Quinoa Pilaf

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I first heard about quinoa about ten years ago. I knew it was healthy. But, it sounded weird, so I didn’t mess with it.

About a year ago I bought some because I knew it was healthy. But, it sounded weird, so I didn’t mess with it.

Then, we had dinner with a very healthy, very good cook, friend of ours last fall. She made a delightful quinoa dish for us. And so, we decided to mess with it. In fact, I read the wikipedia on quinoa aloud to hubs on the drive home.

Quinoa is healthy for you and cooks quickly, making it an ideal side dish at supper. I generally make it into a pilaf, which is easy to make and full of flavor.

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Quinoa Pilaf
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Resting Time
15 mins
Total Time
37 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: quinoa, quinoa pilaf
Servings: 8
Calories: 196 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa uncooked
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  1. In large fry pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and quinoa. Saute until the quinoa starts to brown and the onion becomes clear.
  2. Add chicken broth and parsley flakes and bring to a slight boil. Cover and reduce heat.
  3. Cook for 12 minutes, covered, until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Fluff with a fork, recover and allow to steam for another 10 - 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Recipe Notes

Promptly store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Nutritional values are approximate and based on 1/8 recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Quinoa Pilaf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 196 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 433mg19%
Potassium 343mg10%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. We eat quinoa occasionally, and I’m still trying to get my family to love it, but we’ve only tried it sweet or sprouted in cold, raw salads. I’m going to try a curry dish a friend recommended to me soon.

    Here’s an interesting article NPR did on quinoa, it’s rise in popularity, and how it’s affecting Bolivian farmers for the better, plus challenges they foresee in the future if it continues to rise in popularity (it may become too expensive for normal Bolivians who rely on it for a majority of their diet)… interesting stuff, though I’m not sure yet how it will affect our consumption of quinoa: http://www.npr.org/2011/01/13/132878264/demand-for-quinoa-a-boon-for-bolivian-farmers

    • Jessica says

      @Courtney, I didn’t read the article, but that is a really interesting point. I wonder can it only be cultivated there?

  2. Oh, this recipe looks good and I’ m really trying to eat healthy while still living on a “cheap” budget. It’s kind of like this…having champagne tastes but living on a soda pop can budget. Anyway, I tried quinoa once, after watching Martha Stewart talk about how good it was. I bought some, tried it, didn’t like it. However, having said that, your recipe looks really good. So I’ll give quinoa a try again 🙂 🙂 Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂

    • Jessica says

      @Heather 🙂 🙂 🙂, depending on what kind you bought, the rinsing could have been part of the problem? I buy the pre-washed kind so I don’t have to mess with it.

  3. Jessica says

    I actually picked it up at the store yesterday and put it back down….I think next time I’ll pick it up and actually put it in the cart & bring it home!!! I’m trying to eat cleaner & this looks like a good addition to the new lifestyle! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Elizabeth says

    I would love to try it but haven’t been able to find it in my Alabama grocery stores! Any tips?

    • Jessica says

      @Elizabeth, I would just ask. Spell it out, too. Most people don’t know that it is pronounced Keen-Wah. So, they might not know what you’re talking about.

    • Micha says

      @Elizabeth, I saw it at Wal-Mart today on the top shelf of the beans and rice section. I *think* it was next to the couscous. I’m in Alabama as well so I know how hard some ingredients can be to find.

    • Tracy says

      I am in Alabama and just picked up a package at Whole Foods. There is also a ready made version at Costco. Not sure where in Alabama you are though…I’m outside of the Ham. 🙂

  5. Sarah says

    We eat quinoa because I heard that it was a good alternative to rice & pasta from the Weight Watchers online community. My husband loves that it is a great source of protein. We just ate some last night mixed with black beans, corn, avocado, green onions, cumin, salt and lime juice. So easy to throw together. I’ve also had it in sort of a Greek style (tomatoes, feta) and fried rice style.


    • Jessica says

      @Sarah, the feta and tomatoes sound great. I’ll have to try that next!

  6. Laura says

    I love quinoa. My three year-old occassionally asks for it for breakfast. I like to use it like rice or pasta and top it with yummy things. My favorite is a combo of ground turkey, black beans, peppers, onions, and corn. Super delicious and very healthy.

  7. This is my favorite quinoa recipe…Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables: http://www.morethanmundane.com/?p=480
    It is so, so good!

  8. Amy says

    The times I’ve made it, I’ve done it similar to what Sarah mentions above – I make it and then make a bit of a dressing (cumin, lime juice, EVOO) and we have it in a burrito or as part of nachos.

    One thing I’ve found is that it does have to be VERY well rinsed before cooking. From what I understand there is a bitter coating that needs to be rinsed off. I typically buy mine in bulk, so if you do that and don’t have any other directions, you might not know to do it.

    • Jessica says

      @Amy, good point on bulk buying. Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa is already rinsed so you don’t have to do that. It’s also a screaming deal at Costco.

  9. Susan T says

    Also, it tastes much better with chicken broth or other flavors as people mentioned above. They were giving samples last year at Sam’s Club. I like quinoa but the one they made at Sam’s tasted terrible! She made it plain with no salt or any other flavors- everyone that tried it said they were glad they tried it as they wouldn’t buy it. It really didn’t sell the product. Also, I have had it as a kind of rice pudding. I made a receipt similar to the one Jessica listed above and I like it. You can find it at Trader Joes but it is cheaper at Costco, I think. Some Ralphs in the better part of town carry it as they carry different items that other areas don’t carry.

