Lemon Basil Quinoa Pilaf

  • Author: Dana Gerard
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 small servings 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
Easy to make Lemon Basil Quinoa Pilaf

Lemon Basil Quinoa Pilaf is packed with the sunny flavors of lemon juice, fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Grains + vegetables simplify mealtimes. Use this pilaf formula to create variations of grains or legumes and seasonal vegetables all year.


  • 2 bell peppers (one orange and one yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 oz pine nuts (60 gm)
  • 1/2 cup ( 4 oz/120 ml) plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa ( 190 gm)
  • 2 cups water or low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, plus extra leaves for decoration
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, plus extra for garnish (120 gm)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with foil.
  2. Prepare vegetables: Chop both peppers and place on lined baking sheet with two cloves of garlic. Toss peppers and garlic with just a few teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place pine nuts on other baking sheet and roast nuts for 10 minutes and peppers for 25 minutes. Let nuts and peppers cool, then remove garlic peel and mash pulp.
  3. Chop sundried tomatoes and set aside.
  4. Prepare quinoa: Rinse quinoa until water runs clear. In a deep saucepan over medium heat, stir dry grains with 1 tsp oil (optional) for five minutes, until quinoa starts to pop and brown, Carefully add water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a pinch of salt, cover and cook ten minutes, then add in chopped sundried tomatoes and continue cooking covered another five minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let steam five more minutes covered.
  5. While quinoa cooks, prep other ingredients: Slice basil into ribbons and measure out crumbled or cubed feta.
  6. Make salad dressing: Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, mashed garlic pulp ( use one or two cloves) and salt and pepper to taste. Blend well and set aside.
  7. Fluff the warm, cooked quinoa and add just half of the dressing. Then add in roasted peppers. Stir and adjust for seasonings. At this point, pilaf can be covered and refrigerated up to two days before adding in other ingredients and serving. Just before serving, taste and add any additional dressing, salt and pepper. Then gently stir in basil, pine nuts and feta cheese.
  8. Serve with additional dressing and garnish with whole basil leaves, additional feta and pine nuts.
  9. Serve cold over greens like arugula or hot alongside your favorite entree.
  10. See blog post for additional helpful tips and photos.


Mediterranean Quinoa Pilaf and Ina Garten’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables