Instant Pot™ Quinoa Pilaf with Peanuts
Instant Pot™ quinoa pilaf with peanuts is ready in just 30 minutes. Seasoned with lemon, fresh herbs, and exotic spices, this tart, spicy, crunchy pilaf is addictively delicious and nutritionally balanced. An easy vegan dish that will add spice to any menu!
This dish was inspired by fond memories of lazy weekend breakfasts in India. With just two small children at the time, my husband and I had the luxury of taking it easy on the weekend. Living in New Delhi, which is a fantastic food city, it could also mean going out to one of our favourite South Indian haunts for idlis (steamed dumplings with gravy) and dosas (crackly thin pancakes with savoury fillings). Otherwise, a quick kichdi or upma at home might be the flavour of the day!
Who doesn’t love a robust, late breakfast on a Saturday morning?! Nowadays, with a crew of teenagers and young adults at home, things are a little different. Adults and children trickle out of bed and into the kitchen. Everyone is hungry, relaxed, and in more of a mood to chill than to cook.
That’s okay. It’s a perfect time to toss some of our favourite flavours into the Instant Pot™, crank up the music, and enjoy one another’s company over a hot cup of coffee.
We all love a hearty, spicy breakfast, and this easy quinoa pilaf really hits the spot. It brings back warm fuzzy memories of those early days in our tiny Delhi kitchen. But, it’s a lot less labour intensive and a bit healthier!
All About Quinoa
Originally from the high mountain ranges of Peru and Bolivia, this nutrient dense “grain” is actually a seed. It is botanically related to both spinach and amaranth, and is very healthy.
This nutritious seed, which can be used like a grain in pilafs, porridges, salads, and more, is naturally gluten free. It’s also rich in protein. Moreover, quinoa is one of the rare edible plant species that contains sufficient quantities of all nine of the essential amino acids that must be supplied by food.
As if that weren’t enough, quinoa is also higher in both fibre and nutrients than most foods. It is a particularly good source of potassium, zinc, magnesium, and iron. Most of us don’t get enough of any of these minerals. So, that’s a real plus!
With nutritional benefits like these, quinoa is a seed we should all incorporate into our diets. Since it’s also very easy to prepare, eating more quinoa is a no-brainer.
To cook plain quinoa, simply combine quinoa and water in a 1:2 ratio (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water) in a saucepan set over medium heat. Within 15 to 20 minutes most of the water should be absorbed, leaving you with a light, fluffy, nutty “grain” to enjoy. Once you’ve mastered the basic cooking technique and become familiar with quinoa’s unique flavour and texture, you’ll easily adapt some of your favourite recipes to include this healthy grain substitute.
About this Recipe
I realise the number of seasonings in this recipe may sound like a lot. Or, you may not have fenugreek seeds and asafoetida in your pantry. If you don’t have these spices on hand and/or don’t want to invest in these two extra seasonings just for one recipe, I understand.
Please don’t let that stop you from trying this yummy quinoa dish! You can make quinoa pilaf quite successfully without fenugreek, asafoetida, or the toasted dals. However, the flavour of your pilaf will be more robust with these items — which is why I’ve included them.
The only trick — if you can call it that — to this dish is properly toasting the peanuts. I recommend you toast the peanuts while the Instant Pot™ is busy cooking the quinoa. That way, you can really focus on the nuts. They burn in a flash, if left unattended. So, take your time. Shake your pan regularly to keep the peanuts rolling about, until they give off a fragrant aroma and turn a rich golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes, which is a worthwhile investment for the boost in flavour!
I hope your family enjoys this tasty pilaf every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!