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Quinoa Pilaf

Reprinted with permission from
Norene's Healthy Kitchen: Eat Your Way to Good Health
by Norene Gilletz

This dish is excellent for Passover, when it's nearly impossible to find grains that are allowed as a side dish.  Lemon juice and parsley pair perfectly with the quinoa and vegetables.

Food Editor's Notes:  I learned only just before Passover 2008 that quinoa, though considered a grain, is kosher for Passover, as it has been determined through great halachic investigation to be impervious to leavening.  What a nice change of pace from the ubiquitous potatoes at a seder, or even for a weekday meal.  Quinoa is also very healthy.  Norene states in her cookbook: "Quinoa is lower in carbohydrates than most grains and is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids.  It's packed with fiber and is a great source of B vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc."  Although I'm sure the mushrooms add a great deal of flavor to this dish, my kids don't eat mushrooms, so I substituted chopped celery.  The pilaf was delicious and very pretty and reheated well – it is a great side dish to serve any time of year.


1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup seeded and chopped red pepper
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons minced)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or 1 teaspoon dried
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1.  Place the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer; rinse and drain thoroughly.  Transfer to a medium saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

2.  Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Add the onion, red pepper, mushrooms, and garlic and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden.

3.  Add the cooked quinoa, salt, pepper, basil, and lemon juice.  Cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until heated through.  Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.  Recipe easily doubles and triples.  Keeps for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator and reheats well.  Don't freeze.

150 calories per serving, 25.0 g carbohydrate, 2.9 g fiber, 5 g protein, 4.1 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 398 mg sodium, 377 mg potassium, 3 mg iron, 35 mg calcium

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada.  She is a culinary consultant, cooking teacher/lecturer, cookbook author, and freelance food writer, focusing on healthy cooking.  The New Food Processor Bible: Revised & Updated 30th Anniversary Edition (Whitecap Books, 2011) is her tenth cookbook, several of which are among this Food Editor's all-time favorites.  Visit Norene's web site, www.gourmania.com, for information on her cookbooks and ordering instructions, plus more recipes and lots of helpful hints and food-related resources.  Highly recommended!


Quinoa Pilaf



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