Spiced Black Quinoa and Du Puy Lentil Pilaf with Cumin-Ginger Vinaigrette

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Spiced Black Quinoa and Du Puy Lentil Pilaf with Cumin-Ginger Vinaigrette

Pilaf is a term liberally used to simply mean “grains cooked in broth.” There are usually onions, garlic, and spices involved, and the grains are often sautéed in butter or oil before being simmered in the liquid. This getaway-friendly version calls for dried spices instead of fresh, which you can combine in advance to save space in your bags and time in your cooking. Feel free, though, to add fresh diced onions, garlic, or other vegetables if you prefer.

Toasting tips 

To toast sunflower seeds, in small saucepan or skillet, heat seeds over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned and aromatic. Remove seeds immediately from the pan so they don’t burn.
Many variations for ultimate flexibility 

Don’t be afraid of the long ingredient list. You can skip pretty much any of the spices––except the salt––or replace them with others that you have on hand, such as parsley, thyme, or paprika. You can also use white or tri-coloured quinoa instead of black; the dark colour gives the dish a more dramatic visual effect.




1 1/2 cups (350 mL) black quinoa

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) du Puy lentils

6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable broth

1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground coriander

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin

1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger

1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon, or 1 cinnamon stick

3 Tbsp (45 mL) sunflower seeds, toasted (see Tip)

1/4 cup (60 mL) minced fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)

Cumin-ginger vinaigrette 

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground ginger

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground coriander

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cumin

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (60 mL) dried cranberries, chopped (or barberries, raisins, diced figs, or diced dates)

Zest and juice of 1 orange, about 1/4 cup (60 mL) juice

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) black pepper

1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil


For pilaf, in medium bowl, soak quinoa at room temperature in 4 cups (1 L) water.

In large pot, rinse and drain lentils, then return lentils to pot and add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, skimming any scum that rises to top, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain quinoa and add to pot with lentils and broth along with coriander, cumin, ginger, garlic powder, bay leaf, salt, and cinnamon. Return to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Leave covered for 10 minutes.

For vinaigrette, in sealable jar, combine ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, dried cranberries, orange zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Shake to combine. Add olive oil and shake for 20 seconds more to emulsify. Pour over quinoa and lentils and fluff with fork to combine. Top with sunflower seeds and fresh parsley, if using.


Each serving contains: 365 calories; 18 g protein; 7 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 59 g total carbohydrates (7 g sugars, 19 g fibre); 348 mg sodium




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