Inspired by the traditional rice pilau, this enticing and super-healthy gluten free quinoa vegetable pilau or “qui-lau” is bursting with flavour and so simple to pull off. Infused with the aroma of cumin, coriander and garam masala, this recipe is one you will want to add to your repertoire.
When life is hectic and you’re short on time, healthy eating can seem hard – if not impossible. You know that feeling, right?! This quinoa recipe is your solution! You can whip up a batch of this gluten free quinoa vegetable pilau in minutes. What’s more, is that it’s a perfect meal to pack in containers to keep in the fridge – ready to grab and go as an easy, healthy lunch option.
I grew up enjoying rice pilau. Sure, it’s a staple dish in most desi homes and we certainly LOVE it! With that authentic delicious flavour, it’s easy to over-indulge and pay the price of feeling like you’re going to explode 30 minutes later. Do you remember that feeling? Truth be told, some recipes of pilau are pretty heavy going – with all that fat. Besides, I’ve rarely come across a vegetarian pilau recipe that actually contains enough vegetables to equate a reasonable portion. You end up loading on rice (and a lot of it!).
So, over the last few months, I’ve been testing out several recipes of pilau – using quinoa, less oil and plenty of plant-based goodness. This gluten free quinoa vegetable pilau has all the nourishing ingredients you need to keep your family healthy, yet, it doesn’t compromise on that classic taste – with the desi spices.
This gluten free vegetable pilau is light, slightly nutty (thanks to the quinoa), and bursting with nutrition. The best part is that it’s done and dusted in 30 minutes. Don’t you feel relieved hearing that?
Why I used quinoa in this gluten free vegetable quinoa pilau recipe?
- Cooks quickly; in as little as 10 minutes (if soaked overnight)
- It’s considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, that your body needs (a great choice for vegetarians and vegans)
- Higher in antioxidants, relative to other grains (it’s actually not a typical grain)
- Has a decent dose of healthy fats
- High in fibre (to help you stay fuller for longer)
- Good source of iron
Check out 5 facts about quinoa nutrition and how to cook with it on Eating Well.
This easy & super-healthy #glutenfree quinoa pilau is the perfect dinner for your family! Click To Tweet
How to make gluten free quinoa vegetable pilau
Washing and soaking the quinoa the night before will certainly help to speed up the cooking process. But more importantly, thoroughly washing the grains will remove the bitter coating. Remember, it’s really easy to overcook quinoa – turning it into khitchardi versus nicely separated pilau grains. Be sure to drain really well so you have good control over the amount of water used for cooking. What’s more is that many grains contain phytic acid, which has a tendency to bind to some nutrients (such as iron) in your body and prevent or reduce their absorption. What’s the solution? Soak your grains – to reduce the phytic acid content.
So let’s talk about the cooking process. It’s really simple and you can substitute with your favourite veggies to give some variety. I start by steaming the green beans separately and meanwhile in a pan fry the onion and garlic. After the addition peppers, tomatoes and a sprinkle of dry spices, the aromatic mixture is ready for the stock, beans and quinoa. I put the lid on at this stage and cook on high/medium so that the quinoa is cooked through. Remember, if you cook under slow heat, it will be soggy and mushy.
Love quinoa as much as we do? Then, you must try my quinoa mung bean salad. It’s refreshing, light and satisfying! Want to see me whip it up? Check out the video and subscribe to my youtube channel for more cooking fun in my desi~licious kitchen.
- 1 cup quinoa, soaked overnight
- 1 cup green beans, small pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, medium sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, large, crushed
- 2 tomatoes, fresh, diced in small pieces
- 1 bell pepper, red, small cubes
- 1 green chilli (leave out if you don't fancy any heat)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 cups black beans, cooked
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Garnish with fresh coriander
- Steam the green beans. Ensure they are on the crunchy side as they will cook further with the quinoa
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan
- Add the onion and garlic and fry on medium heat until golden
- Add the tomatoes, pepper, green chilli and cook on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring continuously
- Add the salt and dry spices and stir well
- Mix in the cooked green beans, black beans and stock and bring to the boil on high heat
- Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 10-15 mins or until the quinoa is soft and the liquid has dried. Keep a close eye as you don’t want the quinoa to stick to the pan
- Once cooked completely, add the lime juice. Using a fork, gently fluff the quinoa to separate the grains
- Garnish with fresh cilantro
Inspired by the traditional rice pilau, this enticing and super-healthy gluten free quinoa vegetable pilau or "qui-lau" is bursting with flavour and so simple to pull off. Infused with the aroma of cumin, coriander and garam masala, this recipe is one you will want to add to your repertoire.
I want to hear from you, when was the last time you had pilau?
Have you made this gluten free quinoa vegetable recipe?
What are your favourite go-to recipes when you’re strapped for time?
Leave me a comment below!
So, kuch kuch hota hai? If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.
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