Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegan Salads/ Vegan Side Dishes

Simple Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

simple kale and quinoa pilaf

This speedy, simple dish features two — no, three — vegan faves — quinoa, kale and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast provides a big B-12 boost and terrific cheesy flavor. What’s not to love? Tart this dish up with a handful of your favorite chopped herbs, pair it with grilled vegetables or tempeh or serve with a salad.

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in and drained
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts (or substitute crushed walnuts)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 big bunch kale (about 3 cups), tough sterms removed,
    leaves sliced into skinny bite-sized ribbons
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh herbs of your choice

In a medium-sized pot, bring water or vegetable broth to boil.  Add quinoa.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook quinoa for about 12 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is plumped.  Remove from burner and set aside to cool.

Place a large dry skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pine nuts. Toast nuts, stirring or give pan a shake every few minutes, until nuts are golden brown and smell luscious and buttery, about 5 minutes. Pour pine nuts into a small bowl and set aside.

Pour the olive oil into the skillet and return to heat. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic turns soft and golden, about 5 minutes.

Add kale by the handful and stir until it is just wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in quinoa, nutritional yeast wine and season to taste. Cook another few minutes or until heated through. Add pine nuts and toss to combine. Stir in fresh herbs or use them to top individual servings.

Ellen Kanner writes the Meatless Monday column for The Huffingon Post, is the Edgy Veggie, a syndicated columnist, and Dinner Guest blogger on Culinate. She is also a contributor to Bon Appetit, Relish, Eating Well, Vegetarian Times, More, the Miami Herald and regional publications across the country including Pebble Beach and Palm Beach Illustrated. 

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  • Reply
    June 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Great recipe! Sounds really healthy and delicious. I am actually hosting a kale linky party at as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you submitted this recipe!


  • Reply
    June 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    OK, I did it — and I think it actually worked!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for linking up!


  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I made this for supper tonight and both my husband and I thought it was fantastic! I didn’t use quite enough kale, however, but will remedy that the next time I make it. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  • Reply
    September 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Kim Fuller
    April 17, 2013 at 4:00 am

    made this for lunch today, sooo yummy! i love when i find great recipes that i can make just using things i already have in the house. will definitely make this again!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thanks, Kim — this reminds me to share this with VegKitchen’s readers on our Facebook page (, as you are right, it makes a great lunch — served with a colorful salad!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Can you please recommend a substitution for the white wine besides just water? I hardly ever have wine on hand.

    • Reply
      March 13, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Jena, some low-sodium vegetable stock would work well, too. Or just go for the water, and add a seasoning that you really like, or a mixed seasoning blend.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Thank you! 🙂

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