Recipes / Salads / Sides

Of Quinoa Pilaf and Pronunciation

Yeah, so turns out that I have been pronouncing “quinoa” like a rube and not like the well-heeled food aficionado that I should be. Apparently, it is not pronounced as mighty “quinn-o-a” which is how I’ve been saying it hither and yon, but more like “keen-wa” or in some circles “kee-NO-aa.” I feel like Whole Paycheck should at least post the proper prononciation for these trendy foods on the bulk bins, or at the very least have their staff correct me before I parade around with my plebeian phonetics. In any case, I have taken quite a fancy to “keen-wa” (you may recall my Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew) and kinda wish that I wouldn’t have to trek out to Whole Paycheck to get it. Although even now that I am typing this I am remembering seeing a health food store hidden around a corner off Washington Avenue which may carry it. Hmm. Maybe they will help me with pronunciation.

In any case, while cleaning out my cupboards I came across a cup of quinoa leftover from an earlier recipe and decided to make a nice vegetable pilaf with it to offset all of the junk food that I have been making lately. I found a recipe that sort of fit my cravings and whipped up a batch of Quinoa Pilaf with Peppers and Asparagus.

The nice thing about quinoa is that, much like couscous you can eat it at any temperature, which made this dish ideal for the Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park last night. BTW, you should go check out the production of Taming of the Shrew going on until June 19th. It’s another great opportunity for St. Louisans to sit outside and drink and eat. And lets be honest, if it isn’t thunderstorming, tornadoing or humidifying around here it’s time to get your ass outside. And drink.

My quinoa pilaf worked out perfectly for a picnic in the park, and along with some leftover bread, the rest of the asparagus (roasted) and a bottle of champagne I found in the back of the fridge – all of which made for a very tasty meal. Not to mention all of the goodies brought by our friends as well including some wonderful curry, sandwiches and cookies. Yum.

The trick with this quinoa recipe is to not overcook the vegetables. And you can pretty much choose whatever vegetables you like. The original recipe called for golden beets (which I couldn’t find) and I felt that red beets would overwhelm the color. But you can certainly put just about anything in there.


Quinoa Pilaf with Peppers and Asparagus

Loosely adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2010


1 3/4 Cups of Vegetable or Chicken Stock, low sodium
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, or a big pinch of kosher salt
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed three times
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow zucchini squash, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 green onions, chopped
Handful of parsley, chopped

Bring your stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add in quinoa, reduce heat to low and cook until stock is absorbed and quinoa is soft and tender. Fluff with a fork, cover and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add in the rest of the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables are just tender, 8-10 minutes. It’s better to undercook the veggies at this stage to maintain crispness. Right as the vegetables are nearly done, toss in the green onion and parsley for a minute or two. Carefully fold the quinoa into the vegetables, taking care not to crush or break up the vegetables, then remove from the heat. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold. Makes a wonderful and light main dish for two, or a side for 4-6.


  • natalie (the sweets life)
    June 14, 2011 at 9:20 am

    It took me awhile to nail the pronunciation…and even after I did, I still hesitate from time to time! 🙂

    Saw Shakespeare in the Park on Saturday and thought it was one of their better productions over the past few years! Next up is the music festival at the Botanical Gardens. I’m all about the picnics!

  • Ericka
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Mmm, I love quinoa. So versatile, so tasty.

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    June 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Dierberg’s carries it in the bulk bin! Also, I’m pretty sure I saw a packaged version at Schnuck’s. I get it super cheap at Dierberg’s bulk bins!

    I also pronounced it wrong for far too long. I still say it wrong in my head!

  • Corey
    March 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I’m making this for dinner tonight. KEEN WAH FTW

  • caryn (STLVegGirl)
    May 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Really great recipe. I’d sub chicken stock for veg or maybe even mushroom which would give it a real earthy flavor. Thanks for posting. Your photography is incredible!

    • ShootToCook
      May 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks! Yes, this is one of my favorites and is super easy too. I almost always use chicken stock now since that’s what I usually have around but mushroom sounds awesome too. Thanks for the suggestion!


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