  10. Kelley says

    I have yet to try quinoa and having been waiting for this recipe since you mentioned it waaaayyyy back in September. I was a little nervous to try my hand at making a quinoa dish as I did not know the grain to liquid ratio. I have only found it in bulk here. No directions and I am a follow the directions the first time around sort of gal. Great tips and I am very excited to serve this one up to the fam!Many thanks!

  11. Charlene says

    What section would one find this in the grocery store (if it is available)? Thanks.

    • Jessica says

      @Charlene, I think it should be with the rice.

    • @Charlene, In Maryland I have only found it in the organic sections. Though now that Jessica mentioned Costco, I’ll have to look for it at BJs.

  12. Candi says

    I buy it at the natural foods market in the bulk bins also. It’s a lot cheaper. I’ve made a Quinoa salad with it last summer. I love it, but my family doesn’t like it so much.


  13. marcie says

    For you ladies who cant seem to find it, I am a southern girl and I buy it at Kroger in the organic food and ethnic foods sections.:)

  14. I love quinoa. I like it best in salads, it makes a nice alternative to brown rice!

  15. JanaC2 says

    How funny! I made a quinoa pilaf yesterday. I normally make it for my toddler’s breakfast in much the same way as oatmeal (simmered with hemp milk, cinnamon and apples), but I also enjoy it with mixed vegetables simmered in broth.
    The first time I tried quinoa, I made a recipe that included dried cherries and pecans… I liked it so much that I was motivated to try it in new and different recipes.

  16. Cathie says

    I love how so many are in the same boat as me! I have been putting off try Quinoa, but in an effort to integrate more whole grains and stay frugal I gave in tonight at the grocery store. I purchased in bulk (huge price difference), but can anyone give a quick run down on the washing/rinsing people keep referring to, and the liquid:Quinoa ratio? I am excited to try this pilaf recipe, my family seems to enjoy every recipe of Jessica’s I make! 🙂

  17. Melissa says

    Thank you for the recipe. I have been interested in trying it but wasn’t sure what to do with it. 🙂

  18. Kate says

    I tried quinoa several years ago and was underwhelmed. But, galvanized by a new recipe, I tried again last night. It was awful. Now, I did not make the pilaf as described above, so please don’t take this as a reflection on Jessica’s recipe! However, I will say the recipe I tried seemed similar — brown the quinoa, cook in chicken broth. It was glunky and heavy and utterly tasteless. I’m hoping to redeem it tomorrow for lunch by mixing it with some stir-fried vegetables and drizzling dressing over it for a salad. I’m not sure where it went wrong, as so many people have rave reviews of quinoa.

    • Kate says

      @Kate, An update! My poor quinoa was vastly improved by eating it as a room-temperature salad with an edamame succotash (corn, red pepper, red onion, edamame) and a healthy splash of vinaigrette dressing.

  19. Micha says

    I would like to try quinoa but have heard the texture is similar to couscous which is a no-go here.

  20. We first started eating quinoa when my oldest son was little because we made it into whole grain porridge for him when we were maing his baby food. I just thought I’d share that it freezes really well. I always have a big bag of cooked quinoa and cooked brown rice in the freezer. If you freeze it the right way, it doesn’t all stick together. That means, when it’s almost time for dinner and I realize I forgot to make a side dish I can just grab the bag and scoop out individual servings. I pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds and it’s perfect. Also great for adding into a salad or wrap for lunch because, let’s face it, who wants to boil water and everything to cook just 1/4 cup of quinoa to throw on a salad? Details for the freezing method are in this post under step 1:


  21. Carol D. says

    Quinoa keeps appearing on our dinner table in place of rice, so the kids now know how to pronounce it and have learned not to groan. 🙂 I’m attempting to eat grain free for a while to heal a “leaky gut,” and quinoa, described as a supergrain, is actually classified as grain free in terms of its composition. The only thing is, it isn’t exactly “cheap,” especially in comparison to rice!

  22. Jenny says

    I’m going to try this recipe this week. There is a lonely and neglected box of quinoa in my pantry. I bought it a couple months ago after reading about how healthy and high in protein it is….but its weird…and I don’t really know what to do with it. Now I do! Thanks!

  23. Okay, I’ll get the giant Costco bag of quinoa out of my pantry and try again!

  24. This recipe looks good. I am going to add a cup of grated romano cheese after it is cooked though!

  25. AllieZirkle says

    Were you curious about freezing quinoa? We have had success with freezing pilaf and simple quinoa.

    🙂 Allie

  26. Tami says

    This is almost the exact version I made last night! Then this morning I put the leftover quinoa in my scrambled eggs, with chives and topped with parmesan cheese…SO yummy!

  27. Mayra says

    I’ll try it today with my salad. I have a bag waiting for me.

  28. Stefanie says

    I love it! I make it in so many ways. I like it for breakfast w/a little honey and cinnamon, I make it like Tabouli. In place of rice, cold on a salad. I love the fact that the protein level is high. It really seems to fill me up and hold me over until the next meal.

  29. Lisa S says

    I just found this from your menu plan for the month. so going to make this in the next two weeks. Adding to my own menu plan! I’ve only eaten it once, my sister made it while she was here last month and we all liked it but I didn’t really pay attention that well to what she did. The best part is, there is still a half bag in the cupboard, so I don’t even have to buy anything to make it! Yippee.

  30. Stacy says

    I made this a couple of months ago and froze some for future dinners. It was good. Thanks. This is a very big batch, so we had enough for two or three more dinners.

  31. annie says

    When the fam eats spaghetti i use quinioa as my GF pasta substitute. I want to use it in tabouli salad instead of burgul someday.

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