Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf

Protein packed Pilaf that's uses quinoa as a great substitute for rice with lots of vegetables.
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Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf is perfect starch replacement for rice, packed with more proteins. Quinoa for long time was getting bad rape for tasting like bird seed. To prevent those off flavors wash the quinoa well with cold water, and cook the quinoa in flavorful chicken stock. Putting vegetables into quinoa pilaf adds more flavor, textures and colors, building a wonderful flavor profile.

Selecting the right ingredients:

If this is the first time making Quinoa Pilaf choose basic white Quinoa found in almost all grocery stores. Once eating quinoa a few times try medley of quinoa containing basic white, red and black varieties. The black quinoa has stronger flavor profile takes some getting use to flavors.

Using a variety of vegetables in Quinoa Pilaf really builds targeted flavor profile. Start off with basic vegetables most often in pantry and refrigerator. Examples that work well are onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, spinach, chard, kale, broccoli rabe, carrots, and celery. Add some aromatics like fresh, garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro and rosemary. Start off simple with favorite vegetables and aromatics.

The cooking liquid in Quinoa Pilaf is key to successful flavor profile. Start with good bone chicken stock if possible, store bought works but watch salt content often store bought stocks or broths have lots of salt added. Best homemade chicken stock made from whole boned out chickens. Always can find good deal on chicken legs or thighs use them to make stock. The Instant Pot is good quick way to make stock in hour. Making homemade stock only takes minutes, chicken parts, onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf and thyme and cold water about 2 quarts in Instant Pot. Select the Instant Pot soup/broth button, and make sure the valve is closed on older models.

The Chicken Marco Polo accompanied with Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf
One cup of Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf on plate
Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf
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One cup of Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf on plate
Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf
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Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 25 min Rest Time 10 min Total Time 45 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf  with healthy vegetables, packed with protein. Perfect recipe to replace high carb starch sides.

Quinoa Pilaf

Instructions for Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf

Heating olive oil and minced garlic

  1. Sweating ingredients

    Heat half of the olive oil in saucepan over medium heat, add to hot oil red onion, sweet peppers, and garlic. Stirring often to prevent burning, sweat vegetables until translucent in color.

    Vegetables ready to be sweated to make quinoa pilaf
  2. Sweating Quinoa with vegetables

    Next add the quinoa to sweated vegetables stirring well coating quinoa with vegetables and oil. Cook for about 1 minute.

    Adding quinoa to the sweated vegetables
  3. Adding seasonings and chicken stock

    Continue making pilaf by adding chicken stock to sweated vegetables and quinoa stirring the stock into mixture. Then add salt, chicken base and chili flakes, stirring well to evenly distribute ingredients. 

    Chicken stock, chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper added to quinoa pilaf mixture
  4. Cooking Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf

    Cover the saucepan with a lid, and reduce heat so just below boiling, on low heat. Cook the pilaf ingredients for 20 to 25 minutes.

    Placing lid on the saucepan as quinoa vegetable pilaf cooks for 15 to 20 minutes
  5. Wilting spinach into Quinoa Pilaf

    Finishing Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf by adding chopped spinach to top of cooked quinoa pilaf, place lid back on saucepan to wilt spinach leaves. Let cook on very low heat for 5 minutes. Then stir in the wilted spinach leaves.

    After 15 minutes of cooking the quinoa pilaf chopped spinach add into saucepan
  6. Adjust seasoning

    Adjust flavors of Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf by adding kosher salt, black pepper.

    Stirring all the quinoa vegetable pilaf ingredients together
  7. Portion Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf

    Portion about 1 cup of Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf

    One cup of Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf on plate


Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf is wonderful accompaniment for chicken, fish and beef entrees. Add any vegetables to the Pilaf that's available, especially garden fresh vegetables. This recipe is perfect starch replacement and does hold well for couple days in refrigerator. Reheat in microwave for 5 to 6 minutes on 50% power. 

Keywords: Quinoa, Pilaf
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