Wholesomeness during the holidays is possible with my Healthy Brown Rice with Quinoa Pilaf with Carrots. It’s the perfect side dish for your next dinner. Made with long grain brown rice and tricolored quinoa, this combination is blended with cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup to give it a holiday touch. Like other quinoa recipes, you can also serve this as a main course.
Original Post: December 2022 | Updated Post: November 2023.
Why this recipe works
- In traditional pilaf, the rice is normally sauteed in butter. In my recipe, you will use olive oil and minimal salt.
- The recipe calls for chicken broth. However to make it vegan, swap that out for vegetable broth instead.
- This quinoa pilaf recipe goes great with roasted turkey or chicken, beef or seafood.
- Give yourself a meal prep upgrade! This a great change from having boring brown rice or plain quinoa every day for lunch.
Recipes to try with this dish: Easy Bison Meatloaf and Oven Roasted Boneless Chicken Thighs with Pumpkin Glaze.
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- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Long grain brown rice.
- Quinoa. I use tri-colored but any kind will work.
- Chicken broth. You will need 2 cups plus more as needed. To make this vegan, use vegetable broth instead.
- Sweet onion.
- Kosher salt. Sea salt works too.
- Black pepper.
- Cinnamon. This pairs well with the orange zest, nutmeg and maple syrup.
- Maple syrup. For a little sweetness.
- Orange zest. Orange zest gives a holiday touch along with cinnamon and nutmeg,
- Italian parsley.
How to make Brown Rice and Quinoa Pilaf with Carrots
1. In a large dutch oven pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add the brown rice, carrots and onion. Let cook for 7 minutes until onions start to sweat and rice starts to get toasted. Add a dash of salt, pepper and add the spices.
2. Add the quinoa and broth and give it a quick stir. Cover pot. When it begins to boil, turn down to low heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
3. Remove from the heat. Fluff quinoa and rice with a fork. Stir in the maple syrup and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Then add the orange zest.
4. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with fresh parsley.
5. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Serving suggestions or alternatives
A notable thing about a traditional rice pilaf is that it can be tailored to different occasions and versatile in the ingredients used.
My recipe is holiday inspired but other ideas are you can add in toasted almonds or pine nuts, dried fruit such craisins, go for a little kick and add red pepper flakes and a bay leaf. You can also use fresh sprigs of parsley or other herbs.
Other vegetables that would be good are mushrooms, celery or bell peppers.
Sweet onion just happens to be my onion of choice lately but you can use red or white onions just as well.
I use long grain brown rice and also tri- colored quinoa. You can substitute with a wild rice blend or a brown rice blend or use a white quinoa.
This dish can be made on the stove top in one pan. I use a Dutch Oven but a large skillet or a large stockpot can work as well.
The cooking time will vary but will be done in about 45 minutes. Brown rice usually takes a little longer to cook, especially on the stove top.
Chop carrots in under a minute by using a food processor on “chop” mode.
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Healthy Brown Rice and Quinoa Pilaf with Carrots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 cup brown rice long grain
- 1/2 cup quinoa I use tri-colored but any kind will work
- 2 cups chicken broth Plus more as needed. To make this vegan, use vegetable broth instead
- 1/2 sweet onion small diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and small diced
- salt as needed
- black pepper as needed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest about a 1/4 of small orange
- 1/4 cup italian parsley washed thoroughly and chopped
- In a large dutch oven pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add the brown rice, carrots and onion. Let cook for 7 minutes until onions start to sweat and rice starts to get toasted. Add a dash of salt, pepper and add the spices.
- Add the quinoa and broth and give it a quick stir. Cover pot. When it begins to boil, turn down to low heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from the heat. Fluff quinoa and rice with a fork. Stir in the maple syrup and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Then add the orange zest.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top with fresh parsley.
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