The Washington Post

Summer Quinoa Pilaf

Summer Quinoa Pilaf 4.000

Greg Powers for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

Aug 22, 2018

If you have been underwhelmed by quinoa recipes, try this one: It employs a few easy techniques, such as toasting the grains and cooking them as you would a pilaf.

To read the accompanying story, see: With the right recipe, quinoa can be nutty and fluffy, not bland and watery.

Make Ahead: This pilaf is at its best when freshly made, but you can reheat leftovers by spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet and placing them under the broiler just until heated through.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups dried quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin, 1-inch-long strips (ribs and seeds removed; about 2 cups total)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen/defrosted corn kernels
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, each cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (see NOTE)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 2 ounces goat cheese (1/2 cup crumbled)


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, garlic, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown at the edges. Add the quinoa; stir for 3 to 5 minutes, until the grains darken and start to pop.

Add the water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 17 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. (If quinoa is still wet, uncover, increase the heat a bit and cook, stirring, for an additional 1 to 3 minutes.) Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Toss together the red bell pepper strips and corn on a rimmed baking sheet with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season with a pinch of salt. Spread the mixture in a single layer; broil for 10 to 12 minutes until charred in spots, stirring once or twice to prevent burning.

Fold the charred vegetables, the cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and cilantro into the cooked quinoa (off the heat). Top with the crumbled goat cheese, and serve right away

NOTE: Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Cool completely before using.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Joy Manning.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 6): 290

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 14g 22%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 260mg 11%

Total Carbohydrates: 35g 12%

Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 10g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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