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Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas, Currants & Almonds

5 stars based on 4 votes

Quinoa 9

Leery of health foods with names you can’t pronounce? Me too, which is why it took me so long to discover quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), otherwise known as the “Supergrain of the Future.”

Quinoa 1

Though it looks like couscous, it’s actually not a grain at all, but rather the seed of a plant that’s related to beets, chard and spinach. It’s incredibly high in protein and boasts all kinds of health-building nutrients. It’s also gluten free. Still with me?

Quinoa 7

Good…because if you cook it right, it’s delicious. I promise.

Quinoa 5

Here I’ve taken a page from the aromatic couscous dishes of North Africa, flavoring it with onions, garlic, chicken broth and spices, then adding currants, chickpeas and toasted almonds. It’s a terrific accompaniment to any simply prepared entrée…and it’s just as good cold for lunch or a picnic.

Quinoa 5

If you’re at all hesitant about using curry powder or cumin, not to worry…the flavors here are very mild and work well together. The currants and honey complement the spices with a touch of delicious sweetness, and the chickpeas and almonds add protein and crunch.

Quinoa 4

Give it a try. My husband loves it, and he has no idea how good it is for him.


Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas, Currants & Almonds

Servings: 4


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions, from 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 cup pre-washed quinoa (if not pre-washed, follow package instructions for rinsing)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth, best quality such as Swanson Organic
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup canned chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey


  1. Melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium pan. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, curry powder, cumin, salt, cayenne, currants, and chick peas and bring to a gentle boil. Cover tightly with a lid and turn the heat down to a simmer; cook until quinoa is done, about 15 minutes. You'll know it's done when the grains become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.
  2. Add the honey and almonds, stir and fluff with a fork, then season to taste with salt if necessary.

Nutrition Information

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  • Calories: 344
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Sodium: 389 mg
  • Cholesterol: 8 mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 4 stars

    This is a tasty dish, but quinoa takes much longer than 15 mins. to absorb the broth. Mine took at least 25 mins., if not longer.

    - Jenn V. on January 3, 2017 Reply
  • I’m excited to try this! Any suggestions for main course if serving this as a side?

    - Jennifer on July 12, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    This looks like something at our farmer’s market and I’m so excited to try it! However, we are dairy free. Do you know if Earth Balance would work as a sub for the butter? Or should I just omit and increase the olive oil?

    - Nicole on January 22, 2016 Reply
    • Nicole, I think you could get away with either. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on January 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So, So delicious. I loved the sweetness of the currents with the savoury of the dish. The toasted almonds are a must, they really give the texture contrast and flavour that the salad needs to put it over the top.

    - tanya komori on September 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a delicious Quinoa recipe. The flavors and textures are spot with a nice crunch from almonds and the plump sweetness of the currants. Yum!

    - Pauline on March 20, 2015 Reply
  • I’ve made this as a side dish. I have also added cooked shredded chicken about 5 mins into the boiling to serve as a full meal.

    - Laura on March 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    It is only the second day of the new year and I’ve already made three of your recipes! This one is so delicious and will most certainly be made over and over again (I’ve already eaten a quarter of it!). I used craisins instead of currants because thats all I had on hand and it worked! Thanks for always having the best recipes! Happy New Year!

    - Katie on January 2, 2015 Reply
  • Just made this for dinner tonight and my toddler looooved it! He hates meat so this was a great, protein packed meal for him! I omitted the cayenne bc of the little guy, but it was still so flavorful! Thanks so much for this new addition to our recipe box!

    - Jessica on February 18, 2014 Reply
  • i love the recipes with quinoa. this is such a good recipe because it has the added veggies to make it a rounded-out meal. thanks

    - sylvia on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • I love how all the ingredients come together to make a very satisfying salad. I swapped craisins for the raisins and added about 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Delish!

    - Rachel on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I had never tried Quinoa before & wanted to try it so this recipe was a great way to try something really new – it was really good! I did not use currants (only because I really dislike currants or raisins) – I used dried cherries instead. This was great, healthy and I have added it to my go-to recipes. Thanks!

    - Esther on June 26, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve made this a couple of times now, and keep it in the fridge for my son to snack on, after work, before dinner is ready. Much healthier than him grabbing a cookie, some chips or other such snack, and he loves the taste.

    - Sue on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • This dish is a great side….and so healthy too! I love your simple yet filling and healthy recipes. Keep up the good work!

    - Janice on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I have been making this with a curry recipe I have. It compliments the main dish very well. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes!

    - Melissa on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • A great and easy side dish for the fall!

    - Amanda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • As with every recipe I’ve tried, this one was marvelous. I followed it almost exactly, adding a little extra garbanzos and currants, but my oh my! Delicious!
    Thank you once again!

    - Natalie on October 2, 2011 Reply
  • Wonderful! This is on our permanent menu. We are vegetarians so we used vegetable broth and Trader Joe’s mixed Quinoa blend and it was so superb. Thanks for posting it and we look for more great recipes from you.

    - Becki on December 11, 2010 Reply
  • I made this last night and WOW this was fantastic and flavorful! I love quinoa and having a recipe as delicious as this is fantastic. I didn’t change a thing and it was perfect Thanks so much, your recipes are the best!

    - Carrie H on June 28, 2010 Reply
  • Delicious. A definite keeper. The only variation I made was using vegetable broth instead of chicken and chopping raisins to replace the currants. I’d been looking for something to do with the large bag of quinoa I bought at Costco. Glad I bought it now.

    - Emilie on June 24, 2010 Reply
  • I made this last night and it was very good. My daughter cannot have gluten so quinoa is a great alternative to rice or pasta. Usually I make her something special but this was great because the whole family liked it. I’ll definitely be making it again. Thanks so much. I love getting your recipes!

    - Suzanne on June 18, 2010 Reply
  • I love that stuff! I managed a health food store for 14 years…brings back memories. I need to go cook some up!

    - the domestic mama on June 15, 2010 Reply
  • Daphna, You are right, plain quinoa is very bland…but it takes on other flavors beautifully which is why I like it with onions, garlic, spices, etc. If you don’t have chicken broth, you could substitute vegetable broth. I wouldn’t suggest making it with just water….it needs more flavor. Hope that helps!

    - Jenn on June 14, 2010 Reply
  • looks good, I just made red quinooa but it came out bland, just followed the package directions. Yours looks much more flavorful. I will omit nuts as my son is allergic to them. Thank you for sharing. I love your recipes!! If I don’t have chicken broth do you have any other suggestions for a substitute?

    - Daphna on June 14, 2010 Reply
  • It looks fantastic!

    blowing peachkisses
    The Peach Kitchen
    peach and things

    - peachkins on June 14, 2010 Reply

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