Quinoa Lentil Pilaf | Thanksgiving Side Dishes

by Sasha


Sasha was gracious enough to share one of her delicious recipes and I think this is a fantastic dish for Thanksgiving. Vegetarians and vegans are often looking for main and side dishes that can go along with a traditional holiday meal, while non-vegetarians are often looking for a new dish that is a little out of the box. I love this dish because many of the side dishes on holidays are vegetarian, but not vegan. This dish is also a great source of fiber and protein!

1 TBSP olive or grapeseed oil
1 sweet onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 TBSP parsley (dry) or 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp turmeric
1 cup tricolor quinoa
2 cups of lentils cooked, drained
2 cups water
1 TBSP bouillon
2 pkt True Lemon or 2 tsp lemon zest

Sauté onion, celery, carrot in oil. Cook 10 minutes or till tender. Add rinsed quinoa, drained lentils, and the bell pepper. Add all seasoning and stir. Add water and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

All About Lentils

Lentils are commonly known as beans, but really more specifically they are legumes. Legumes are the dry pod-growing fruits in certain plants. As I did my research, I was surprised to find that other nuts and vegetables were in this family that most of us eat on a regular basis like peanuts, alfalfa and vanilla. There is much variety in the legume category. Lentils happen to be the only “bean” that does not need to be soaked before cooking. They cook fairly fast, but make sure you pick out all of the lentils that are broken or deformed in any way before cooking.

The commonly known Caribbean  dish “rice and peas” has more nutritional value that the two items served separately because serving this legume with a grain helps it to become a complete protein. This is of particularly great concern for those on a vegetarian diet. Lentils are also full of fiber and contain 80 to 90% of the folic acid needed in a day in just one serving.

Lentils can be used for soups, rice dishes, salads and even as a low -holesterol meat substitude. What I really love about lentils is how much color you can add to your dish because they come in just about every color in the rainbow spectrum. Eating is as much visual for us as it is about the aroma and flavor. Enjoy some lentils as soon as possible