Meatless Monday: Quinoa Pilaf

This entry was posted on Aug 15, 2016 by Charlotte Bell.

meatless mondayI was fortunate to spend 18 days in July at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. In addition to enjoying 2-1/2 weeks of noble silence and the teachings of some of the West’s most learned teachers, the 100 or so souls who sat and walked together were treated to creative, healthy vegetarian meals.

One of my favorite meal days happened somewhere in the last half of the retreat, the day we enjoyed a chickpea salad and quinoa pilaf. Because we were in silence, ingredients were listed on cards in front of each dish, with potentially sensitive ingredients highlighted. On the day of the chickpeas and quinoa, my partner, who worked in the kitchen after meals and apparently enjoyed the meal as much as I did, asked for the ingredient cards. Of course, I didn’t know this until after the retreat since we weren’t talking to each other, but I was thrilled when he handed them to me.

What follows is an approximation of the wonderful quinoa salad. Because quantities aren’t listed, I had to use my best judgment. The results are quite excellent, but feel free to play with the quantities to suit your taste. For example, you might want to add more tarragon or more sesame seeds. Next time I would probably add some grated orange zest in addition to the juice. Have fun with it!

Meatless Monday: Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1-1/3 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2-3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup currants (I used dried blueberries instead)
  • 1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 2 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 T sesame seeds


  • juice of one orange
  • 2 t agave nectar
  • 1 t mustard
  • 1 T sherry vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T sunflower oil
  1. Place cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add hazelnuts, currants or blueberries, tarragon, mint and sesame seeds, and mix together.
  3. Place dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously to mix.
  4. Pour dressing into quinoa mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Enjoy!
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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