Quinoa Pilaf

Before I begin my blurb about this next recipe I have to thank my very talented co-worker Tiffany Velez for creating it! Tiffany frequently teases me with pictures of her beautiful dinners and she was kind enough to bring this one into work for all of us to try. Thank you Tiff for letting me post it!

This dish is absolutely delicious and it offers a great change of pace from other grains like rice or couscous. The red quinoa offers a nutty, savory flavor which is complimented well by the sautéed veggies and roasted pecans. This dish can be eaten as meal or as a side dish. I highly recommend it! Boris and I made it on a Sunday and it lasted us the whole week as a dinner side dish.

Quinoa has received quite a bit of hype recently as being a super food so I get quite a few questions about it. This little grain has developed the reputation as being a “complete protein.”  A complete protein refers to a protein source that contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs. Quinoa…. The other white meat. Up until the quinoa craze, complete proteins were thought to only exist in animal products such as beef, chicken and eggs. While quinoa does in fact contain all of the essential amino acids, it is not a great source of protein. At least not when compared to meat or even legumes. To put this into perspective, one cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein while one cup of lentils contains 18 grams of protein.

I guess the point I am trying to make is this; eat quinoa because it is delicious and it offers its own unique nutrition profile (it is a good source of fiber and good types of fat!). It can be used interchangeably with other grains to add a nice variety into your eating pattern. To be honest though, I could eat this dish every week just because it’s so yummy!


  • 2 cups of dry quinoa
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 pint of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 cups of chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tbs smoked or hungarian paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the carrots, zucchini and red onion by washing and peeling as needed. Mince the garlic and dice the remaining vegetables into ½ inch sized cubes. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Set aside when completed. 
  3. In a sauté pan, heat a light layer of olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, zucchini and carrots and cook until the onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the kale and cook until just wilted. Set aside.
  4. When the veggies are set aside add another layer of olive to the same pan (enough to coat the bottom of the pan). When the oil is hot place a layer of mushrooms in the pan. Make sure that each mushroom slice is fully touching the bottom of the pan. (It is important to not layer the mushrooms on top of one another so you may need to cook the mushrooms in batches). Cook the mushrooms for 2-4 minutes without moving them. When the bottom of the mushroom slices are a golden color flip each slice over and cook for another 2-4 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
  5. Toast the chopped pecans by placing in a heated, oil free pan. Allow to cook until they just start to become fragrant. The nuts burn easily so make sure to constantly move them with a spatula. Remove from the pan immediately when done.
  6. Mix the vegetables, pecans, quinoa and spices in a bowl. Serve and enjoy!
These veggies are too beautiful not to show off!

These veggies are too beautiful not to show off!


Nutrition Value:

Serving: 1/2 Cup

Total Calories: 165 cal

  • 4 grams of protein
  • 7 grams of fat
  • 21 grams of carbohydrate
    • 4 grams of fiber