It's not often that I go back to get a third helping of a side dish in one dinner. And of all the side dishes to have multiple helpings, this kale and quinoa pilaf seems like a most unlikely candidate, too. But somehow, it just works. I mainly like kale in kale chips (so good) but I've been trying to branch out more. I came on this recipe on a whim when I realized I was out of brown rice and needed something else as a side dish. Steaming the kale in the quinoa makes it tender and mellows out the normally bitter flavor. The feta really makes the dish for me with its tangy, salty flavor (this might not be surprising, considering my last post was pretty much all about feta).
Another thing I love about this meal? It really works with whatever you've got around! I didn't have a lemon so I left out the zest and squeezed half a lime and sprinkled some red wine vinegar instead. I didn't have pine nuts so I used sliced almonds. I just totally omitted the scallions. If you don't have feta, goat cheese would probably be an excellent substitute.
Finally, this dish wasn't hard to put together: boil some water, cook some quinoa, throw in the kale and then add the rest of the ingredients to the same pot. We served this with some balsamic pork tenderloin and crusty bread.
Kale & Quinoa Pilaf
Taken from: One Hungry Mama
- 2 cups salted water
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 bunch kale, washed, ribs removed and chopped into 1" pieces
- zest of 1 lemon (I omitted)
- juice of 1 lemon, divided (I used half a lime and sprinkled with red wine vinegar instead)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or nut oil
- 1/4 cup crumbed feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (I used sliced almonds instead)
- 2 scallions, chopped, both white and green parts (I didn't have on hand so I omitted)
- salt and pepper
- Bring salted water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add kale to the pot, piling the leaves on top of the quinoa. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leaving the covered pot on the stove. Allow the kale and quinoa to steam for another 5 minutes. It’s done when all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa and kale are tender. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, add a little bit of water and steam longer.
- Fluff the quinoa and kale pilaf and add the zest, half the lemon juice, oil, feta, nuts and scallions. Toss to combine. Add remaining lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.