Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms, Carrots and Pecans

5 stars based on 2 votes

quinoa-pilaf

Eating healthy should never leave you hungry, which is one of the reasons I love quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). It looks like couscous and eats like a grain but it’s actually the tiny seed of a plant related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa is incredibly high in protein and fiber, and contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. What’s more? It’s gluten-free, cooks quickly (just 15 minutes!) and can take on limitless flavors. Here, I’ve gussied it up with sautéed onions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and pecans to make an earthy and hearty dish.

One of the secrets to making delicious quinoa is to ignore the instructions on the package, which almost always call for too much liquid and result in mushy quinoa. For quinoa that is light, fluffy and slightly crunchy, the ideal ratio is 1 cup quinoa to 1-2/3 cup liquid.



To begin, bring the chicken broth and quinoa to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. It will look like this when it’s done…

In the meantime, cook the the onions gently in olive oil until they start to soften.

Add the diced carrots and thyme and continue to cook until the carrots are just tender.

Next, stir in the shiitake mushrooms and garlic, and continue cooking until the mushrooms are done.

Finally, stir in the cooked quinoa, pecans and parsley.

That’s all there is to it. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy as a hearty side or meatless main course.

 

 

Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms, Carrots & Pecans

Servings: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, pre-rinsed or rinsed
  • 1-2/3 cups low sodium chicken broth (best quality such as Swanson), or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted if desired
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low, cover and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and thyme and cook until the carrots are just tender, 5-7 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, along with mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms are cooked through, a few minutes. Season vegetables with 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  3. Add cooked quinoa to vegetables and stir in pecans and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot or warm.
  4. Note: Shiitakes never come in contact with dirt, so the only washing usually necessary is a gentle wipe with a damp cloth or a paper towel. Use a knife to remove the stems where they meet the cap.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I’ve made this several times and it is delicious! My neighbor has a Shitake Mushroom farm and I purchase from him when they are in season. Using your creative genius, fresh Thyme from my herb garden and his mushrooms makes this dish a welcomed addition to backyard dinners.

    - Cathy on July 30, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love this recipe – it’s a little bit of a chore to chop all the vegetables but simple and quick to combine once everything is chopped and ready to go.
    I use vegetable broth (bouillon cubes) and it’s a great vegetarian dish. Eaten cold the next day it’s still really tasty!

    - ponyo on July 6, 2014 Reply
  • This was so good! We love quinoa and I’m always looking for new ways to make it. I could only
    find regular mushrooms and it still turned out great!

    - Yvonne on March 27, 2014 Reply
  • Made this dish tonight and loved it. We’ve been trying to incorporate quinoa into our diet but couldn’t find a recipe that made the dish taste good. Well, this recipe is it! Love it (and quinoa)! This is a keeper, and now we’ll be eating quinoa more often. Thank you!

    - Mary on January 19, 2014 Reply
  • This was such a visually pleasing side dish to accompany my roast chicken. I omitted the pecans, thyme and parsley and it still turned out very tasty!

    - Ponyo on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • I don’t like mushroom so I made this without and I really liked it. Super easy to make and kept for leftovers pretty well. Just heated it up the next day for lunch.

    - Amanda S. on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • I served this pilaf with your perfectly grilled chicken and it was a hit. I can see this combo making a regular appearance on our dinner table.

    - Angela on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • This is a great recipe. The shiitaki’s make a huge difference in dealing with the quinoa flavors, which I’ll admit, I dislike. I do, however, like the health benefits of quinoa, so I keep trying recipes to deal with it! ha! One thing I did do was use 1/4 oz of dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes. Once they were soft, I minced them up and threw them in, and used that amazing broth they had made (about a cup) with the remaining 2/3 cup of chicken broth instead of all chicken broth. Nice nutty flavor and even more strongly tasted of mushrooms.

    - Megan on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • As already posted I would do the same cut back on the tyme. I did add some lemon juice to counteract the strong tyme flavor and it was delicious.

    - Marie on February 16, 2013 Reply
  • I really liked this dish. I used veggie broth instead of chicken and served it with braised bok choy and baked ginger tofu. It was really good

    - Gamermom on June 29, 2012 Reply
  • used less dried thyme and NO mushrooms…. i hate mushrooms! :)

    - erica on June 27, 2012 Reply
  • I would recommend soaking the quinoa in water for 5 -10 minutes then rinsing before cooking to remove the fine dust that can add a bitter taste to the dish

    - Catherine on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • I am going to have to try this. The pics make it easy enough for someone like me (aka not best cook) to make

    - Jodi on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Very versatile recipe. As we’re vegetarian, I make it with either vegetable broth or just water. Sometimes, I add Indian spices to make it taste a little different.

    - Sri on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I have been trying to cut back on meat and quinoa is my new go to food. i have made this several times and love it. the second time i did not have mushrooms, it was good but better with them. i often just throw whatever additional vegetables i have on hand into this.

    - teri pastorino on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Love this recipe, but I agree with others that if you use dried thyme, it needs to be cut back. Tried it without mushrooms, but loved it more with.

