Quinoa Pilaf with Walnuts and Dried Cherries

This is my favorite way to make quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a great substitute for rice and better for you! Not a grain, it is actually the seed of a plant related to Swiss chard, full of protein, potassium, magnesium and iron. The black pepper and ground thyme star in this great dish. Cook’s note;  I have made this quinoa pilaf with fresh thyme, dried thyme leaves (as pictured) and ground thyme. The ground thyme gives the most flavor. If using fresh or dried leaves, add more.

Try this dish and see if you don’t add it as a go-to favorite to always have in the fridge, delicious hot or cold.

Quinoa Pilaf with Walnuts and Dried Cherries


Quinoa Pilaf with Walnuts and Dried Cherries
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a great side dish or makes a delicious lunch or snack all on its own. Serve warm, room temperature- it's even better cold! If you can find dried cherries, they are better than the cranberries because they're not overly sweet, but cranberries are still tasty. Or to make this dish even lower in sugar, omit the dried fruit altogether.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Healthy
Serves: 6
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1⅛ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground Thyme
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  1. Heat oil in nonstick Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  2. While onion is cooking, rinse quinoa in sieve.
  3. Add the quinoa to the onion in Dutch oven. Stir in salt, black pepper and thyme. Stir in boiling water. Cover, and gently boil for 10 minutes until the water is mostly absorbed. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has all been absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in cherries and walnuts. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled (my favorite). You may omit cherries if you’re wanting to cut the sugar grams down even more and it will still be delicious!

Adapted from Cooking Smart For A Healthy Heart Cookbook

Simple Share Buttons