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Raved About Vegan Quinoa Pilaf with Caramelized Dates and Pistachios

I developed this recipe for one of my Crash Courses in Smarter Eating at Ryerson University. I brought the dish to a family dinner and received raved reviews…and so the requests continue. It’s about combining flavours provided by nature without the unnecessary processed sugars and salt. Not to mention, quinoa being a full protein laden whole grain goodness. Less than the cost of meat and a quick fix to “I have no groceries…what the hec do I make for dinner!!!!. Keep a box of quinoa in your pantry. Try adding 1 cup of chickpeas for additional bulk.

I received a comment from Marla about the recipe way back in April. You know… things, obligations, kids visiting, travel, paperwork… get in the way of what you really want to do… Anyhoo, better late than never…I decided to post it for Marla and you to enjoy too. Did I just rhyme??

Raved About Vegan Quinoa Pilaff with Caramelized Dates and Pistachios

Serves 2 (multiply quantities for the number of guests)

1 cup quinoa, cooked 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 thin slices of ginger, minced ¼ cup each of 3 types of vegetables (we used red bell pepper, zucchini, and pear) ¼ cup dried fruit (we used dates that we sautéed in olive oil until just crisp) ¼ cup nuts (we used pistachios)

  1. While quinoa is cooking, heat 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, and sauté dates until just crisp, remove to bowl

  2. In the same pan, sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in until soft

  3. If needed, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, add chopped vegetables to onion mixture and cook until just soft

  4. In the medium sized bowl with the dates, add sautéed vegetables with cooked, hot quinoa

  5. Add coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  6. Mix in pistachios and Fresh Lime Dressing

  7. Add zest from the lime in Fresh Lime Dressing to the pilaf and enjoy.

Fresh Lime Dressing

Zest the lime with a microplane (rasp) or small grater Squeeze the juice of one lime into the pilaff mixture Drizzle 1 teaspoon of an unrefined sweetener like honey, agave, or maple syrup Drizzle 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil Coarse Kosher Salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste

Cooking quinoa: (follow package directions) – usually ¼ cup quinoa to 1 ¼ cups boiling water (makes 4 cups cooked). Reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 12 minutes.

Take off the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.

Tip: Quinoa pilaf served as a side dish with fish or chicken is delicious. Vary the pilaf using your favorite vegetables, or by cooking the quinoa in vegetable or fruit juice or chicken, fish or vegetable stock instead of water.

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