Vegan Quinoa Chickpea Pilaff

by on November 26, 2012

Quinoa is all the rage now, and so are quinoa salads and pilaffs. There are hundreds of ways to season quinoa and you don’t have to just eat it plain on the side. If you find cooking quinoa properly still a challenge, check out my post How To Cook Quinoa Perfectly to make sure your next batch turns out amazing.

This time I decided to mix things up and make my quinoa a little different. A heartier side filled with chickpeas, carrots, onions and celery. This would work as a warm side dish, a cold salad, or you can make it a meal by adding some sautéed tofu, tempeh or soy curls on top as well.

To get those pretty colours I used both white and red quinoa in this dish. Feel free to use either, I just like the look of multicoloured quinoa for some variety. This recipe makes a lot so it’s great for leftovers you can keep in the fridge or freezer for a quick meal or snack later on as well.

Quinoa Chickpea Pilaf

Serves 6


1 1/2 cups quinoa (I used 1 cup white and 1/2 cup red)
3 cups/709.76 ml low sodium vegetable broth
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 15 oz./425g can of chickpeas
2-3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or GF tamari)
2 tsp roasted cumin (ground)
1/2 tsp roasted coriander (ground)
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (or other salt free seasoning mix) *optional


1. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery in 1/2 cup of broth for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute and add the chickpeas.

2. Add remaining broth to a medium pot, quinoa, seasonings and saucepan ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low (about 3 on the burner) and cook covered for 25 to 30 minutes until quinoa is cooked. (If you put it on very low, or 1, it probably won’t have enough heat to cook the quinoa because of the other ingredients.)

3. Stir as required to prevent sticking at the bottom.

4. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Have you ever had a quinoa pilaff? What’s your favorite way to season quinoa?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sharon October 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I loved this receipe the first time I tried it. I thought something was missing. So today I cooked a package of organic green peas and stirred them into the cooked pilaf. Not only was the dish visually appealing but added an additional layer of flavor.


2 Lizzie September 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

I just got my first email from your site after I signed up. The quinoa dish looks great! I especially like your site for the topic and also the “clean print” option – totally cool.

Thank you Veronica Grace! I- is that your real name? .


3 Veronica Grace October 14, 2014 at 11:03 PM

? Yes this is my name.


4 Alicia September 15, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Wonderful recipe as always. I am always looking
For new quinoa recipes. You ought to do a quinoa
Recipe book. That would be great!!!


5 linda July 23, 2014 at 6:23 AM

Hi Veronica, I like to make my quinoa in my rice cooker. Turns out great. Before starting the cooking process in the rice cooker, I saute or steam my vegetables with garlic and onions etc then I place them with the quinoa and plug in my rice cooker and in no time they are done.


6 Dee April 17, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Hiya! Thanks for this post – I was lucky enough to find this on a google search. I’ve done the recipe word for word & so far so amazing! I tasted the broth before covering (thinking I may have to add salt/extra spices) — but it was perfect (I like things really flavorful) but it was truly great!

Waiting the 30 or so minutes for it to cook (which I’m still surprised about? I thought maybe 20 at most but ill keep an eye on it) right now but I’m excited !! Thanks again!

PS – extra points for adding the “burner 3” setting – no one ever does!! And unfortunately I don’t know how to interpret “medium high/low” – you’re fantastic!!


7 Kev April 2, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I made this as my vegan offering for an Easter meal. The people there loved it, went back for seconds and asked for the recipe. This was quick and tasty. I had never used roasted seasonings other than paprika. Nice touch. Thanks again!


8 Teresa de Souza November 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Hi , my dear Veronica ! I couldnt come to Your emails , once I ‘ ve been Sick . No Strengh .
I will , this Weekend . Thank You !

I have been looking for Food inside of a Budget of 3 $ a Day – as ‘ Upper Cealing ‘ – and I have been Sick , specially the Last Days , out of what I have chosen , once this Food is not Heaslthy to Me .
I miss VEGETABLES ! But I will go on on trying to find the Right Menu on 2 $ a Day .
I loose my Light without the Vetetables , specially Raw ! They are so Expensive !

So , this is just to say that , I agree , with the Stuffed Tomatoes . Its much better . You are Right .
The Raw Tomato nowadays , is full of Chemicals , so , its Swallen . Nobody knows , but this is the True . Tomatoes were in the Past , were smaller , but Beautiful and Healthy .

So , I think if You have them stuffed it will be Better .

I will come back to You this Weekend !

Lots of Love ,



9 Barbara Lowell November 28, 2012 at 8:31 AM

I am wondering why you use the word saute when there is only liquid you are using. Isn’t this the same as steam? Am I missing something perhaps?


10 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica November 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Saute just means fry briefly over high heat. It’s just stir frying the onions. Many people use the word saute even though they aren’t using any oil.


11 Teresa de Souza November 27, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Thank You , my dear V eronica . Well , I would start in a another way … I love Tomatoes and Chilies . So they would be added at first to the Brown Quinoa , already half-cooked . Then I would add the Onions , as You say here above and Garlic . The White Colour , which is mine , goes very well with the Red of Tomatoes and Chilies . And the Brown of Quinoa . I love how the Food looks like . The Beauty of it . ‘ … the Eyes eat together with Us … ‘ , as One says here in Germany . And goes to the Heart .
Then , I would add diced Carrots . The Combination of Red Pigments ( Princess ) and Yelow Pigments ( Prince ) which results in the Carrots Colour , would give a Light Romantic Touch . So , the Meal would look Light , not Messy . This Combination of Colours in a Meal is a known Symbolic Expression of Feelings and Health . Then , Celery and Peas . The Green which gives so much Strengh and Hope .

But I will do everything as You say above . Including the Quantity . As You say . The Broth anyway .
Only the Order of adding the Elements – Nutrients – is Different .
The Spices , finally , at the End . Also , as You say above .

Th an k You , dear V eron ic a . You are G rea t . This Recipe will be also in my Archive .

Best ,



12 Adrienne November 27, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Most of my meals start with garlic, onions and mushrooms and my quinoa pilaf is no different! After that, I add whatever vegetables I have in the fridge and a can of whatever beans I have in the pantry! Try stuffing it into a roasted red pepper! Yummy!


13 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica November 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Oh that sounds delicious. I once had quinoa stuffed tomatoes at a vegan restaurant, and they were delicious. I don’t really like plain tomatoes, but any stuffed vegetable with seasoned rice or quinoa makes a great entree. 🙂


14 Teresa de Souza November 27, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Yes , I do start , also , most of my Meals , with Garlic , Onions and Muschrooms., Adrienne !
The WHITE Colour , which is Mine – Symbol to my Soul , the many Pigments of my Skin and the ‘ Snow White ‘ , are my Symbols – is an Amazing and Magical Basis to start a Meal .

Best ,



15 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica November 27, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Are you doing Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live program?


16 Rebecca November 27, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Thanks to you, I can finally prepare quinoa perfectly every time. Love the recipe posts, I really enjoy discovering what you have to share. BTW Very happy with the Comfort Soup book I purchased. 🙂 Keep doing what you do!!


17 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica November 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Thanks Rebecca, that’s awesome! I hope you enjoy the soups too. 🙂


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