Braised Lamb Shanks with Zucchini and Capsicum Quinoa Pilaf

I often use quinoa flour in galettes, pancakes and baking, but I have never used whole quinoa grain before. This post is about my first attempt to use white quinoa grain with vegetables as a side dish with a slow cooked lamb shanks. Judging by the result, I will do it again.

Ingredients: 2 servings

for lamb shanks

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • half an onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli (whole or deseeded, depending on your taste)
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 tomato
  • fresh rosemary stick
  • 1 table spoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season


for quinoa and vegetable pilaf

  • 100g white whole quinoa grains (I used organic Coles brand)
  • 200ml of lamb shanks stock (strained)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red capsicum
  • fresh dill
  • 2 tea spoons of olive oil



  • heat olive oil in a deep casserole dish, add diced onions, garlic and chilli, gently fry them for 2-3 min
  • brown lamb shanks (better in a separate hot frying pan)
  • add chopped celery, carrots and diced tomato to the casserole dish, stir
  • add browned lamb shanks to vegetables, add rosemary stick, completely cover with boiling water
  • add salt and pepper to taste, cover with a lid and cook for 2.5 hours on low heat
  • after 2.5 hours let the lamb rest, use resting time to cook quinoa
  • wash and drain quinoa
  • strain 200 ml (a cup) of lamb and vegetable stock
  • place the stock in a sauce pan, when the stock starts to boil add quinoa
  • cover and cook on low heat for 15 min
  • separately fry or roast peeled chopped zucchini and shredded red capsicum (they do not need seasoning, the seasoning comes from the lamb stock in which quinoa is cooked)
  • add chopped dill and roasted vegetables to quinoa, stir them in and let the mixture rest for 10 min to absorb extra moisture
  • serve lamb shanks on the bed of quinoa pilaf


I have to say, that recommended instructions for cooking quinoa were nor exactly accurate. General guidance for cooking quinoa is to use twice the amount of water for 10 min cooking and 8 min resting to absorb any liquid left.

After 10 min there was still some liquid on the bottom of the pan, so I continued to cook quinoa for another 5 min. I allowed quinoa ro rest for 10 min after adding roasted vegetables and dill. I noticed that quinoa did not absorb any significant amount of liquid while resting. I do not know does this happen with all types of quinoa grains, or only with the one I used. In the future, I will cook quinoa for at least 15 min, or may be even longer, to get more dry consistency of the final product. However, a little longer cooking of quinoa in lamb and vegetable stock gave an intense, quite spicy flavour and very different to any other grains texture, which we both enjoyed.

2 thoughts on “Braised Lamb Shanks with Zucchini and Capsicum Quinoa Pilaf

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