{recipe} Family Food Find: One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

April 11, 2011

Kale Quinoa Pilaf

I don’t usually hop on the food trend bandwagon (sorry, no cookie stuffed cookies here), but I couldn’t resist this One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf from Food52 that everyone’s been buzzing about. Honestly, it had me at “one pot,” but then throw in two nutritionally dense ingredients, some cheese and a WHOLE lot of people in praise and it’s a no-brainer.

I bookmarked this recipe in February, but it’s taken until now to give it a go. With so much happening on Peko Peko (read an update here!), I’m especially desperate for quick and healthy dinners like this pilaf. And there’s nothing like desperation to motivate new solutions… and really put a recipe through the family dinner test.

How did this uber healthy pilaf fare?

Let’s just say that this recipe is family food gold. It’s way tastier than you think it’ll be. I’m even talking to you (three) people who think that plain steamed kale and quinoa sounds tasty. Seriously: this is Tasty with a capital “T.” Both of my kids gobbled it up, even the kale, which they usually find too tough. There’s something about the way it steams and cooks into the quinoa that makes it easier to manage than a side of wilted kale.

In addition to being delicious, it’s easy to make and turns into a power dinner served alongside simply prepared chicken or seafood — think a 10 minute saute or broil — or even just two fried eggs. I’ve made this twice already and doubled the second batch to have leftovers. I’d planned on freezing some, as well, but we ate it up before I could.

Do yourself a favor and bookmark this one. It’s brilliant.

PS: You know that Peko Peko update I mentioned? Here’s a teaser! Photo by Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life, one of our many brilliant contributors.
Peko Peko Udon

One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf, barely adapted from Food52
serves 2-4
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*

2 c salted water
1 c quinoa
1 bunch lacinato kale, washed, ribs removed and chopped into 1″ pieces
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 Tbsp walnut oil (you can substitute another nut oil or olive oil)
1/4 cup crumbed feta cheese
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)
salt and pepper

1. Bring salted water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add kale to the pot, piling the leaves on top of the quinoa. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leaving the covered pot on the stove. Allow the kale and quinoa to steam for another 5 minutes. It’s done when all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa and kale are tender. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, add a little bit of water and steam longer.

3. In the meantime, in a large serving bowl combine lemon zest, half of the lemon juice, oil, feta, pine nuts and scallions.

4. Fluff the quinoa and kale pilaf and add it to the bowl with the zest, juice, oil and other ingredients. Toss to combine. Add remaining lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

*Note: This healthful dish is great to share with first time eaters. Just be sure to puree to an age-appropraite consistency; you may need to add water. Also, be sure to use pasteurized feta cheese.

18 Responses

  1. danielle says:

    This sounds great – I’m bookmarking it and can’t wait to make it.

  2. Kelly says:

    This looks awesome – thank you! Can’t wait to try it. 😀

  3. Janet Nezon says:

    This looks amazing – just my kind of food! I love the beautiful rainbow of colours in your “teaser” picture as well. So glad I came upon your site 🙂

  4. danielle says:

    I wanted to let you know that I featured this on my weekly bookmarks post – stop by and check it out.

  5. Your so funny. I know what you mean about not getting cought up in the trendy foodie thing. I just have to be happy for all of these smart people who have discovered quinoa and made some fab dishes as a result.
    This one is gonna be a fav of mine, I just know it!
    Thanks for sharing. So glad to have found your blog.

  6. Kerrie says:

    I made this last night — SO delicious and ridiculously easy (prep and cleanup)!! I’m going to bake some of the leftovers in eggs to make muffin-tin frittatas for my toddler girls. Thanks so much for posting this!

  7. Liz says:

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! My son (11 months) enjoyed it too. My daughter, who is almost 3, didn’t like it but I think I used too much lemon juice. It was a little tart. I ate almost the whole batch! Thanks for a great recipe, I am definitely going to make this again.

  8. Sophia says:

    Quinoa is such an under-used grain, but I love it so much! This sounds like such a yummy dish!

  9. Malia says:

    Thank you! I’m working with what I have in my pantry and refrigerator so I’m wondering if I could make the following substitutions?

    Couscous for Quinoa?
    Almond slivers or sunflower seeds for Pine nuts?
    Leeks for Scallions?
    Provolone for Feta? I know…how do you substitute Feta??? right?? ha ha!

  10. malia – couscous is a good substitute, but will cook MUCH faster. In fact, I might cook the couscous separately and put them together in your big serving bowl (which would make this a 2 pot dish :-). also, couscous won’t offer you the same nutritional quality. how about barley? it takes longer to cook than quinoa, so you’d have to adjust the timing, but i bet it would taste great. as for the rest: almond slivers is a great choice and leeks, too. if you use leeks, though, add them in with the kale so that they cook a little. they are not easy to eat raw the way scallions are. chives are another option—you can do a straight substitute for scallions.

    ah, feta. you’re asking the wrong girl (I’m Greek, so there’s no suitable substitute!). provolone is not quite right. use something crumbly, like a cotija. i don’t like goat cheese, but i bet that work work nicely, a crumbly kind or even chevre.

    good luck!

  11. alyssa says:

    I must make this at least twice a month! SO easy, and SO healthy! Since I make it so often, I do have some substitutions.

    Malia- Almonds and goat cheese make this dish DIVINE. I use chevre, so the dish is even a bit sticky. It makes an excellent side dish for a fried egg, just a bit runny on top.

    I’ve even used orange in a pinch, when I don’t have lemons in the fridge. Orange, Kale, Craisins, walnuts, and goat cheese make the dish ever-so-fall.

    I just love all your practical and healthy recipes, OHM! Thank you for inspiring us all!

  12. Whitney says:

    This recipe rocked in our house tonight. Thanks so much for the post!

  13. One Hungry Mama says:

    LOVE IT, Whitney. Thanks for letting us know. (It’s so ridiculously good, right?!)

  14. jooooo says:

    OOOOOMG! this is SOOOO good!! i left out the pine nuts because i am allergic to them.. and i used coconut oil instead of walnut oil… other than that, I made this as written. it’s going to be a go-to for me, now. THANKS!!!

  15. @joooo so glad that you like this. isn’t it great?! it’s a go-to in our house, too. enjoy!

  16. Erin C. says:

    made this to go with dinner and it was really yummy. i used stock instead of water to cook the quinoa, half of the lemon juice and toasted walnuts [since pine nuts are a bit too expensive for a ‘normal’ dinner]. it had a really nice “bite” to it. next time i’ll just make sure i cut the kale smaller.

  17. One Hungry Mama says:

    Isn’t this a keeper? love this recipe – glad you tried it, erin!

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