Fennel Quinoa Pilaf

Here is your grain and vegetable side dish all in one. With Mediterranean-influenced flavours it’s a perfect pairing for a barbecued marinated roast or steak, or garlicky-marinated beef kabobs.
Yield 6 Servings Prep. Time 15 min Cooking Time 30 min Total Time 45 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary (or ¼ tsp/1 mL crumbled dried rosemary)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) EACH salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) grated orange or lemon zest
  • 3 cups (750 mL) baby spinach
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese


Follow these cooking methods/directions: 1. Trim feathery fronds from fennel bulb; coarsely chop and set aside for garnish. Trim off thick stalks from bulb and discard. Cut bulb in half lengthwise and trim out tough core. Place bulb halves cut side-down and cut crosswise into thin slices.  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add shallots and fennel; cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until fennel starts to soften. Add red pepper, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until pepper is softened.  3. Stir in quinoa. Pour in 2 cups (500 mL) water and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat.  4. Sprinkle in orange zest and spinach; fold in gently with a spatula. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes until spinach is wilted. Stir Parmesan into pilaf and garnish with reserved fennel fronds.