Saturday, June 29, 2013

Southwest Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa. What to say about this stuff. I tried it once. I don't remember blogging about it, I suspect if I had it would be under the tag "yuck"- there is such a tag you know. I just didn't like it. Then I tried it when I was out and about, restaurants, deli's. Just to get to like it. No dice. My family? Forget about it. Before I go any further, I don't want anyone thinking, this quinoa recipe is going to be so good all the haters will be loving it. Not at all. I just my taste buds may have just changed, or whatever expectations I had before I don't remember them. That being said, all three of my girls tasted this Southwest Inspired Quinoa Pilaf and asked for more. Said they thought it was "so good!" Huh, go figure. Even DH ate it. I probably cooked it wrong or something last time. But it just goes to show you, or at least my girls here that every time I say "I know you've tried it before, try it again, your tastes may have changed," that it's true. It happens. Only truth here on Give Peas A Chance people. :P
Sorry about these pictures, they were before I tweaked the recipe and added the shallot, it's optional anyway. You may not even like shallot? Another thing about this, I can't cook rice on the stove top to save my life. I am so serious about that. And yes, I am Asian. It just is that way. However I can cook quinoa so woo hoo! I have some big plans for this little grain. I can't wait to share some of those ideas with you. *To make this even easier, I updated with a Pressure Cooker method, I use an Instant Pot and its SO much faster and easier.
Do you eat quinoa? What's your favorite way to prepare it?


Give Peas A Chance Southwest Quinoa Pilaf

1 cup quinoa
1-2 tablespoons butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or whatever you like to use
Water for soaking the quinoa
1 -1/2 cups chicken or veggie stock/broth to cook the quinoa
1 small shallot minced or diced depending on how big you like your shallots
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
Zest from one lime
Fresh lime juice
Fresh cracked black pepper
Kosher salt- or your favorite 
1/3 cup finely sliced red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Cover the quinoa with some cool water. Let it sit for five minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse the quinoa with cool water.
  3. Heat the oil or butter in a pot.
  4. Add garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, and cumin to the pot. Cook just until fragrant and the shallot is soft.
  5. Add the rinsed and well drained quinoa.
  6. Add the stock/broth/water. Bring everything to a boil.
  7. Reduce the flame to low for a just barely simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  8. Turn off the flame after 15 minutes. (Peek inside to make sure the quinoa is tender and the stock is absorbed).
  9. Let sit covered for 5 minutes.
  10. Fluff quinoa with a fork, add lime juice, and lime zest.
  11. Taste test- does it need more cumin? At one point I added cayenne to get more spice.
  12. Season with salt and pepper.
  13. Gently stir in red bell pepper and cilantro leaves.
  14. Can be served cold or warm.

To make this in a Instant Pot:

  1. Soak the quinoa as per the above recipe.
  2. Saute the ingredients using the saute function on medium high. Steps 3-5.
  3. Add water or stock, I like to add hot liquid. Cold liquid can be used, it just takes longer to come to pressure. (Ratio for quinoa:liquid is 1:1.5)
  4. Place lid on Instant Pot per manufacturer instructions.
  5. Press manual, high pressure, ONE minute.
  6. Once the cycle is complete, press cancel and set a timer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. After timer goes off, release pressure, remove lid and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  8. Continue with recipe as noted. 

  • You can sub the broth or stock with water. You can also add a little Organic Better Than Bouillon to it if you have it on hand.
  • I don't add salt to my stock when I make it to freeze. If you are using store bought just be mindful of how much you salt the dish at the end.
  • Next time I'll add diced jalapeno too, I love fresh jalapenos.
  • To wash and drain the quinoa I use my fine mesh sieve.

For more Instant Pot recipes, click HERE.


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