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Instant Pot kale and quinoa pilaf

Instant Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Healthy and delicious Instant Pot kale and quinoa pilaf cooked together in one pot and topped with chopped parsley, toaste almonds and feta cheese. For a vegan version, omit the feta cheese and replace with something salty like olives or sun-dried tomatoes. You can also add some dairy-free cheese of choice. Serve with salad or a side of veggies.



1.5 cup dried quinoa
34 oz. / 100-120 g kale leaves (stems removed and torn into smaller pieces)
1/2 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small carrot, diced into small cubes
12 tablespoons raisins, roughly diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 vegetable stock cube (or 1.5 teaspoons powder, see notes)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (or paprika)
1+2/3 cup water
To finish
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (we used goat’s feta, omit for vegan version)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup toasted almonds (see notes)
Juice of 1/3 lemon (optional)


  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water and leave the sieve to strain. Prepare the kale and set aside.
  2. Tun the Instant Pot and turn the Sautee function key. Add the olive oil, onions and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  3. Once you have sauteed the onions and carrots, add the quinoa, garlic, lemon zest, raisins, vegetable stock cube (crush it with your hands) and cumin powder (you can also use other spices or herbs). Add the water and stir through well. Cancel the Saute function.
  4. Note: A typical ratio of quinoa to water is 1:1 but we’re adding just a little bit more water as we have other ingredients. This will also prevent that pesky burning error message. 
  5. Add the kale pieces on top of the quinoa in the broth, no need to stir through at this stage. Pop the lid on top, close it, making sure the top valve is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual/Pressure Cook button and adjust the time to 2 minutes. The Instant Pot will take 4-5 minutes to build up the pressure before the time will begin. 
  6. Once 2 minutes are up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Then, let off the rest of the steam manually by using the quick release method (simply point the top valve to Venting). 
  7. Open the lid and stir the quinoa with the kale. Transfer to a platter or a large bowl and top with chopped parsley, feta cheese and toasted almonds. We drizzled it with a little lemon juice as well, but that’s optional. Serve with a salad and enjoy! 


Vegetable stock cube: If you don’t have a vegetable stock cube, use ready-made vegetable stock instead of water (1.75 cups) and add a little extra salt.

Toasted almonds: You can use blanched (skinless) almonds or regular ones. You can buy already toasted nuts, in which case you will simply need to chop them roughly with a knife. To toast the nuts, place them on a flat oven tray and pop under a hot grill for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway, until golden brown. Keep an eye on them to prevent unexpected burning. 


  • Serving Size: 1.5 cups
  • Calories: 473
  • Sugar: 5.6 g
  • Sodium: 382 mg
  • Fat: 22.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54.5 g
  • Fiber: 8.7 g
  • Protein: 16.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 11.1 mg

Keywords: Quinoa, Kale, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Middle Eastern, Dinner