Traditional pilafs require rice, however today we will be making use of one of my favorite ancient grains: quinoa that we will be combining with cooked lentils. The end result is a heart-healthy dish that will feel and taste like it took hours to make. Gluten-free, clean eat, and vegan and vegetarian friendly, this is a side that can be eaten alone thanks to the high protein content of the lentils, or you can opt to add in any additional protein or vegetables of your choice!
To make this simple pilaf we’re going to need some dry lentils, (diced) onion, bay leaves, fine thyme, (sliced) garlic, salt, black pepper, diced carrots, stock or broth, quinoa, and coconut oil.
We’ll need two pots to complete this dish. Into the first pot we’ll add the lentils, herbs, carrots, black pepper and enough water to cover it all twice over.
In the second pot goes our stock or (if non-vegan or vegetarian consider using a bone broth) and quinoa. As an optional step, you can lightly toast your quinoa in a skillet on med-low heat until fragrant before boiling it to make this dish more of a traditional pilaf and to create a deeper layer of flavor.
After both the lentils and the quinoa are completely cooked, we’ll add the coconut oil to the lentils (allow it to rest for a minute or two after the coconut oil is mixed in) and then fold the cooked lentils and cooked quinoa together to create our glorious pilaf!
All that’s left is to plate up and serve and I guarantee you your guests will believe you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen for hours to prepare this fancy dish!
For non-vegetarians, consider pairing this dish with my Lemon Garlic Dill Salmon!
Quinoa and Lentil Pilaf
- Wash lentils and add them to a pot along with the carrots, thyme, bay leaf, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper. Add water (approx 2 cups) and bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce the heat, allowing the lentils to cook for 20 minutes until tender.
- In another pot add the rinsed quinoa and 1 3/4 cups of broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the quinoa, allowing it to cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the quinoa from the heat and allow to stand (still covered) for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add coconut oil to the lentils and fold in until all the lentils are coated. Let the lentils rest for a minute or two.
- Finally, add the quinoa to the lentils and fold both together until just combined.
- Serve immediately and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
- To make this dish more of an authentic pilaf, toast the dry quinoa over med-low heat until fragrant before boiling it in the broth. (If you opt to do this, skip the step of washing the quinoa).
- For non-vegans and non-vegetarians, the vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth or chicken bone broth.