Quinoa Pilaf 4.000
Feb 20, 2008

Quinoa is called a supergrain because it contains so much high-quality protein. Here, its nutty flavor works well with the slight bitterness of the rapini (broccoli rabe) and sweetness of the dried cherries for a light side dish that could accompany grilled pork, chicken or salmon.

The pilaf comes together in minutes; the quinoa can be cooked hours in advance of a dinner party.

Servings: 4 - 6
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, cut into small dice (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) quinoa, preferably the no-soak variety, such as Ancient Harvest brand
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 small bunch rapini (broccoli rabe), ends trimmed
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see NOTE; optional)
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

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Have ready a medium mixing bowl of ice cubes and water (about 2 cups of each). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rapid boil over high heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and become translucent. Add the quinoa and stir to coat evenly; cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the water, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the quinoa is tender. (At this point, the quinoa can be uncovered, fluffed lightly with a fork and transferred to a bowl; keep at room temperature for up to a few hours.)

Meanwhile, add the rapini to the boiling water and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, then drain in a colander and immediately transfer to the ice-water bath. When the rapini has cooled, squeeze out all excess water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Just before serving, heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium or medium-high heat. Add the blanched, dried rapini and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until heated through. Add the cooked quinoa, almonds, cherries and lemon zest, mixing well. Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and pepper). Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Janis McLean, executive chef of the Morrison-Clark Inn.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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