Instant Pot Saffron Quinoa with Cashews & Raisins

Here’s any easy side dish for the holidays- Saffron Quinoa with Cashews, Raisins & Dried Cranberries.

Made in the Instant Pot, this aromatic dish is vegan and gluten-free.

plate of saffron quinoa topped with roasted cashews, raisins and cranberries

The holidays will be looking so different this year. Here in Washington state, a lockdown was announced again this week.

Indoor gatherings are totally banned and one is supposed to celebrate Thanksgiving with their immediate family only. I can only imagine how hard it must be for so many.

So many travel during this time to be with their families, definitely a time of the year everyone looks forward to. But this year everything is different.

But I am sure that even though things are different, the festive spirit will remain same. We will still have fun, be thankful and enjoy good food.

Talking about food, I have got a super easy and really flavorful vegan side dish to share with you guys today.

You guys know how much I like experimenting with quinoa. I mean all the recipes on the blog are a proof of that. So this time around I added saffron to it and made Saffron Quinoa.

After that, I added nuts, raisins and cranberries to make it festive and perfect for the holidays!

This Saffron Quinoa

✔is easy to make in the Instant Pot.

✔makes a great vegan side dish for Thanksgiving.

✔is wonderfully fragrant from the spices.

✔one-pot dish and also gluten-free.

This recipe uses a lot of spices which makes it very fragrant. Add to it the crunch from the cashews and the sweetness from the raisins and cranberries and you have got yourself a very aromatic side dish.

Let’s see what all goes into this recipe.

Quinoa: starting with quinoa of course, I have used white quinoa here. You can use any quinoa you want.

I like to rinse the quinoa using a strainer for 1-2 minutes.

Saffron: the next important ingredient in this recipe is saffron which gives the dish that wonderful yellow color and also a nice aroma and taste.

Use a good quality saffron for that nice color and flavor. I have used Spanish saffron for this recipe. The saffron is added to warm water so that it’s color comes out nicely and it’s then added to the dish.

Whole spices: I have used a lot of whole spices in this recipe like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom.

These spices give the dish a wonderful aroma.

Nuts & Raisins: for the nuts, I have used cashews. You can use almonds too, they will work great.

For that sweetness I have used golden raisins and dried cranberries. You can use only raisins or only cranberries as well.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this as a side dish for the Holidays!

I actually ate it as such, didn’t really need anything else to go with it. But it will pair well with a side of cranberry chutney, apple chutney.

 

Method

1- Heat up 1/4 cup (2 oz) water in a pan, there’s no need to boil it but just warm it up. Then add 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands to it. Let it sit like that while you do the other steps. This will really bring out the color of the saffron nicely.

Also, rinse quinoa under a strainer for 1-2 minutes.

2- Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and then add cashews, raisins and cranberries to the pot.

Cook until cashews start turning light golden brown and raisins and cranberries plump up, stir often. This takes around 1-2 minutes.

3- Remove the roasted nuts and raisins in a bowl and set aside.

4- To the pot, now add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and then add the whole spices- cinnamon stick, bay leaf, green cardamom pods and cloves. Saute few seconds until the spices are fragrant.

step by step picture collage of making saffron quinoa

5- Then add the chopped onion and cook 2 minutes until onions softened.

6- Add the rinsed quinoa, remaining 3/4 cup (6 oz) water and the 1/4 cup (2 oz) prepared saffron water. Total liquid is 1 cup (8 oz). Add salt and stir.

7- Close the pot with the lid and press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.

8- Open the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

step by step picture collage of making saffron quinoa

Transfer saffron quinoa to serving plate. Top with the fried cashews, raisins, cranberries and serve!

plate full of saffron quinoa topped with nuts and raisins and spoons placed in the background

If you’ve tried this Saffron Quinoa Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Instant Pot Saffron Quinoa with Cashews & Raisins

plate of saffron quinoa topped with roasted cashews, raisins and cranberries
Manali
Saffron Quinoa with cashews, raisins and dried cranberries! An easy vegan and gluten-free side dish for the Holidays!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Sides
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 3 as a side

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup quinoa 185 grams, raw
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
  • 1 cup water 8 oz, divided
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil divided
  • 1/4 cup whole cashews raw, unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 whole green cardamom pods
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat up 1/4 cup (2 oz) water in a pan, there's no need to boil it but just warm it up. Then add 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands to it. Let it sit like that while you do the other steps. This will really bring out the color of the saffron nicely.
    Also, rinse quinoa under a strainer for 1-2 minutes. 
    saffron strands in water in a pan
  • Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and then add cashews, raisins and cranberries to the pot.
    Cook until cashews start turning light golden brown and raisins and cranberries plump up, stir often. This takes around 1-2 minutes. 
    Remove the roasted nuts and raisins in a bowl and set aside.
    cashews and raisins in a pot
  • To the pot, now add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and then add the whole spices- cinnamon stick, bay leaf, green cardamom pods and cloves. Sauté few seconds until the spices are fragrant.
    whole spices like bay leaves, cinnamon stick in a pot
  • Then add the chopped onion and cook 2 minutes until onions softened.
    chopped onion being sautéed in a pot
  • Add the rinsed quinoa, remaining 3/4 cup (6 oz) water and the 1/4 cup (2 oz) prepared saffron water. Total liquid is 1 cup (8 oz). Add salt and stir.
    quinoa with spices in a pot with water
  • Close the pot with the lid and press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.
    Open the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. 
    quinoa being fluffed with a fork
  • Transfer saffron quinoa to serving plate. Top with the fried cashews, raisins, cranberries and serve!
    cooked saffron quinoa topped with nuts and raisins

Notes

  1. Please note that the pressure cooking time is 2 minutes. But it does not mean that quinoa literally cooks in 2 minutes. The pot takes time to come pressure and then the pot takes 13-14 minutes to release the pressure naturally. All this is enough time for the quinoa to cook perfectly. 
Keyword saffron quinoa
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

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