spring vegetable + quinoa pilaf

by Amy on 23 March 2012

spring has definitely sprung here in nashville, which means that the heavier stews + soups that i craved all winter are no longer sounding as good to me. instead, around dinnertime, i’m craving lighter meals – grilled chicken, seafood, or burgers with light, veggie-filled side dishes. earlier this week, when my husband fired up the grill on a warm, gorgeous night to make some burgers, i remembered this quinoa + veggie pilaf recipe that i’d been wanting to try + decided to give it a spin.

so, how was it? surprisingly, awesome! i worried it would be a bit bland, but that wasn’t the case. all the veggies + the olive oil in which they sautéed provided a ton of awesome flavor to the dish. also, the quinoa took on a creamy, risotto-like texture, from the juice of the veggies + the olive oil, which was divine. it was the perfect, light accompaniment to some awesomely-grilled burgers (thanks, husband!) + was even more flavorful the next day as leftovers. another plus – it’s easily adaptable depending on which vegetables you like or dislike. so next time you’re looking for a delicious, quick, + easy weeknight side dish that’s wonderfully healthy, give this quinoa + vegetable pilaf a try!

spring vegetable + quinoa pilaf

makes 4 servings, adapted from bon appetit


1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for seasoning
1 cup quinoa, rinsed + drained 3 times
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup 1/2-inch pieces red bell peppers
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces trimmed baby zucchini + summer squash
freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley, optional, for garnish


bring broth + 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan; add quinoa. cover, reduce heat to low, + simmer until quinoa is tender + broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. remove from heat; fluff with fork. cover + reserve.

meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet to medium. add olive oil + garlic; sauté about 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. add bell peppers, green beans, zucchini + squash. season with salt + black pepper to taste. sauté until just tender, about 8 minutes. add cooked quinoa, thyme, lemon juice, + green onions to vegetables in skillet; toss to combine. season with sea salt + pepper, + garnish with parsley, if using.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee March 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

Looks yummy! I love quinoa and I’m always looking for different ways to prepare it. Perfect Spring time dish. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Have a great weekend:)

2 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking March 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

Funny how, with the weather, our cravings tend to take a turn for the lighter side! I’m experiencing the same thing. This looks so delicious and wholesome, Amy. Great recipe! Now, if I could just get myself to eat like this year-round, ha!

Also, I’m having a great giveaway today with four potential prize winners, so you should enter!

3 cassie March 23, 2012 at 10:23 am

My kind of meal here amy. we made a similar couscous salad this week. love this one. we are big fans of quinoa!

4 kristen @ notsodomesticated March 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

I love meals that had enhanced flavor the next day! So many of my pasta and soup dishes taste even better as leftovers. :)

5 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious March 23, 2012 at 11:42 am

I can’t believe I’ve never made quinoa before! I will definitely have to give it a try, starting with this recipe. It looks like a wonderful dish, and I absolutely love all the fresh veggies in this dish.

6 amy March 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

ooh, you’ll have to try it! it’s sort of like couscous, but even better for you – it’s really high in protein. and it’s super tasty + versatile. =) you’ll have to let me know how you like it!

7 claire @ the realistic nutritionist March 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

Oh this is just perfect!! I love the use of the fresh garden veggies :)

8 Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama March 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Oh yuuuum! This would be fantastic with my garden veggies when it is time to harvest!

9 Ally Garner March 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Delicious! I’m constantly on the hunt for new ways to kick up quinoa. I’ve finally gotten the husband on board and we rarely eat rice anymore. I love any recipe that includes fresh veggies & can’t wait for our garden to come in for dishes just like this one. We’ve got beans, squash & zucchini in the ground – woot! Love this light veggie quinoa, Amy. Thanks for sharing your sprummery creation :)

10 amy March 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

ooh, that’s awesome that you’ll be able to make it with fresh produce from your garden – how fabulous is that?!

11 Choc Chip Uru March 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I love how deliciously simple this recipe is yet has so many flexible options of veges sauce etc to add to it 😀

Choc Chip Uru
Latest: Double Nutella Layered Cheesecake Brownie Bites

12 Kathryn March 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Oh i want this in my life! Love the colours and the flavours, I think it’s going to be big on my summer meal rotation.

13 sportsglutton March 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Sounds delicious Amy. Have a great weekend!

14 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl March 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I’m with you–I’m definitely ready for some lighter fare now that the weather (and grill!) is warming up! I love quinoa and am always looking for some different ways to jazz it up–this recipe looks like a keeper. We’ll definitely be giving it a try this spring! Have a great weekend!

15 danielle March 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I love quinoa – this combination sounds great!

16 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. March 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I am with Danielle. I love any quinoa combination!

17 Renee March 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

This is my kind of side dish. Love all the veggies. So pretty too. Would brighten any plate and be yummy in the tummy!

18 angela@spinachtiger March 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Looks delicious to me whether it’s Spring or Winter. This picture is so nice. It jumps out and makes me want it which is exactly what it should do.

19 wendy (the weekend gourmet) March 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

This looks so light and refreshing…I think we’re both on springtime salad kicks this week. love quinoa, so need to try this. salads like this are an easy way to get more veggies in with a yummy salad!

20 Jackie @ Domestic Fits March 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

This does look absolutely fabulous alongside a grilled burger. You two are a perfect team :)

21 Liz March 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

THIS could be my dinner…it looks amazing!!!

22 Katia March 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm

This is one of my weekly staple when my husband is not around (he hates grains…) and it’s a lovely and healthy spring time dish! : )

23 Barbara @ Barbara Bakes March 26, 2012 at 6:50 am

A great side dish for a BBQ.

24 Liz @ Fresh Plate March 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

Hi Amy! Thank you for posting this recipe. I love quinoa and am always looking for new recipes.Especially with warmer weather on the horizon and quinoa works for lunches well around here! Have a great day. ~Liz

25 Jessica @ Cajunlicious March 26, 2012 at 10:48 am

Can’t wait to try this, it’s on the menu for next week!

26 Asmita March 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm

This looks so healthy and will make this soon at my place.

27 Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings April 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm

i love how fresh this looks and quinoa, the queen of grains, is a personal favourite. i’ve even made pancakes out of quinoa flour – yummy! anyway, just wanted to say how refreshing your blog is – full of fresh ideas and recipes! hope to get to know you more and learn new recipes from you. i’ve added you to my blog roll :)

28 amy April 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

ooh, i still haven’t tried quinoa flour – will have to do that soon. so glad we found each other’s blogs – yours is beyond gorgeous!

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