Healthy Vegetable Quinoa Pulao with cauliflower, paneer, sweet corn, green peas and whole spices. A filling and nutritious gluten-free meal! Replace paneer with tofu to make it vegan.
Yesterday I was watching a video by Rujuta Diwekar, the famous nutritionist from India who firmly believes in the theory that you should eat local and you should also eat what you grew up eating. I kind of agree with her theory because honestly my body feels so much better when I stick to my dal, roti, rice and sabzi (veggies), basically what I grew up eating. It’s not that I eat Indian all the time, I most definitely don’t but my body definitely finds more comfort in my food. So in that video, Rujuta also talked in length about quinoa and how the world is going nuts over it! She said quinoa is from South America so who should eat it? People from South America of course! I think what she wanted to say was that it’s okay to eat it once in a while but on a daily basis you should eat your “own food”. Food for thought, isn’t it?
Anyway quinoa is definitely healthy and there are no 2 ways about it. I usually eat it in my salads but few months back I made quinoa pulao and it turned out really well, in fact it far exceeded my expectations! You may also refer to this dish as quinoa pilaf. But because I made it the Indian way, I will call it Quinoa Pulao, just what we call such dishes in India. The quinoa is cooked with lots of veggies, onion, tomato and whole spices.
Indians eat rice almost everyday and we are no exception. Here at my home in India, rice is there for lunch and dinner every day of the year! I don’t make it that often but still at least 2-3 times week is must. I have no problems with rice and I certainly don’t think it’s unhealthy. “Everything in moderation is fine”, has always been my theory so I most definitely didn’t make this vegetable quinoa pulao because I wanted to get rid of rice. I made this because I wanted to eat something different and replacing rice with quinoa seemed like a good idea. My hubby who isn’t a quinoa fan at all loved it! So I think now I can safely say that this recipe works and you must try it!
I have used some of my favorite veggies in this vegetable quinoa pulao like paneer, cauliflower, green peas and sweet corn. You can most definitely add whatever you like – mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, carrot etc. This recipe is all vegan except the paneer. So to make it completely vegan, just skip the paneer or replace it with tofu. We just happen to eat paneer a lot more than tofu and hence added that in this quinoa pulao.
As with most of my recipes, the spice levels aren’t much. I have used only 2 green chilies here. Please feel free to add more or add lot of cayenne pepper. This pulao gets most of it’s flavor from the whole spices that I have used – cardamom, bay leaf, peppercorn, cinnamon stick and cloves. These spices are used a lot in Indian cooking and they give the dish a wonderful flavor. Other than that I have kept the recipe simple with no addition of any dry spices. You may use little garam masala at the end, totally your choice.
This vegetable quinoa pulao tastes great with plain yogurt or with raita. My favorite is the mango mint raita – goes really well.
Check out more Quinoa Recipes on the blog!
Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add bay leaf, green cardamom, black cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves. Saute for 30 seconds till fragrant.
Add chopped onion and saute for 2 minutes.
Then add the crushed ginger-garlic-green chili and cook for a minute or so till the raw smell goes away.
Add chopped tomato and cook for 2 minutes or so.
Then add all the veggies – paneer, cauliflower, peas and corn. Also add salt.
Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes or till veggies are cooked.
Once the veggies are cooked, add the cooked quinoa.
Mix everything till well combined. Check salt at this point and adjust to taste.
Garnish the vegetable quinoa pulao with cilantro or mint and serve with a side of plain yogurt.
* Adjust spice levels to taste. Add some red chili powder/cayenne pepper or more green chili to make it spicier.
* Replace Paneer with Tofu to make it Vegan.
Vegetable Quinoa Pulao
- 2.5 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 teaspoons oil, I used avocado oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 green chili, crushed
- 1/2 inch ginger, crushed
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup paneer cubes
- 1/2 cup cauliflower florets, small
- 1/4 cup green peas
- 1/4 cup sweet corn
- salt, to taste
- juice of 1 lemon
- cilantro/mint, to garnish
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 black cardamoms
- 2 green cardamoms
- 2 cloves
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add bay leaf, green cardamom, black cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves. Saute for 30 seconds till fragrant.
- Add chopped onion and saute for 2 minutes.
- Then add the crushed ginger-garlic-green chili and cook for a minute or so till the raw smell goes away.
- Add chopped tomato and cook for 2 minutes or so.
- Then add all the veggies - paneer, cauliflower, peas and corn. Also add salt.
- Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes or till veggies are cooked.
- Once the veggies are cooked, add the cooked quinoa.
- Mix everything till well combined. Check salt at this point and adjust to taste.
- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and mix.
- Garnish with vegetable quinoa pulao with cilantro or mint and serve with a side of plain yogurt.
Vegetable Quinoa Pulao