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Kalyn's Kitchen

Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro

I love this Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro (or use flat leaf parsley if you’re not a cilantro fan.) And this tasty quinoa side dish is low-glycemic, high-protein, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet friendly! Use Side Dish Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN this tasty Quinoa Side Dish.

Quinoa Side Dish Recipe with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

How do you feel about quinoa?  It’s something I was slow to warm up to, and for a long time I didn’t think I’d ever be much of a quinoa fan. Then I made Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes, Cucumbers, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette, followed by Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad and Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro and I was surprised to discover how much I liked it.

This Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro may be my favorite quinoa recipe yet.  The quinoa is sauteed in oil for a few minutes before it’s cooked in chicken or vegetable stock, and then a generous amount of toasted pine nuts and chopped green onion and a little chopped cilantro is stirred in before it’s eaten warm.  If you’re not a cilantro lover, chopped flat-leaf parsley could also be used here. And if you haven’t had quinoa yet, this is a recipe you should definitely try. And PINE NUTS! Go ahead and use extra of those if the budget can handle it!

Quinoa Side Dish Recipe with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro (Gluten-Free, Vegan) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Most quinoa has to be rinsed to remove a natural coating called saponin.  Rinse until there is no foaminess, and then let the quinoa drain.

Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro

Heat the oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, add the rinsed quinoa and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the quinoa starts to smell slightly toasted. Add the chicken or vegetable stock (it will sputter a little). Give the mixture a stir, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan just until they smell toasted.  (This will take only 1-2 minutes at high heat; don’t let pine nuts get too brown or they’ll taste bitter.)  Pine nuts have gotten very expensive, so if they aren’t in the budget I’d use slivered almonds. When the liquid is all absorbed, let the quinoa sit covered for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Slice green onions and chop cilantro (or parsley) while the quinoa sits. Stir in the toasted pine nuts, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.  This is meant to be served warm, but I ate some leftovers the next day right out of the fridge and it was really good that way as well!

Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro

More Great Recipes Featuring Quinoa:

Better-than-Mom’s Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole from Kalyn’s Kitchen
How To Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker (plus recipes) from Gluten-Free Goddess
Ground Turkey and Quinoa Patties with Mint, Cumin, and Yogurt-Tahini Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Quinoa Salad with Smoky Lime Dressing from FamilyStyle Food
Asian Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Celery, and Peanuts from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Quinoa-Lentil Salad with Crispy Shaved Brussels Sprouts ~ A Spicy Perspective

Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro

I love this Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro (or use flat leaf parsley if you’re not a cilantro fan.)


  • 1 T canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 C quinoa, rinsed (unless the package says it does not need to be rinsed)
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp. Vege-Sal (or a slightly smaller amount of salt)
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts (or slivered almonds), toasted in a dry pan
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 2 T finely chopped cilantro (or flat-leaf parsley)


  1. Check the package to see if the quinoa needs to be rinsed, and if it does put quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears; let quinoa drain at least 5 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Add quinoa and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the quinoa starts to smell toasted.
  4. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, being careful if the stock sputters up from the hot pan.
  5. Add Vege-Sal  or salt, stir and bring the mixture to a boil; then lower heat to a simmer and let  the quinoa cook covered for 15 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed.)
  6. While quinoa cooks, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over high heat, just until the nuts smell toasted.  (This will only take 1-2 minutes if the heat is high; don’t let the pine nuts get too brown or they will taste bitter.)
  7. When quinoa is done, let stand covered for 5 minutes.
  8. While quinoa stands, slice green onions and chop cilantro (or parsley.)
  9. After 5 minutes, fluff quinoa with a fork.
  10. Stir in toasted pine nuts, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.
  11. Serve hot or warm.


Recipe adapted slightly from The Sunset Cookbook.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions: 
Quinoa is a high-protein seed which is eaten as a grain. This Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the  South Beach Diet. Quinoa is relatively high in carbs, even though it’s also rich in protein and has fiber.  Use portion control if you’re eating this for any type of carb-conscious diet, and this would be too high in carbs for strict low-carb diet plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. (New recipes won’t show up in Yummly right away and information there is not always 100% accurate.) Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

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43 comments on “Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro”

  1. I've never bothered to rinse my quinoa – either I've been lucky or I like it as is LOL Great looking salad.

  2. This looks great. Can't wait to try it.

  3. Thanks Sandy, so glad you like it!

  4. Love this, Kalyn. I'm pinning to my "Qinoa and Farro" board! Looks divine!

  5. Found this recipe a few days ago and tried it…DELICIOUS!!!

  6. I have just cooked this and it was lovely! This recipe is a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Teresa, so glad it was a hit, and thanks for the nice comments about my recipes.

  8. Another Kalyn Recipe was a hit at our dinner last night. I made this for company last night as a side dish to grilled chicken (I have a huge bag of quinoa from Costco to use). Everyone raved how delicious it was and I had just a smidgen to send home leftovers with our guests. Next time I'll make sure that I double the recipe!

