Quinoa Pilaf

6 Jun

I have never heard of quinoa until I met Diane Carlson a few years back. Diane is the wonderful chef behind the Conscious Gourmet culinary retreats and one of the founders of the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC.

I took one of these culinary retreats once when they were still offered in Florida and it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I still carry with me recipes and friendships from that retreat. And at that retreat was where I learned I could use a blog to share my recipes with all of you. So many good things came about from that retreat. I am thankful…

But this is not my recipe… This quinoa recipe is Diane’s recipe that has become my way of making quinoa ever since. I have made some tweaks to it by all the times I have made it, but I can’t take full credit for it. Diane taught me how to make quinoa and she should get the credit.

Now quinoa is all the rage. I hear its super popular way west in California. And us at the yoga center make it a lot too. The first time I bought quinoa was at Whole Foods right after finishing the retreat because I thought I would not be able to find it here in Puerto Rico. Now, I can buy it at Costco in 3 lbs bags. How things change, no??


1 cup quinoa, rinsed under cold water and drained well
1 ¾ cup vegetable broth
½ tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, peeled and cut into very small pieces
1 rib of celery, chopped finely
½ red bell pepper, chopped finely
½ green bell pepper, chopped finely
½ cup peas, frozen works fine
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  1. In a large pot, toast quinoa over medium-hi heat. Stir it occasionally until the grain is nearly dry. Then, stir constantly about 5 minutes more until it browns evenly and gets a nutty fragrance.
  2. Add the vegetable broth to the pot of quinoa. Add ½ tsp of salt and bring the pot to a boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender. That will take about 15-20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, in a large skillet over medium-hi heat add the olive oil and the onions. When the onions have softened a bit, add the carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Add the celery, peppers and peas. Sauté for a few minutes until veggies are cooked tender but still somewhat crisp.
  4. By now the quinoa will be cooked. Add the vegetables to the pot of quinoa and mix well. Stir in parsley. Serve immediately.

I love making quinoa because it’s a grain full of protein and nutrients and it’s very easy to make. This is the basic pilaf recipe I learned to make, but I have made this with many other combinations of veggies. Just like rice, it’s a great vehicle to use those little odds and ends you have in your fridge… go crazy and tell me what’s your favorite combination.


3 Responses to “Quinoa Pilaf”

  1. Jar Of Salt June 6, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Discovered the wonders of quinoa as well. 🙂 We turn it into tabbouleh — throw in finely chopped tomatoes, mint, scallions, basil, flat leaf parsley and seasoned generously with lemon and olive oil.

    • KarmaFree Cooking June 7, 2012 at 3:31 am #

      Hey, Jar of Salt, that’s a great idea to use quinoa for tabbouleh… same texture and gluten-free!!!! Thanks!!!! Madelyn.

  2. Yure December 4, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    I like it! I’ll try to do here at home. (kkkkkkk) This recipe is show … vlw

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