Curried Quinoa and Carrots Pilaf

Curried Quinoa and Carrots Pilaf

Are you eating plain, boiled quinoa? What’s wrong with you? Put your fork down, right now, and make this recipe!

I could say that this is my favourite recipe of all time, but that would be hyperbole (do you know that I once pronounced that as, hyper-bowl? My boyfriend laughed so hard at me!).

This recipe is, without doubt, a delicious take on the traditional bulgur pilaf. The combination of carrots, quinoa, curry, and sesame oil make this dish somewhat sweet. The combination of quinoa and the vegetables makes for a satisfying and filling side dish. This is a healthy, high-carbohydrate dish for when you need extra energy in the form of starchy carbohydrates – like after a bout of intense exercise.

For some reason I forgot to add ginger to my curried quinoa and carrots pilaf, which means I also don’t have images for that (whoops!). It’s simply one more ingredient that adds another layer of flavour and opens up the palette. I find that fresh ginger brings a “freshness” to a dish. Prepare about a tablespoon of finely chopped, fresh ginger and add it to the dish at the same time as the carrots.

Pilaf is a Middle Eastern or Indian dish made of rice or wheat, vegetables, and spices. It’s typically made with added meat or fish. While there’s no meat in this recipe, it pairs well with any protein meal. You could substitute quinoa for bulgur, but the pilaf wouldn’t taste as sweet.

You could certainly turn the curried quinoa and carrots pilaf into a vegetarian meal. I’d suggest adding chic peas and cubed firm tofu (when you add the carrots). For garnish, and to increase protein and healthy fats, add some almonds or walnuts to the pilaf once it’s fully cooked.

Quinoa is a gluten-free super-food. It’s actually a seed and not a grain (although it’s often label and categorized as a grain). If you’d like to learn more, click this link for an article about the history and health-benefits of quinoa.

A final note – if you’ve never bought quinoa don’t be shocked by the price. It’s not cheap and will probably cost about $10 per pound. The bag of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa shown in the recipe below, cost about $15 at my local grocery store.

Eat well to be well.


Curried Quinoa and Carrots Pilaf

Tools Needed: Deep sauce pan or pot, cutting board, sharp knife, citrus juicer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups Filtered water
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 medium white or Spanish onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed
  • 4 cups large carrots about 4 large carrots grated
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 whole lime
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • freshly ground pepper and sea salt


  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic.
    diced onion
  2. Wash the jalapeño, slice in half, remove the top, all of the seeds, and slice thinly.
    jalepeno cut in half
  3. In a large sauce pan (or deep pot), add the sesame oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cover and cook over over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  4. When the onions are translucent and browning slightly, add the quinoa and water. Turn the burner to high and bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the quinoa is heating up to a boil, peel the carrots and cut off the bottom ends. Grate the carrots down to the carrot top, which you can now discard.
    Grated Heirloom Carrots
  6. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the lime in half.
    cherry tomatoes cut in half
  7. When the quinoa has come to a full boil, stir and then add the carrots, tomatoes, olive oil, curry, salt and pepper. Juice the lime directly into the pot. Return to a boil, stirring the entire time.
  8. Reduce the temperature to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, covering the pot with a lid. Use a wooden spoon and stir along the bottom of the pot every 10 minutes to prevent sticking.
  9. When the water appears to be mostly absorbed, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the jet, covered, for another 20 minutes to completely absorb any remaining liquid.
    Curried Quinoa and Carrots Pilaf

Recipe Notes


This dish works perfectly well made with brown, wild or basmati rice, buckwheat (all gluten-free), or bulgur (not gluten-free).