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Thursday, August 19, 2010

{recipe of the week} Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf w/ Toasted Walnuts

This week's recipe is for a tasty, high-protein dish that I made last week.  And, since I had just typed up the recipe for my good friend Becca, I thought I'd be clever lazy and post it over here as the recipe of the week!

If you've never worked with quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah), it's really easy-- if you can make rice, you can make this.  And, the protein...  Oh my, the protein found in this super grain is mind-blowing for this little grain!  Since my daughter and I have issues digesting meat proteins, we have to limit those.  But, making sure we get enough protein from other sources has been easier than I thought - especially with quinoa!

This recipe can be tweaked to fit whatever you have on hand.  Be playful and experiment.  I used this pilaf stuffed inside some red peppers (then baked in the oven for 40 min. w/ parmesan cheese on top). You can use red or white (regular) quinoa, just wash it first.  To wash it, just soak in a bowl for a few minutes with water, drain water, refill bowl with water and swish, then drain.

You can easily double or triple this recipe.  Just add more veggies, olive oil, meat and keep the quinoa-liquid ratio 1:1.  So, if using 2 cups of dry quinoa, use 2 cups of liquid. 3 c. quinoa: 3 c.liquid.


1 c. uncooked quinoa, washed and dried
1 c. chicken broth (can use vegetable broth or seasoned water)
1-2 TB. olive oil (you will need more if you are adding more veggies, etc.)
1 TB. minced garlic
1/2 c. diced yellow or white onion
1 c. diced zucchini
1 c. diced red peppers
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, toasted in toaster oven but not burnt
2 TB. parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper
NOTE:  Feel free to substitute veggies and add meat.  Mushrooms also make a tasty addition!
  1. Add approx. 1 TB of olive oil to large skillet and heat.
  2. Add diced onion and red pepper, sauté until onions are transparent.
  3. Add diced zucchini and cook until slightly browned. (You can cook veggies separately and add at the end, too, so they don’t lose nutrients. It’s just easiest in one pot. )
  4. Add 1 heaping TB. or more  of minced garlic and sauté another 3-5 min. or so. (the garlic gives it a nice sweetness)
  5. Add 1 c. (or 2) or washed quinoa and sauté for about 5 min., stirring. The quinoa will start to look a little transparent.
  6. Add 1 c. (or 2) chicken broth and stir. (Can use water, just add salt and pepper to taste).
  7. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low-med., cover and simmer to about 10-15 min (time on back of bag of quinoa). Stir every 2 min. or so.
  8. Fluff up with fork and add cooked chicken, more veggies, etc. Stir in about 1 1/2 TB. of parmesan cheese.
  9. Add toasted walnuts and sprinkle with more parmesan...you're good to go!
This can be served as a main dish or in smaller portions as a side dish.


(Disclaimer: I'm terrible at writing up recipes since I usually just wing it, so let me know if something is unclear... I won't be offended. lol)


  1. This sounds so good. Where can I get quinoa?

  2. Sorry, Trina, just saw this comment... in case you're still wondering (lol) -- you can buy it at the grocery store with the natural foods (or maybe with the rice/pasta). Also at stores like Sprouts in the bulk bins for really cheap!