Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Veganomicon Review: Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf

Because I much prefer my whole grains in bread form (bread is my weakness), I rarely cook grains. And I've never made quinoa. But I've been wanting to incorporate more grains into my diet. As Veganomicon says, "There's a reason that grains were found in the tombs of the Egyptian pyramids as well as the base of our food pyramid: they're packed with so many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even protein, all while being low in fat." They go on to say, "Quinoa is also a complete protein, which has recently made it something of a darling to the vegan community and health-conscious foodies." I had to try it!

I had chickpeas left over from the batch I cooked over the weekend so made the Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf. It was so quick and easy to make and was done in about a half hour.
First you cook onions and garlic in olive oil for a while over medium heat until they just start to caramelize. Then you add cumin, crushed coriander seeds, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. You add the quinoa, let it absorb the spices a little, then add vegetable broth and chickpeas and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the broth, about 20 minutes.

I don't like coriander seeds, and after crushing them, sniffing them, and considering whether I should add them, I ditched them for ground coriander instead, which has a much less intense flavor.

The result: Yummy! Really liked it! I thought it was flavorful without being overpowered by coriander-seed-taste, which I'm happy I didn't use. This is a good, basic recipe, and I'd be interested in making it again and experimenting with different herbs and seasonings.

PS: My omnivore husband, who reluctantly tried it after looking at it and asking "What's in it?" liked it too.

WeightWatchers PointsPlus: 5 for 4 servings


  1. Oooh, this one is on my list. I'm glad you liked it and that it's quick. I need a quick one! I love quinoa, or any superfood for that matter. :)

  2. We make this all the time. Recently, I've been using a half tablespoon (or so) of garam masala instead of the cumin and coriander and like it better. I also mix a cup of cooked peas in.

  3. Thanks for the tip--I'm going to try it with garam masala next time.

  4. Adding a handful of frozen spinach to the last few minutes of cooking is a great touch -- boosts the flavor, nutrition, and keeps it from looking monochromatic. You might also add cooked kale. This recipe is a favorite of mine and a lunch staple. :) Having a sensitive digestive tract, I omit the coriander/cumin altogether and find this results in a wonderful, mellow comforting dish.