Weeknight Dinner Hack: 3 Easy Ways to Jazz Up Your Quinoa

Quinoa is definitely a staple in our home. Its so much quicker to prepare than brown rice and is a nutritious whole grain. On those nights where I’m either lacking creativity or time, my default meal is typically grilled chicken with veggies and quinoa. Since quinoa takes just 8 minutes to cook to perfection, a meal like this can be put together in less than half an hour.

But let’s face it.

Quinoa on its own can be rather bland. It does have a nice nuttiness to it, but its flavor profile stops there. So I’ve taken to experimenting with fast ways to fancy up our quinoa for these quick weeknight meals. Usually, the recipe was result of combinations of random things I had in the fridge or cupboard at the time. Adding fresh fruit and nuts has become my favorite way to make a quick quinoa pilaf. Using ingredients like these, means nothing needs to be cooked in addition to the quinoa and also means that the quinoa pilaf tastes great warm or cold.

So today I’m bringing you my 3 favorite combinations for a simple quinoa pilaf/salad. These recipes make a great side dish to a meal, base grain for a bowl or can be made in bulk to be taken to a pot luck or BBQ. I don’t include measurements on this post, as there really is no right or wrong amount for the ingredients. You can add as much or as little as you’d like — if you prefer more crunch, add more toppings! I also omitted measurements to allow flexibility in dish size. You can make this as a single serve recipe or you can make enough for your family, its up to you!

While I’ve only brought you three recipes, the combinations are truly endless. I hope this sparks  your own quinoa creativity!

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Simple Quinoa Pilaf – 3 Ways

Ingredients:

Apple Walnut Pilaf:

  • chopped apple
  • chopped walnuts
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Pomegranate & Almond Pilaf:

  • pomegranate seeds
  • sliced almonds
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Strawberry & Pesto Pilaf:

  • chopped strawberries
  • pesto
  • sunflower seeds
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook desired amount of quinoa according to the package — usually a 1:2 ratio with boiling water for 8 minutes.
  2. Transfer quinoa to a mixing bowl and add the desired toppings.
  3. Mix well and serve immediately, or store in the fridge and serve chilled for up to 3 days.

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If you give any of these speedy recipes a try, be sure to let me know what you think! Tag me with your creations on Instagram @mindingmysoul and #mindingmysouleats.

Live Well, Friends! –Megan