This Instant Pot quinoa recipe is an absolute must try!!! I made it for our #MeatFreeMondays meal and let’s just say there have been multiple requests to make this on regular basis. The quinoa is perfectly (and quickly) cooked together with gorgeous veggies and Mexican inspired spices, so it absorbs all those beautiful warm and earthy flavors while still in the pot. As a contrasting and much complimenting addition, the cilantro and lime sauce is drizzled over the top when you serve this dish. All you need is a side salad!
Before you start cooking
Quinoa is a nutritious pseudograin – full of protein and amino acids as well as minerals and vitamins – however, due it’s popularity, it is becoming less and less sustainably/ethically produced. Make sure to buy fair-trade quinoa, when possible. I like this brand of quinoa, and you can choose any colour you like.
Rice would also work well in this recipe, set the cooking time to 5 minutes instead of 1 minute (for white rice). Buckwheat is another gluten-free alternative that you might want to try.
Chipotle chili has that unmistakable smoky aroma and deep flavor. You can get chipotle chili flakes or whole peppers online and in most large supermarkets. Tinned chipotle can also be used.
The cilantro and lime sauce is made with mayonnaise and a little garlic and pickled jalapeño for an extra kick. For a vegan version, replace the mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons of olive oil or dairy-free yoghurt and a little extra lime juice. I used my mini blender to process the dressing but you can also chop everything up with a knife.
This is a great make-ahead dish as well. Store it in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the Instant Pot on Sauté or in the oven. Tip: You can spread this quinoa in a casserole dish, top with some salad and sprinkle with grated cheese, then bake for an extra comforting Tex Mex dish.
- 1 cup (250ml) fair-trade raw quinoa (any colour you like)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
- 1 pointy red pepper, diced
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 1/2 long red chili, finely diced (seeds out)
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels (250ml cup)
- 1/2 cup frozen garden peas (250ml cup)
- 1/2 cup tinned tomato puree/diced tomatoes/passata (NOT tomato paste! half of 250ml cup)
- 2/3 cup water (150 ml)
For cilantro sauce
- 2 tbsp roughly diced cilantro leaves and stalks
- 1/2 clove garlic, roughly diced
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 small pickled jalapeño slices
- Pinch of salt
- Soak the quinoa in 2-3 cups of lightly salted cold water for 10-15 minutes (an hour is even better). Then rinse through a sieve.
- Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add olive oil, onions, peppers, celery and half of the salt. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
- After 5 minutes, add the garlic, spices and the rest of the salt. Stir through for 10 seconds and then add the quinoa, frozen corn and peas, tinned tomatoes and water. Stir through and press Keep Warm/Cancel key on the Instant Pot.
- Place and lock the lid, making sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual, High pressure and set to 1 minute. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
- Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 7 minutes and then, if needed, use the quick release method before opening the lid.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the sauce by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor or a small blender. Process into a smooth sauce (it’s okay if some of the cilantro is not completely ground up). If no food processor available, use a knife to finely chop the cilantro and jalapeño, grate the garlic, then combine with the other ingredients in a bowl.
- Serve the quinoa in bowls with a few teaspoons of cilantro sauce drizzled over the top. Garnish with extra lime and some chopped scallions.