Warm Quinoa Pilaf

quinoa pilaf
The inspiration for this quinoa pilaf recipe was a quinoa recipe in the New Jersey Jewish News called Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate Seeds. I was planning to make it on Rosh Hashana; however, the pomegranates I bought were sadly under-ripe and the seeds bitter instead of sweet, so I chose to simplify the pilaf and use only sauteed onion and celery for flavoring. The recipe also called for walnuts, and we don’t eat nuts on Rosh Hashana (not everyone follows this custom). So I will post a list of optional ingredients for your quinoa pilaf at the end of this recipe post. My pilaf recipe follows what was on the Roland box more closely than the newspaper quinoa salad recipe.

Why Quinoa?

If you find yourself making rice for many meals, why not substitute quinoa at times? Quinoa has a delicious, mild flavor and cooks in 15 minutes flat–more quickly than rice. It supposedly richer than rice in protein, fiber, magnesium and calcium, and it is gluten free. I felt fortunate to find a box that was pre-washed (for Central Jersey locals, it was Roland brand in Stop and Shop with an O-U certification). Otherwise, one has to rinse off the naturally occurring bitter coating known as saponin. An advantage to quinoa is Ashkenazim may eat this grain on Pesach, so you will find me linking to this post in the month before Passover.

Quinoa Pilaf: The Main Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (or use coconut oil)
  • 1 stick chopped celery
  • 1 chopped onion

Optional Ingredients

  • chopped carrots – add with onions
  • chopped zucchini – add with onions
  • chopped or crushed garlic – add with onions
  • salt and/or pepper to taste – add with onions
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • fresh herb (dill, oregano, basil) – add toward the end
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds – add at the very end
  • 1/4 cup craisins (dried cranberries) – add at the very end
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 chopped scallion

Quinoa Pilaf: The Recipe

Assuming you have already rinsed the quinoa, boil 2 cups of water with or without a bit of salt, then add the quinoa. Saute the onions and celery (or not – you can just add chopped celery without the sauteing, if you prefer – the newspaper version just had you mixing in the celery with walnuts and olive oil). Mix with the quinoa and with any other optional ingredients (the newspaper version used craisins, pomegranate seeds and lemon juice). May be served with scallions on top.

I like the recipe warm, but I found it tasted OK cold as well. Also, I was able to reheat the dish easily.

More quinoa recipes:

Or maybe you want to try millet: Millet with Carrots and Zucchini

Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad with Carrots, Kale and Almonds
Quinoa Salad with Carrots, Kale and Almonds
I got this recipe for crunchy quinoa salad from Klara. In my own style, I changed it a bit. You can do the same when you try it.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1.5 cups water (I used leftover broccoli broth)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • handful of shredded kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 chopped scallions or 1 small sweet onion (I used a chopped sweet onion)
  • 1/4 cup mekabu
    (tiny wakame – use whatever seaweed you have available – Klara’s recipe used arame; you probably need to soak it first)

Dressing, optional:

  • A few tsps. tamari
  • A few tsps. mirin (rice wine – Eden makes one with an O-K – a specialty product that is DE-licious)
  • 1/4 tahini (I didn’t use – I don’t like tahini, but maybe you do)

Soak the nuts earlier in the day. Rinse the quinoa, cook it in water or broth, add a bit of salt. Shred the carrots and put them on top of the almost cooked quinoa. Ground up the nuts. Put shredded kale and all other ingredients on top and cook a bit more until the kale is soft.

May be served served warm or at room temperature. Enjoy your quinoa salad!