This slow cooker quinoa pilaf with wild rice makes for a delicious gluten free, vegetarian meal or side dish! Slow cooked with autumn vegetables such as golden beets, cranberries, broccoli and more. A flavorful, healthy dinner recipe for the holidays or when you need to use up the vegetables in your fridge!
Ahhh the magic of a crock pot.. err slow cooker…err one pot wonder. You know what I’m sayin ya’ll. Whoever invited the crock pot is pure genius and I only wish I had invested stock in it in 198o. Okay I wasn’t born yet (1983 baby), but still. What would we do without that little pot of magic. Especially during the Holidays. We’d have to actually wait around the stove. Who has time for that? So I’d like to thank my crock pot for making me feel like an overachiever in the kitchen. Ahh…. the confident boost was needed. Haha. Kidding, kinda.
But I digress..
Back to magic and all things slow cookin. This Crock Pot Autumn Quinoa Pilaf is another one of my Fall glow salads I’m diggin lately. But this time, the glow comes from those golden beets and some extra special vegetarian style nourishment. The whole point of this quinoa pilaf dish is nourishment for that holiday table. Gluten free REAL food nourishment. Yep, and it’s impossibly easy, thanks to the crock pot.
Have you ever cooked quinoa in a slow cooker? I’ve done it once, with my pumpkin quinoa porridge. Well, today,you’re about experience some awesome earthy nutty crock pot goodness with this Autumn quinoa pilaf.
I combined it with the best veggies of the season ya’ll! Golden beats, broccoli, cranberries, shallots, and wild rice. One cooked, you toss it with a little feta and sunflower seeds. It’s definitely a plant strong quinoa pilaf suitable for a meal. And might I add, an awesome vegetarian dish to add to your holiday table.
Okay, but here’s the thing about quinoa and wild rice that you might not know. And will get you super excited to make AND eat this slow cooker quinoa pilaf!
Nutrients in Wild Rice and Quinoa Pilaf
Wild rice is a grass. Yes, a grass. the seed of long-grain marsh grass. Quinoa is also a “pseudo-grain,” which means it comes from seeds and grasses.
Do you see where I’m going with this? PLANT BASED perfection all in one quinoa pilaf dish. When quinoa and wild rice are slow cooked or soaked, it’s easier to digest and really absorb those nutrients. Remember my phytates talk with that detox bowl? Yep, same concept there.
Okay, so let’s get to some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G facts about quinoa and wild rice . Are ready to feel all healthy and schtuff?
- Rich in lysine (an essential protein) and B vitamins.
- Protein rich (plant based protein)
- Rich in folate! Now remember, that’s different that folic acid. Folic Acid is the synthetic form. Folate is the real deal and found in plant based foods.
Quinoa is equally amazing!!
- Excellent source of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins to name a few.
- It’s also a complete protein. Which means it has all the 9 essential amino acids our bodies need.
Let’s not forget the other crazy good autumn vegetables I packed in this dish. Golden beets, broccoli, and cranberries. Think Vitamin C x 100! And fiber to boot! When you pair Vitamin C rich veggies with iron rich quinoa, it helps you absorb more of that plant based iron. Why I ADORE these protein bars too.
Today I’m using Better BodyFoods tricolor organic quinoa in this quinoa pilaf.
Yes, this beauty white, red, and black ancient grain is the perfect combination of taste and texture. And as mentioned above, it packs in some MAJOR plant based protein.
Now, when you combine it with it’s cousin, wild rice; and plant based neighbors, Autumn veggies, you get one MAJOR nutrition packed quinoa pilaf TRIFECTA! Excuse the run on sentence and excitement.
Okay, let’s layer up those pilaf ingredients and get crockin. Aka crock pot cookin.
How to Make Slow Cooker Quinoa Pilaf
Throw in some spices, broth, and bam! Your holiday slow cooker quinoa pilaf side dish or vegetarian main is served!
This slow cooker quinoa pilaf with wild rice makes for a delicious gluten free, vegetarian meal or side dish! A healthy dinner recipe for the holidays!
For the Crock Pot/Slow Cooker:
- 2 golden beets (chopped, sliced) if you don’t have golden beets, then regular beets or squash work too
- 1 shallot or red onion (1/3 cup chopped)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup chopped broccoli (to be added last)
- 3/4 cup wild rice (see notes for substitutes)
- 1 1/4 cup quinoa ([url] Better Body Foods Quinoa ∞https://www.betterbodyfoods.com/product/organic-quinoa/[/url])
- 2 1/4 to 3 cups broth
- 1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt and pepper (adjust to your taste and sodium content needed)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp dry herb season mix of choice. (I used a[url] Mediterranean Spice Blend ∞http://amzn.to/2esZbOU[/url])
- 3 tbsp orange juice
Ingredients to add after the quinoa pilaf is cooked:
- 1 cup feta crumbles (5oz)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds (roasted or raw)
- 1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
- salt/pepper to taste
- extra dried cranberries to mix in if desired.
- 1/2 cup or so of fresh basil or parsley
- clean, chop, and prep your vegetables. Place vegetables (minus the broccoli), quinoa, wild rice, broth, fresh cranberries, and seasoning in crock pot. Pour your broth and orange juice on top and mix thoroughly.
- Important Note: each slow cooker works differently. If you don’t want your broccoli overcooked, please add it the last half hour of cooking versus at the beginning. If you want it more cooked add the broccoli with the rest of the vegetables at the beginning.
- Place on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or low for 5 hours. Check half way and mix ingredients in pot with spoon. see notes for if pilaf is too dry or too wet halfway through cooking
- Quinoa should be fluffy once done. The wild rice will still be a little al dente.
- Remove and place all contents in a large bowl.
- Mix in the remaining pilaf ingredients: Seeds, feta, dried cranberries, and any extra fresh raw vegetables you might want to use up.
- Add salt, pepper, and any other spices desired and mix again.
- Top with fresh herbs.
- Serve immediately or store in fridge (covered) until ready to serve.
- If there is too much liquid half way through cooking, drain a few tbsp and cook a little longer. If quinoa is soaking up liquid too fast, then add a 1/4 to 3/4 cup more broth.
- If you don’t have cranberries, you can use any other berry. Just don’t slow cook them. Add them fresh afterwards.
- If you don’t have wild rice, brown rice should work. It won’t be the same texture as wild rice though.
- * crockpot cooking times may vary* so keep a close check halfway through suggested cooking time
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 236
- Sugar: 3.4g
- Sodium: 291.6mg
- Fat: 8.3g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 32.3g
- Fiber: 4.2g
- Protein: 9.2g
- Cholesterol: 14.8mg
Keywords: quinoa pilaf, slow cooker quinoa, healthy side dishes
Tip: Save some extra raw veggies and cranberries to toss on top after. It gives this quinoa pilaf a little extra crunch and tartness. I spiralized my other portion of golden beets, just for the heck of it, then added it on top. LOVE!
Ya’ll, this dish gets a gold star. Ahem… golden beets and all! Sorry, corniness slipped in.
When was the last time you made quinoa? Ever tried it with other grains in a crock pot? HOP to it!
This delicious quinoa pilaf recipe post is sponsored by my friends over at Better Body Foods! Thank you for allowing me to share their wonderful products and talk about this caring company.
What’s your favorite type of pilaf recipe?
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