Quinoa pilaf with wild rice is a nourishing gluten free, vegetarian side dish. Make this slow cooker recipe with delicious, antioxidant-rich autumn vegetables like golden beets, cranberries, and more!
Ahhh the magic of a crock pot.. err slow cooker…err one pot wonder. You know what I’m sayin’, right? 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 cooking. This recipe is another one of the Fall glow salads that I love.
But this time, the glow comes from golden beets and some extra special vegetarian-style nourishment. The whole point of this dish is nourishment for your 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 do it when I make pumpkin quinoa porridge.
Well, you’re about to experience some awesome earthy nutty crock pot goodness with this slow cooker quinoa side dish.
Slow cooker quinoa pilaf with wild rice
Golden beats, broccoli, cranberries, shallots, and wild rice are all in this delicious dish. After it slow cooks, you toss it with a little feta and sunflower seeds.
It’s suitable for a side dish OR a meatless meal with plant protein. Or, 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
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.
How to make quinoa pilaf
- Add autumn veggies to the slow cooker.
Golden beets, broccoli, and cranberries have massive amounts of Vitamin C , and fiber to boot!
When you pair veggies that are rich in Vitamin C with iron-rich quinoa, it helps you absorb more of that plant based iron. It is one reason that I ADORE these protein bars too.
Feel free to add any of your favorite veggies to the pot. Heck, you can use this recipe as an excuse to empty out your produce drawer before the veggies go bad.
- Add quinoa and wild rice.
- Add spices and broth. Be sure to stir everything well to combine.
- Slow cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 5 hours. If you cook it on high and the grains are still chewy after two hours, you can turn it to high and give it another 15-30 minutes to cook.
- Garnish and serve. Sprinkle the pilaf with some crumbled feta or some sunflower seeds if you want to.
There ya go! Now you have a healthy holiday quinoa side dish or vegetarian main dish that is ready to serve and enjoy.
- If there is too much liquid half way through cooking, drain a few tablespoons of the liquid, then continue to cook a little longer. If quinoa is soaking up liquid too quickly, then add another ¼ to ¾ cup of broth.
- Out of cranberries? No problem, 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.
- Because different brands of slow cookers cook differently, the cooking times may vary. Just check on things halfway through the suggested cooking time.
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!
Y’all, 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!
What’s your favorite type of pilaf recipe?
More Plant Based Quinoa Recipes to LOVE