Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas, Currants & Almonds

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Good hot or cold, this quinoa pilaf is flavored with onions, garlic and spices & tossed with currants, chickpeas and toasted almonds

Bowl of quinoa pilaf with chickpeas, currants, and almonds.

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.”

Measuring cup of quinoa.

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?

Box of Ancient Harvest quinoa.

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

What you’ll need to make quinoa pilaf with chickpeas, currants, and almonds

Spices on a counter with zante currants and a measuring spoon.

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.

Almonds on parchment paper.

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.

Measuring cup of currants.

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

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Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas, Currants & Almonds

Good hot or cold, this quinoa pilaf is flavored with onions, garlic and spices & tossed with currants, chickpeas and toasted 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
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ½ cup canned chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted if desired
  • ½ 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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Man, this was absolutely fantastic! The flavor & texture balance is perfection. The crunchy almonds, sweet currants, and warmly aromatic quinoa are so delicious together. The quinoa took 20 minutes to absorb the liquid (the cooking time can vary widely by varietal, age, and whether it’s pre-washed, so as the recipe indicates, 15 minutes is the least amount of time it might take). I omitted the garbanzo beans because I was serving it with grilled cider brats, carmelized cider onions and curried grilled carrots (your recipe but grilled), but I will definitely use the garbanzo beans another time. I can’t get over your talent for developing recipes and easily conveying how to prepare them. I’m an experienced cook who studied with many chefs, and I’ve rarely used recipes for day-to-day cooking until I found your website. Now, I check here before cooking anything, because I’m stunned by how much I’ve learned fron you and how fabulous your flavor profiles are! Thank you for another great family meal and for blessing us all with your gifts!

    • — Julia H on November 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on November 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • Wow, another home run recipe, Jenn! Never been a huge quinoa fan, but I will make this one again and again. I used prunes because I couldn’t find currants, and needed to cook the quinoa for about 35 min. to fully absorb all the liquid, but it was amazing!

  • Very disappointed. I usually love your recipes but this one needs a little tweaking in my opinion. Too salty even though I used reduced sodium broth, too spicy (though I know this is a personal preference), and the biggest issue is that the recipe calls for too much liquid. I should have gone with my instincts and used a 1/4 c less liquid as when I cook a standard quinoa (1 3/4 c for 1 c quinoa). I ended up with a soupy porridge that I will likely toss.

  • I just added this recipe to my 27 saved on Once Upon a Chef! I substituted Pearled Couscous for quinoa because that’s what I had- served with grilled salmon and asparagus. A delicious dinner! My husband & I have loved every one of your recipes, Jenn. Looking forward to the next cookbook!

    • — Elena Schwartz
    • Reply
  • Loved it! I made this with the Grilled Moroccan Chicken and Israeli Salad, both also from this website, and everything was delicious. I don’t know if you take requests… but I would love to see a paella recipe here!

    • Glad you enjoyed this (and I will add paella to my list of recipes to potentially develop — thanks for the suggestion!

  • I’d never tried cooking quinoa before finding your blog, Jenn, and now that I know how easy it is, I’m a convert and make it often to replace a rice dish accompaniment to a meal. This recipe is another winner, but I wanted to confirm……. if I want to double/triple the recipe to serve a larger party, would I double/triple all ingredients equally? I’m just wondering if the liquid volume in the recipe should also be increased by the same ratio? Looking forward to your response.

    • Glad you enjoyed this and that you’re now a quinoa convert! 🙂 Yes, if you wanted to double this, I’d just double the ingredients keeping all the ratios the same.

  • Delicious!

  • Another winner! I doubled the recipe, and modified it to be vegan. Used whole almonds (only almonds I had) and skipped the honey. Leftovers were yummy too.

  • I’d like to serve this for Rosh Hashanah. Can this be made early in the day and reheated or will it get dry?

    • Hi Jamie, I think it would be perfectly fine to reheat it. Just cover it so it maintains its moisture. Happy new year!

      • Awesome! Thank you!!

  • Enjoyed this recipe very much, as did my husband. The subtle curry and cumin flavoring with the bite of cayenne is unique and addictive. And, I loved, loved, loved the currants. I tasted the quinoa prior to adding the honey and thought the flavor was perfect. As a few other reviewers mentioned, the cooking time of 15 minutes was not sufficient for the quinoa mixture to absorb all of the broth. I increased the heat and cooked the grain another 10 minutes. This recipe was a perfect side for a meal of roasted chicken and spinach-strawberry salad.

  • ive made this recipe but instead of quinoa i made it with cous cous. Tasted amazing thanks jenn 😋

  • Hello Jenn,
    I really enjoyed your Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas, Currants and Almonds. Does the nutrition information refer to the entire recipe or one serving?

    • Glad you liked it, Anne. The nutritional information is for one serving.

  • 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.

  • I’m excited to try this! Any suggestions for main course if serving this as a side?

  • 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, I think you could get away with either. Hope you enjoy!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • This dish is a great side….and so healthy too! I love your simple yet filling and healthy recipes. Keep up the good work!

  • 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!

  • A great and easy side dish for the fall!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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
    • 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!

  • 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?

  • It looks fantastic!

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