Kid Friendly Recipes/ Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegan Salads

“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)

Here’s a simple combo of tiny seashell pasta and high-protein quinoa.
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Course: Grain and Pasta
Cuisine: Vegan / Healthy
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Author: Veg Kitchen


  • 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
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh herbs try a combination of parsley, dill, and scallion


  • 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.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a separate saucepan until al dente, then drain.
  • 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.
  • 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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  • Reply
    November 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Greetings! The site is great. Thank you for a great resource

  • Reply
    May 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm

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

    • Reply
      May 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      February 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

    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!)

  • Reply
    April 6, 2014 at 9:49 pm

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

  • Reply
    Glennda Anderson
    June 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      June 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      That sounds like a great tweak, Glennda. We will add some veggie variations to this recipe. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    January 7, 2015 at 4:58 am

    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?

    • Reply
      January 7, 2015 at 10:57 am

      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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