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, nourishing 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.
Know the 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!
How to Make Pilau Healthy
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 nourished, 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.
Why it’s Important to Soak Rice and Grains
Washing and soaking quinoa the night before will certainly help to speed up the cooking process. But more importantly, thoroughly washing it will remove its bitter coating.
Remember, it’s really easy to overcook quinoa – turning it into khitchardi (sticky rice) 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.
How to Make Gluten-Free Pilau
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 begin to fry the onion and garlic in a pan.
After the addition of 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 become 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 below and subscribe to my youtube channel for more cooking fun in my Desi~licious kitchen.
More Healthy Recipes You Might Like:
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, Facebook and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.
Gluten free Quinoa Vegetable Pilau | Healthy, Vegan Family Dinner
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups black beans cooked
- 2 tomato fresh, diced, small pieces
- 1 bell pepper red, small cubes
- 1 green chili leave out if you don't fancy any heat
- 1 cup quinoa soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup coriander fresh for garnish
- 1 onion medium, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic large, crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Wash and trim ends of green beans. Add water and beans to small pan. Cover and steam on medium/high heat for 5 minutes
- Drain and rinse canned beans and set aside
- Wash and dice tomatoes, pepper and chilli in small pieces and set aside
- Wash quinoa thoroughly several times, drain and set aside
- Wash and ﬁnely chop cilantro and set aside
- Peel and chop onion and crush garlic. Heat oil in large pan, fry onion and garlic on medium heat until golden
- Add tomatoes, pepper, chilli and cook on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring continuously
- Add salt and dry spices. Mix well
- Stir in green beans, black beans, quinoa and stock. Bring to boil on high heat
- Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 mins, until quinoa is soft and ﬂuffy
- Add lime juice and garnish with cilantro