Simple, fresh ingredients make up this plant-based Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf with Crunchy, Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas. It’s a light, flavorful springtime dinner!
This Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf with Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas just sings springtime to me. I know, despite it being spring, parts of the country are still experiencing regular snowfall, but make this warm dish and know that warmer days are on their way!
Spring for many often coincides with a shift from craving warm dishes, like stews and casseroles, to lighter fare full of seasonal produce that is starting to become more bountiful. A dish like this Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf transitions well, because it utilizes spring-fresh produce, but is still a warm and cozy meal.
Quinoa is one of my personal favorite grains of choice. Technically, it’s a seed, but is often used as a grain. And while it’s certainly not “low carb” if that’s something you look for, it’s slightly higher in protein content than other grains. What’s really special about quinoa is that the protein it does have contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (much like the protein in animal sources). Many vegetable-based protein sources often offer a partial amino acid profile, but not a complete picture of all essential amino acids, so you can see why quinoa is pretty special!
Inside my Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf I used a zucchini, carrots, and asparagus, but you can certainly use whatever produce you have on hand or prefer. I know zucchini isn’t usually thought of as a spring vegetable, but I live in Florida and local zucchini are abundant at the moment!
Other types of spring vegetables you could try that would be delicious would include:
- broad beans
- radish (I know this may seem like an odd choice, but if you’ve never tried roasted or cook radishes, they offer a more mellow, juicier twist; try my Roasted Radish Rosemary Hummus while you’re at it!)
Get creative with it! And speaking of creative, I like to get creative with adding textures to meals for more variety and more satisfaction. Enter: turmeric roasted chickpeas! It gives a great crunch, and packs some more fiber and protein, but if chickpeas aren’t your thing you can totally change it up.
You guys know I’m all about making nutrition fit your lifestyle and your needs, so I always like to include suggestions for substitutions and other variety to try to inspire ways to make these recipes your own. Other ways you can make this Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf your own?
- Vary the herbs: I just grabbed some fresh parsley and fresh green and purple basil from my backyard, but you can use whatever herbs you prefer. Try fresh oregano, chives, dill, and even fresh mint goes lovely in a springtime dish! You can even use all of one herb if you please, too.
- Sub the grain: Not a quinoa fan? This recipe template works well with other grains, too. Try your favorite rice, or get adventurous with other grains like freekeh, buckwheat, millet, or barley.
- Change up the veg: Use any of the other spring time veggies I shared above, or even go to your farmer’s market and stroll around to see what looks good!
- Go extra: keep the crunchy, roasted turmeric chickpeas or don’t! You can add seeds or nuts instead, and add other textures and flavors with things like dried fruit and soft cheeses.
Feel free to add anything else to make it fit for you: protein (salmon, chicken, and shrimp would pair great!) or fat. I know I personally went back and added some avocado to this meal, as it was a little low on fat for me. For me personally, I’ve learned I really need to have a decent amount of healthy fats at a meal. This helps me feel more satisfied after a meal, have less cravings shortly after a meal, have more stable blood sugars, and as a woman with PCOS, I know my hormones like it when I eat adequate fat. So you do what you need to do to make this dinner work for you!
And if you’re looking for more plant-based meal inspo, check these recipes out, too!
- 5-Minute Broccoli Kale Quinoa Salad
- 5-Minute Avo Green Sauce (I especially love this over red lentil pasta!)
- Roasted Vegetables + 10 Ways to Use Them
- Greek Lentil Power Bowl
- Zucchini Noodle Summer Corn Chowder
- Adobo Chickpea Sweet Potato Burgers
If you give this Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf with Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas a try, let me know how you like it! Leave a comment, share your thoughts on the NTF Facebook page, or snap and share a pic to Instagram (tag @nutritiontofit and #nutritiontofit). Live well!
Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf with Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas
For the Turmeric Roasted Chickpeas:
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 can garbanzo beans (drain, rinse, and towel dry)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
For the Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf
- 1 c. quinoa
- 2 c. water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 zucchini
- 2 carrots
- 2 cups asparagus trimmed and chopped
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley packed
- 7-8 large fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: additional chopped herbs to garnish I used green and purple basil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- To a baking sheet, add the rinsed and dried chickpeas, avocado oil, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Toss to combine.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown, crisp, and crunchy.
- Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under running cool water. Combine in a large, covered pot with water and salt, bring to a boil, and cook for 25 minutes, or until done.
- In a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, heat the avocado oil. Add the chopped vegetables and saute for 5-7 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.
- While vegetables are cooking, finely mince the fresh parsley and basil.
- To the cooked vegetables add the cooked quinoa, lemon, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Top the quinoa with the crunchy roasted turmeric chickpeas and any additional optional fresh herbs.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.
- Any leftovers may be refrigerated up to 48 hours in an airtight glass container.