Colorful, easy red quinoa pilaf with kale and corn is packed with tasty and good for you ingredients. It can be a side dish or entree, depending on what else is being served with it.
To make this into a heartier main dish, add some beans to it. Black beans are a perfect fit for this. This is a dish that can be enjoyed by everyone — it’s gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and of course, vegan.
Is there a difference between red and white quinoa (which is actually tan)? Not much. Red quinoa is slightly prettier, of course, but you can certainly swap in the more common quinoa. There’s black quinoa as well, and blends that you can purchase with all three colors together.
The only discernible difference is that red and black quinoa seem to need a little more water to cook. The impressive nutrient profile is quite similar as well. You can swap in any variety or blend into this recipe.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos of red quinoa pilaf by Susan Voisin. Some other warm quinoa dishes you may enjoy:
- Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Stuffing
- Quick and Colorful Vegan Quinoa Paella
- Pinto Bean and Quinoa Sloppy Joes
- 1 1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve (or use any other variety of quinoa, or a blend)
- 3 cups water
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 bunch kale (about 8 ounces), curly green or lacinato
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 3 to 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 2 jarred roasted red peppers, cut into strips, or 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or crushed dried rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the quinoa with the water and the bouillon cube in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer, then cover and simmer gently until the broth is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the quinoa isn’t quite done, add an additional 1/2 cup water and continue to cook until absorbed.
- Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves away from the stems. Discard the stems, or slice them very thinly. Cut the kale leaves into narrow strips. Rinse well and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until golden.
- Add the kale, stir together, and cover; raise the heat to medium and cook until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook until the heated through.
- When the quinoa is cooked, stir it into the pan along with the scallions, peppers or dried tomatoes, lemon juice, and seasonings. Stir together and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until everything is piping hot. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a serving container and serve at once, or cover until needed.
Variation: Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked or canned black beans for an even heartier dish.
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