“Seashells in the Sand” (Quinoa and Seashell Noodle Pilaf)

Here’s a simple combo of tiny seashell pasta and high-protein quinoa. I’m not usually one for “cute” recipe names, but both the name and the presentation worked wonders to tempt my kids to learn to love whole grains. Serve with a simple bean dish and a colorful salad for an easy meal. Photos by Rachael Braun.

“Seashells in the Sand” (Quinoa and Seashell Noodle Pilaf)
Recipe type: Grain and Pasta
Cuisine: Vegan / Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
Here’s a simple combo of tiny seashell pasta and high-protein quinoa.
  • 1 cup quinoa (regular or red, though red looks prettier!)
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube or 1 tablespoon mixed seasoning blend (like Frontier or Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 cup tiny shell pasta (see Note)
  • 1 1 /2 to 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, or fragrant nut or olive oil
  • Salt or seasoned salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup minced fresh herbs (try a combination of parsley, dill, and scallion)
  1. Combine the quinoa with 2 cup water and the bouillon cube or seasoning blend in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then turn the heat down and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a separate saucepan until al dente, then drain.
  3. Combine the cooked grain and pasta in a serving container. Stir in the Earth Balance or oil until melted, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the fresh herbs or pass them around in a small bowl to top individual portions.

Use Ancient Harvest quinoa shells if you need to make this gluten-free.

Seashell pasta with quinoa2

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11 comments on ““Seashells in the Sand” (Quinoa and Seashell Noodle Pilaf)

  1. Brendan

    I’d like to see a photo of the finished product so I have an idea if I did it right.

  2. Nava Post author

    Hi Brendan, unfortunately we don’t have photos for each and every recipe, though we do have many. If it tastes good, you did it right, though really, there is no right or wrong! If you do end up taking a photo of the recipe, send it along and I’ll use it in this post!

  3. Julia

    I just made the recipe, and it’s super tasty!
    Although, I added black olives and green olives, and a dash of cumin & mint(dried),and a few drops of fresh lemon.

  4. Nava Post author

    Julia, this simple recipe is a good one to add your own touches to, and I love your ideas. They sound like they took the dish to the next level. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Natalie

    I just love how versatile quinoa is! This looks great, and I bet it would also work well with other small pasta shapes like isreali couscous, or orzo shapes! (So many recipes, so little time!)

  6. Nava Post author

    Sorry for the delayed response, Natalie. I love the idea of Israeli couscous in this; I may try that next time!

  7. Glennda Anderson

    I made a version of this last night. I added julienned carrots, red bell pepper and broccoli florets and dressed it in a quick basil lime dressing.
    So good! Thanks for the idea.

  8. John

    This sounds great! Looking forward to trying it, my wife and I love our olives, so I may add some. What are your thoughts on adding chick-peas, (or garbanzo) to the recipe along with some olives? Would that throw it off?

  9. Nava Post author

    John, since it’s such a simple recipe, it’s very adaptable. Sure, go for it! Chickpeas and olives sound like wonderful additions; I’d like to try that myself!

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