    I don't usually make new recipes when company is coming over, but your recipes haven't disappointed me yet and I knew I could count on you and your blog! Thanks Kalyn for all of the work you do to keep us all on top of our SB Efforts! You are wonderful!
    Teresa in Texas

  9. Just made this quinoa dish this afternoon. Didn't have pine nuts, so I used slivered almonds as suggested. One word…addictive! I love all the green onions and how they pair with the quinoa. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Oh my heck, this stuff was amazing! I made it tonight for the first time and I could not stop eating it. Thanks for the amazing recipe.

  11. Dee, so glad you enjoyed it, and I agree completely about the pine nuts!

  12. I just made this and really enjoyed it.
    I don't love lots of cilantro and feel this works very well.
    The pine nuts add a really nice buttery crunch and I would highly recommend them!
    Great recipe!

  13. Gorgeous!!! This is so great for spring!

  14. Pille, I'm really starting to enjoy it too, especially in something like this where there are some different flavors going on.

  15. This sounds amazing, Kalyn! I've come to love quinoa (included 3 recipes in my cookbook recently), and this new, light version sounds really tasty!!

  16. Barbara, that's the same quinoa I used and I loved it in this recipe!

  17. I've been a little slow to warm up to quinoa and I have a Costco bag in the pantry. I'll have to give this recipe a try!

  18. Thanks all. Glad that people are liking this; I loved it!

  19. Your quinoa dish looks fabulous. So fresh and inviting. Lovely.

  20. Hi Kalyn, I love quinoa (took me a while to spell it right)! I have it many mornings in place of oatmeal or millet with a bit of maple syrup, nuts and dried fruit.

  21. Thank you so much for this recipe! I have a bag in my cupboard waiting for something inspirational. And I have all the ingredients too!

  22. I love quinoa and many of the ingredients in this recipe. It looks great!

  23. Shirley, I really like quinoa tabbouleh; just had it for the first time last summer!

    Lindsay, I do think there are a number of veggies you could add!

    BTW, in case anyone is reading the comments, this is not really a "salad." It's meant to be eaten warm as a side dish, but I did eat some leftovers cold out of the fridge and enjoyed it that way too!

  24. This looks so good! I love quinoa and I love herbs and I love pine nuts. Jackpot! This would be great with some fresh veggies, too!

  25. We enjoy quinoa. Hubby prefers it more as a hot dish like rice, but I really like it in salads like this one, Kalyn. I've made quinoa taboulleh before for a crowd and it went quickly. Only two folks knew what the quinoa was, but everyone enjoyed it. Oh, and it actually was more like this recipe because I used cilantro vs mint. I love this recipe with the green onions and pine nuts though. 🙂


  26. Oh good, hope you like it!

  27. I have some quinoa in my pantry right now – you have changed my dinner plans once again! Cheers!

  28. Maris, thanks; so sweet of you and ditto!

    Mary, thanks for the nice feedback on the photo. Hope you have a great day too!

  29. This is a really lovely recipe, Kalyn, and today's photo is wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  30. I have been a fan of quinoa (and you!) for quite some time. This is one of the best looking salads I have seen.

  31. Mary, sounds interesting. I'm in favor of anything that tastes like mac-n-cheese!

  32. I love quinoa… and every other ingredient you have in this recipe! I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy it, but my odl favorite is a bit of earth balance and nutritional yeast. That combo reminds me of mac 'n cheese 🙂

  33. Lyndsey, I know; I was shocked when pine nuts at Costco nearly doubled in price. But I love them, and I keep them in the freezer and they last quite a while. Your quinoa sounds really good!

  34. I have liked quinoa from the start, but I think I like it cold in salads best. I usually make it with spinach, feta, black olives, lemon ,olive oils and seasoning. I will try yours for sure, sounds really good, except how expensive pine nuts have gotten.

  35. Ellie, I'd say quinoa is quite a bit like couscous, with a bit more texture because of the little sprouts on the quinoa. The flavor isn't strong, so it takes well to all kinds of flavorings.

    I'm so glad people are liking the sound of this one; there is a very small amount of cilantro, and I think any number of herbs might work or the cilantro could even be left out. Lydia, I like the sound of mint.

  36. Rather than replacing all of the cilantro with parsley, as I am prone to do, I wonder about replacing part of it with mint? Sometimes that really moderates the flavor of the cilantro enough for me.

  37. Kalyn, I'm always looking for some healthy whole grain dishes. This one sounds nice and light, a dish that will go with just about anything,

  38. Quinoa is actually one of my favorite whole grains so I'm super glad you found a way to enjoy it! I love the idea of mixing in pine nuts and cilantro…makes for a simple yet tasty side dish!

  39. I'll certainly try, and I'm going to risk with cilantro, I hope you like the recipe, thank you very much!!


  40. Wonderful, just the thing I was looking. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Kalyn, what would you describe the texture of quinoa like? Is it anything like cous cous? I've seen it popping up more and more frequently but as I've never tasted it or cooked with it, I'm hesitant to actually buy it 🙁

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