Quinoa Pilaf


A note about the presentation of food: Prior to starting this blog, I didn’t give all too much thought to the aesthetic appeal of my plate unless I was dining with company. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that good quality takes a bit of mindfulness. I remember being on vacation with my family a few years ago in New Hampshire. It was probably one of the last years where all twelve children were present. My dad came up with the idea of doing a cook-off every night. The kids were divided into two teams, and for about 4 nights we had to cook dinner for everyone. We could prepare anything we liked as long as both teams used the same elements for the main dish, the starch, and the vegetable (a true American dinner plate balancing act). The judges were my parents, my uncle, and my grandmother. We were graded on taste, creativity and presentation. We learned a lot about the importance of all three aspects, as we lost points if our delicious dinners looked like sludge or lacked color, or if our beautifully presented plates were subpar on the taste buds…or if we always opted for familiarity instead of exploring outside the boundaries of our culinary comfort zones. It was a memorable, fun and educational experience. Although in my case, I distinctly remember my younger brother taking over our whole team and barely trusting me to so much as crack an egg. Oh well.

In any case, a little touch, be it as simple as the addition of a placemat, goes a long way. Food offers itself as one of the chief pleasures of life if it is treated as such. Or so I am learning. The ritual of mealtime is utterly ordinary, and yet it is the very thing that brings friends and family together and often becomes the medium that binds us to each other. Of course Mary Fisher (who I realize is rapidly becoming the muse here) has something to say on this: “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it…and then the warmth and the richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied…and then it is all one” (excerpt from the Forward to The Gastronomical Me).   If, in the busyness of our days, we can be a bit more mindful of all the invisible yet sacred things taking place in the tedium of the ordinary, and honor them, our lives will be all the better for it.

I meant to write about quinoa but got off-topic.

Quinoa Pilaf


1 1/4 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 medium onion
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp thyme

Pour the water into a medium size pot and add the quinoa. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, and then add the diced tomatoes, undrained. Stir in the oregano and thyme. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes. Chop the peppers and onions and saute using the olive oil. When they are just beginning to brown, add the garlic and salt. Stir for 5 minutes, then add everything to the pot of quinoa. Let it simmer on low for around 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is soft and most of the moisture is absorbed. Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “Quinoa Pilaf

  1. Sounds good. An easy, simple, delicious dish. I’ve just started eating Vegan and am struggling a bit at the moment, but I’ll give this one a try. I so agree with you that making the effort to be mindful about your meal is what makes it. Thank you for sharing.

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