Green Quinoa Pilaf

Green quinoa pilaf is an easy, healthy, and delicious side dish that pairs wonderfully with chicken, pork, or fish.  The leftovers make a nutritious lunch that won’t give you the 3 o’clock slump.

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Plate of healthy, Green Quinoa Pilaf with fresh herbs and aromatic vegetables.

I like to serve this dish as a side with Lemon Garlic Roasted Swordfish, Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken, or Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken.


Quinoa is an ancient grain that is actually a seed from the flowers of a varietal of the amaranth plant.  These little seeds pack a punch of nutrients, fiber, and protein.  Quinoa makes a tasty and healthy substitute for rice.


  • Quinoa – the most important step when making quinoa is to rinse it.  Quinoa has a coating that tastes bitter and soapy.  Rinsing removes the coating.
  • Vegetable stock – adds flavor to the quinoa when cooking. You could use any broth, stock, or even water.
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Olive oil – olive oil will be used to sautee the vegetables and to drizzle over top of the finished dish for flavor.
  • Leeks – use both the white and green parts, thinly sliced, and cleaned. Leeks tend to have sand in between the layers.  I like to slice the leek and immerse it in a large bowl of water. The slices of leek will float and the sand will sink to the bottom.  Carefully scoop the leek slices out of the water, leaving the sand on the bottom of the bowl.
  • Green pepper – chopped very small and sauteed with the leeks.
  • Garlic
  • Herbs – the herbs will add a fresh, herbaceous flavor to the quinoa.  For this recipe, I like using mint, chives, and basil.  You can use any fresh herbs that you like.  Tarragon, parsley, and rosemary are all wonderful additions to this pilaf.
  • Avocado – adds texture, creaminess, and some healthy fat.
  • Lime – this will be squeezed over the finished dish to bring out the flavors of the herbs and add a freshness to the quinoa.

Plate of healthy, Green Quinoa Pilaf with fresh herbs and aromatic vegetables.

Looking for a few more healthy side dish recipes?  Here are a few suggestions:

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Plate of healthy, Green Quinoa Pilaf with fresh herbs and aromatic vegetables.



This Green Quinoa Pilaf is an easy, healthy side dish that packs a punch of flavor.  Double the recipe so that you have extra for lunches all week.



1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 leek, white and green parts, halved, cleaned, and sliced very thin

½ green bell pepper, finely minced

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon fresh mint, very finely minced

1 tablespoon fresh chives, very finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, very finely minced

1 avocado, chopped (reserve a few pieces as a garnish)

Juice of 1 lime

Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle


In a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa in cold water until the water runs clear.

In a medium pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil.  Add the salt, white pepper, and quinoa.

Bring the liquid back to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender.

Remove the pot from the heat.

Drain the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer.

Return the quinoa to the pot.  Cover the pot with a clean dish towel and return the lid over the dishtowel.  Allow the quinoa to rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.

Add the leek, garlic, and green pepper. Stir, cooking until the leeks are fragrant and translucent – about 5 minutes.

Stir in the mint, chives, and basil.  Cook, stirring constantly until the herbs are wilted – about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and fold in the quinoa

Stir in the avocado and the lime juice.

Taste and adjust seasonings for salt and pepper.

Garnish with basil leaves, a few pieces of chopped fresh avocado, and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: green quinoa pilaf, healthy side dish, side dish recipes, side dish, quinoa, quinoa recipes, healthy lunches,

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