    - jane on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve made this recipe several times and, in so doing, have made new fans of my cooking. It’s a great way to serve an extremely healthy ingredient (quinoa) to people who are trying to learn about it, or who already know its taste and health benefits and appreciate a tasty rendition. Most recently, I served it at a lunch party with a hearty green salad, a loaf of French bread, and a lovely bottle of dry white wine.

    The only change I’ve made has been to add chopped red pepper to the onion, carrot, and mushroom sautee. The pepper adds a very pretty dash of color and flavor, giving the dish a festive look and taste. I find the thyme to be the perfect herb to bring this dish together.

    I’ve served this warm and straight from the ‘fridge as a snack. Like most quinoa recipes, this one is versatile recipe, and oh-so-tasty.

    - Robin on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Fabulous recipe! I added an extra carrot and sauteed some diced asparagus with the carrots.

    - Jackie on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Delicious!! My kids ate it as well.

    - Rachel on April 9, 2012 Reply
  • I made this for lunch and it is yummy. The only thing I would change based on my personal taste is the amount of thyme and mushrooms. I love mushrooms, so I would add more the next time I make and use a little less thyme. The addition of the pecans adds a nice texture to the dish. Not sure if my family (a 5yr & 2 yr) will eat it, but I will. It makes a great alternative to pizza night.

    - Andrea on March 7, 2012 Reply
  • This is a fantastic recipe. The flavors and textures bend together beautifully, and if there are any leftovers, the flavors only get better. Quinoa is so healthy for you, which makes it all the better. We paired it with grilled pork chops. Great meal.

    - Karen on March 7, 2012 Reply
  • fabulous and healthy, it does not get better then that !!
    Jennifer, I love the new site

    - Judi on March 6, 2012 Reply
  • as a gluten-free vegetarian, this recipe is tailor-made for me. looks delicious!! (i’d use vegetable stock). i love the addition of the richness of pecans.

    - gfveg on March 6, 2012 Reply
  • Looks delicious! I am planning to make it tomorrow night. Thank you!

    - Deb on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • Always looking for tasty Quinoa recipes. Thanks!

    - Jill on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • You made me try quinoa again and I’m glad I did. This is delicious and a wonderful difference to my usual sides.

    - Meghan Finley on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • Just found your site and love trying your recipes on my family. Our dinners are filled with less conversations and more moans of enjoyment. Thanks.

    - Judy on March 3, 2012 Reply
  • This is wonderful. We have been trying to be a bit more healthy in our eating habits. This recipe fits right in. It’s delish & a very healthy way to eat.
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. I look forward to them…….

    - gail rush on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • Just delicious. My husband liked it as much as the lamb chops.

    - Sheila on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • This looks delicious! Any excuse to break out the quinoa! Love it!

    - Sarah on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • Gonna try this as quinoa is so good for you and so hard to incorporate into everyday cooking!

    - kelly almasy on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • Despite always putting a heaping spoonful of quinoa on my salad at Whole Foods, I’ve never tried making a dish with it myself! This looks so easy and colorful – can’t wait to try it.

    - Cynthia on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • Have been looking for a new way to use quinoa, will try this next!! Thanks!

    - Deb on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • First time trying Quinoa and was impressed with the results. Surprisingly easy to make.

    - CRQ on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • I’m always searching for side dishes and this sounds very interesting.

    - Amy Flick on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • Looks fantastic. I’ve been looking for a flavorful quiona recipe…and now I’ve found it!

    - Elizabeth on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • I love this…Will make it again

    - Kris on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • I cannot wait to try this delicious looking recipe! I’ve been wanting to try quinoa for some time, and this looks like it will satisfy all my picky eaters!

    - Leah Ann on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • How would it be with barley?

    - Debbie burg on March 1, 2012 Reply
    • Debbie, Probably delicious. Let me know how it comes out if you try it!

      - Jenn on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • Quinoa! So delicious!! Any recipe involving quinoa is worth a try!! Love it!

    - Lynn on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I made this recipe when you first posted it, and it was great, the way you cook the quinoa was good, not mushy and I like the flavor of the Shiitake Mushrooms , this recipe was very flavorful and filling, thanks.

    - Charlene on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • My famiy and I are trying to eat more on the healthy side, and this dish looks so good. I can’t wait to try it. Do you have any recipes for someone alergic to nickle. Will appreciate the recipes. Thank you.

    - Magdalena Gallagher on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Made this the other night . Very good and thanks for the tip about using less water to cook the Quinoa than the back of the package says. Tastes much better!

    - Amy Mirra on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Giving this a try! I made quinoa, but didn’t season with veggies etc….it wasn’t a hit! Will try this & see what the family thinks! Thanks

    - deborah on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • SO GLAD TO HAVE THIS WONDERFUL RECIPE-VERY SIMILAR TO A SALAD I WAS GETTING FROM MY LOCAL CO-OP-KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK-THANK-YOU

    - MARYBETH on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This looks great and I like your alternative recipe for making the quinoa. I use an alternative recipe for quinoa too. Mine uses 1 cup quinoa and 1 1/4 cup stock. Bring the stock to a simmer, add quinoa, then reduce to low (not to a simmer). Cook for 25-30 minutes. Pull off heat and allow to sit for another 5 minutes. It makes it fluffy and keeps a bite as well. I’ll have to try your quicker version tonight!

