleagues and fellow alumni and see this summer Shakespeare show.

Can't wait for great theatre? Check out Allegiance now at The Old Globe. Our whole family enjoyed this beautiful and powerful story or life, love and loyalties during World War II and the Japanese American internment. You also won't want to miss our favorite holiday tradition, Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

What a treat to come back together a year later, reconnect and share memorable, lasting moments from this experience. Thank you again to Todd Almond, Lear deBessonet, Evangeline Rose Whitlock, Roberta Wells-Famula, the cast, crew, local individuals, youth groups and everyone at The Old Globe who believed in this seemingly impossible production and helped to bring us all together in this ultimately transformative experience! (yes, somewhat reminiscent of the journey in The Odyssey)

I received several requests last night for the recipe - so let's get this show started:-)


No Fresh Figs? Substitute fresh sliced pears or quartered dried figs.

Make this dish the day before and refrigerate, covered, as the flavors are just as delicious the next day.

A rice cooker is a great, time-saving way to perfectly cook almost every grain.  I like to cook a larger-than-needed amount and then refrigerate for use throughout the week. This is especially great for quinoa, which is delicious served warm or cold.

Be well,


Serves 6 as entrée or 10+ as side



2 Cups Dry Quinoa (Makes approx. 6-7 Cups, Cooked)

3 Fresh Figs, Rinsed, Stems Removed, Grilled or Roasted

1 Cup Firmly Packed Arugula, Rinsed and Dried

1/2 Cup Walnuts, Chopped or Whole

1/4 Cup Goat Cheese, Crumbled


1/4 Cup Fresh Orange Juice

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 Cup Shallots, Finely Chopped

1/2 - 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest, Grated

1 ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste



  1. Prepare quinoa per directions. Eat Inspired Tip: Use a rice cooker to make this step super simple. You can even make quinoa ahead of time and refrigerate. Drain, if necessary, and set aside.

  2. While you chop or while quinoa cooks, roast or grill quartered figs until juices begin to bubble and caramelize.

  3. For the dressing, combine salt, shallots, zest, juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Stir well. Add pepper to taste. Let stand 5 minutes.

  4. Gently stir in olive oil with a whisk. Pour dressing mixture over quinoa. Toss well to coat.

  5. Add cooked figs, walnuts and arugula to quinoa mix. Once again, toss well.

  6. Just before serving, sprinkle with goat cheese.

  7. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

  8. ENJOY!

© Copyright Clea Shannon 2009-2012

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