Mushroom Quinoa Pilaf

Rice pilaf is probably not one of the more exciting dishes around.

And yet it is a classic, never-fail comfort food. It always delivers, goes with anything and is reliably familiar.

But if you’re trying to reduce your intake of simple carbs, and are looking to boost the nutritional value of even your side dishes, rice pilaf has probably dropped out of your dinnertime rotation.

It’s time to bring it back. With a twist.

Gluten-free, nutritional-powerhouse quinoa replaces long grain rice here – and you’ll never miss it. Not only because quinoa has a rich, nutty flavor and texture that rivals rice any day, but this pilaf is next-level delicious thanks to a heap of sautéed mushrooms.

Even standard cremini mushrooms are transformed when sautéed with garlic and thyme over high heat.

The whole thing is showered with lots of freshly grated parmesan, and you’ve got a dish so good that you “may” elevate it to main dish status!


1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated parmesan


  1. Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly. This removes quinoa’s natural coating – called “saponin” – which can make it taste bitter or soapy (do this even if the package says “pre-rinsed”). Place in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. Heat a large, heavy duty skillet over medium-high heat. Heat olive oil till hot but not smoking. Add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme and saute till mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in quinoa till well combined and transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve pilaf, passing parmesan separately.

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