Quinoa and Cashew Nut Pilaf

This is a light, healthy dish, perfect for summer, and it’s super-easy too. It can be served warm or cold so it’s great for making in advance and serving up at a picnic or BBQ.

Quinoa is a South American, gluten-free grain not dissimilar to rice, but lighter in texture. It has a nutty taste and goes brilliantly with the crunch of the water chestnuts. You can find quinoa in most supermarkets (it looks a bit like couscous, although couscous is technically not a grain).

Serves 8

Preparation and cooking time: ½ hour

2 tbsp olive oil
300g / 10½ oz leeks, finely slices
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
250g / 9 oz quinoa
300ml / ½ pint water
300ml / ½ pint dry white wine
200g / 7 oz water chestnuts, drained
100g / 4 oz broken cashew nuts
50g / 2 oz sunflower seeds
juice of one large lemon (or two small)
salt and pepper
fresh mint


1) Brown the nuts and sunflower seeds in a dry non-stick pan and set aside.

2) Heat the oil in a heavy pan and cook the leeks and celery until just soft. Add the quinoa and the liquid. Bring to the boil and cook gently for 15 minutes until the quinoa is soft and has absorbed the liquid – add more if necessary.

3) Drain the water chestnuts and either cut in half or chop into smaller pieces as preferred.

4) Add the nuts, sunflower seeds, and water chestnuts to the quinoa along with the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving stir in the fresh chopped mint. Serve warm or cold.


This dish is quick and easy, perfect for a light supper or picnic.


Funky retro Pyrex bowl from Potty Parcels.

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