    - Krista on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I hope this recipe will convert my Quinoa – hating husband … I keep trying … if not, more for me !

    - Judy on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • What a wonderful recipe! I’ve made it twice already, and it goes so well with poultry and fish. I don’t care for nuts, so I left them out. I added a bit of jalapeno pepper the 2nd time I made it–very good!

    - Colleen on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I have been eating quinoa quite a bit over this past year and always love to try new recipes….this one looks like a winner!

    - Elizabeth Tammaro on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This is heavenly. I made it twice since it was published and shared it with friends. Yum!!! Thanks Jennifer!

    - Florina on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Love this recipe. Just started using using quinoa to replace both white and brown rice. Fantastic source of amino acids and protein.

    - Jeff on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Loved this one! Tried it last week. Thank you for posting!

    - Jennifer on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Great Easy recipe to make in no time. Jen your recipes ROCK!

    - Keith on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I cannot wait to try this –
    I love quinoa!
    Thanks!

    - Marina on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I made this recipe last week and it was sooo delicious! I will definitely be making Quinoa again with my own little spin.

    - Jen on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • can’t wait to make this!!!

    - susan on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Thanks for the tip on cooking Quinoa. I tried it with this recipe and it did make a tasty difference. The was delicious…really enjoyed the pecans! YUM!

    - Jillian on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • My daughter is a vegetarian and I made this dish for her and it was a total WINNER!!

    - Dale P. on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This looks yummy! I love Quinoa and this combination looks delicious….as always, you have fabulous recipes! And now a great giveaway!

    - Melissa Lee on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Just made it and everyone in my family loved it so much! Very tasty :)

    - Roni on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This got rave reviews from hubby and a girlfriend who came for dinner. I served it as a main dish along with a spinach salad (baby spinach, red onion, mandarin oranges, sprinkled Feta cheese, with balsamic vinaigrette).

    The only thing I did differently was to dry heat the already rinsed and dried quinoa for a few minutes — until there’s a pleasant nutty smell, which adds a nice flavor to it when cooked.

    Thanks!

    - Robin on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Jen! This dish is DELICIOUS!!! Thank you for sharing such a tasty and HEALTHY recipe! I had never had quinoa before and had been wanting to try it (it’s great). I have to say that I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms but I went ahead and tried the shiitakes, and they are GREAT! I really, really like their flavor. This is a recipe I will be keeping for good :-)

    - Jennifer on February 28, 2012 Reply
  • Very delicious! I love the crunch that the pecans add. I added a little lemon pepper at the end and it gave it a cool flavor kick. Thank you :)

    - Maggie on February 26, 2012 Reply
  • made this and it was delish!! So easy too. I used the baby bellas instead of shiitake shrooms and left out pecans…first time I’ve ever prepared or eaten quinoa. Now I have a whole bag so need to get more recipes. . Rinsing it was the only tricky part as some went right through the strainer.

    - tawni on February 22, 2012 Reply
  • Can you use anything other than pecans. They were outrageous at the store !

    - Tawni on February 20, 2012 Reply
    • Tawni, You can use any nut you like, or simply leave them out…will still be delicious.

      - Jenn on February 20, 2012 Reply
    • can i substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth? will it taste the same?

      - Reyna on February 22, 2012 Reply
      • Reyna, You can definitely substitute vegetable broth. The taste won’t be exactly the same but it will still be delicious.

        - Jenn on February 22, 2012 Reply
  • Bonjour Jennifer,
    I really like your new website! very classy, and love your recipes and would like to be able to store them for later use without having to search them through the site.
    Do you think it would be possible to add a “recipe box” on the website where we could keep our favorites for quick reference?
    Love your story, I am from France and was also an au pair to learn English.
    I have to tell you that your beef stew recipe is most amazing and the next best thing after the boeuf Bourguignon I grew up with. I make It all the time now because it’s not as involved as the Bourguignon and just as good. Thank you so much for taking the time to share all those wonderfully recipes.
    Isabelle

    - Isabelle Combre on February 18, 2012 Reply
    • Thank you, Isabelle! Looking into the recipe box…

      - Jenn on February 18, 2012 Reply
  • You make healthy eating look like a trip to Paris and eating in a beautiful restaurant.
    I’m making this tomorrow.
    Thank you!

    - Niya Sisk on February 17, 2012 Reply
    • Niya, Now you’ve made me want to go to Paris and eat in a beautiful restaurant…we can dream :)

      - Jenn on February 18, 2012 Reply
  • I love the suggestion to add less liquid. I was just inspired by you to make quinoa and it came out much fluffier than usual. Thank you!

    - Lori on February 16, 2012 Reply
  • I cannot wait to try this- I love quinoa! Thanks again, Jen!! :)

    - Beth on February 16, 2012 Reply
  • Oh yummy and so comfy! Might just make it for dinner tonight. Thank you :)

    - Grishma @ZaikaZabardast on February 16, 2012 Reply

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