Spanish Quinoa Pilaf

September 30

This morning we got some definitive answers for my mom’s eye troubles. The glaucoma specialist told us there are 2 different situations to be addressed. One is that the episode she had 3 weeks ago was caused by inflammation in the eye which blocked the drainage. As this was exactly the same kind of episode she had 30 years ago, he said it’s possible it can happen again, at any time, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. If it does happen again, we’re to take her to the ER, or if she’s travelling elsewhere, to use the eye drops she has now and then see the doctor as soon as she’s back. He said it could happen again in a couple years’ time, or 30 years from now, or never. Hm. The other issue is that she was born with very narrow angles, so they are going to use a laser procedure to ensure they don’t close altogether. That will happen in 2 stages over the next 4 weeks.

It’s good to have answers. And on the plus side, after her scare in the ER, she’s now diligently wearing her glasses more, which I think will help prevent other vision problems. 🙂

I came home and experimented in the kitchen and made up a batch of Spanish Quinoa Pilaf:


In one of my mother’s Costco shopping sprees awhile back, she had bought this giant bag of organic quinoa:

I decided it was high time we make a dent in it.


  • 1-1/2 C quinoa
  • canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • spices and herbs: I used: 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (use more if you like it spicy), 1 tsp chili powder (use more if you like a stronger flavour), 1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning, and pinch of oregano (or whatever herbs/seasonings you like…I’m never exact with my recipes)
  • 2 C low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C diced zuchinni
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 C frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salsa and tomato sauce – – just enough to add a bit of moisture and flavour (today I used about 3 TB of each)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Lightly toast the quinoa in a big pot over medium heat. (Watch that it doesn’t burn; when it begins to “pop”, it is nearly there) Transfer quinoa to another dish/bowl for now.

2. Saute red onion in canola or olive oil (I used a combination of the 2) over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the garlic (1 clove) after a couple minutes. Keep stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and slightly browned.

3. Add red pepper flakes, steak seasoning, chili powder, and any other herbs/spices at this time. Keep stirring and cook for 30 sec – 1 min.

4.Add quinoa, broth, and water. Scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan–this will add flavour. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 – 15 mins or until the liquid has been absorbed.

5. In the meantime, saute zuchinni, red pepper and the rest of the garlic in a separate frying pan with a bit of canola oil over medium-high heat. When the vegetables are almost done cooking (about 2 – 3 mins), add the frozen corn. Turn off the heat when the corn has heated through (another minute or so). Add black pepper to taste.

6. When quinoa has finished cooking, turn off the heat and add the sauted vegetables along with kidney beans, tomato, and green onion. Mix altogether with enough salsa and tomato sauce to moisten. And enjoy!

*Note: I did not add any salt during the cooking process because I like my food relatively low-key, and because there is already sodium in the broth, salsa, and tomato sauce. But that’s just my preference. 🙂

(Edited to add: this recipe makes A LOT of quinoa. In the future, I will probably only make 1 Cup of Quinoa, thereby reducing the chicken broth and water to a total of 2 Cups of liquid. Yes, we’ll be eating quinoa for quite a few days to come…)

Anybody have any fun quinoa recipes to share?


Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Kitchen Adventures



2 responses to “Spanish Quinoa Pilaf