Spiced Chicken Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa is a delicious grain, which is a great substitute for rice in dishes. The following dish I made for dinner, I just played around with the spices and added to my liking, so please feel free to do the same. I’m a big fan of cumin and cinnamon, so generally tend to add more of this in place of say the fennel seeds, so basically add spices according to your taste. I don’t really enjoy TOO spicy dishes, but if you did, you could add 1/2 tsp ground turmeric and/or a fresh green chilli, according to taste of course. Hope you enjoy the dish, I found it to be really enjoyable, of course play around with vegetables and what not and adjust to your likings or allergies.


Spiced Chicken Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 6 (about 500g) chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp  ginger
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups (380g) quinoa (mix of red, black and white), rinsed
  • 4 cups (1 litre) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (150g) fresh or frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup (80g) toasted pine nuts
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • half a sweet potato, chopped
  • 150 grams spinach leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add half the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until brown all over. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat in another batch with remaining chicken. P
  2. Add onion to pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens and begins to brown. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add quinoa, stock, carrot, sweet potato and chicken; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Add frozen green beans, stir through on heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Scatter spinach leaves over quinoa mixture. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. Add toasted pine nuts; gently toss until just combined.
  3. Spoon the pilaf among serving plates.

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