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Parsley Quinoa and Brown Rice Pilaf


I am in love with the gorgeous bunches of bright green Italian or flat-leaf parsley in our Ranui Gardens CSA boxes of late–I’ve been adding it to most everything I cook. This parsley quinoa and brown rice pilaf, with plenty of finely chopped parsley, is my favorite usage, at least this week.

I have to tell you that whenever I think of parsley, just the word gets me hankering to listen to one of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel ballad from the 1960s, with the refrain parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Each of these herbs carries ancient love and health connotations, parsley the one thought to lessen the bitterness of love lost.


Parsley is much more than a decorative plate garnish, though it is such a common herb that we forget its many qualities.

Parsley sprigs are part of stock or soup’s bouquet garni. At my alma mater, The French Culinary Institute, we wrapped parsley, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf into a neat bundle made of lightly blanched leek.

Finely chopped parsley is essential in tabouleh, the mid-eastern bulgur wheat salad. If I owned that juicer on my wish list, I’d be adding parsley to my green drinks, for its blood cleansing benefit.




Parsley Quinoa and Brown Rice Pilaf
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 cup tri-color quinoa , rinsed
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup very finely chopped parsley
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a saucepan over medium flame, heat the oil.
  2. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onion is translucent.
  3. Stir in the brown rice and cook so the rice gets a bit brown and begins to crackle.
  4. Stir in the rinsed quinoa and the vegetable stock.
  5. Cover the pan. Allow the grains to come to a boil, and then lower the heat to the lowest setting possible.
  6. Cook without stirring, 35 to 45 minutes. (To check if the liquid has been absorbed or not, tilt the pan to the side.)
  7. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in the parsley, lemon zest and juice, mixing with a fork so the additions are well distributed.
Recipe Notes
  • I use 2: 1 ratio, liquid to rice. Quinoa doesn’t need as much water—1 ½: 1. When rice and quinoa are steamed together, reduce the vegetable stock so the rice doesn’t absorb extra liquid and become sticky.
  • Quinoa grows with a natural pesticide coating called saponin. Saponin doesn’t harm humans; it just makes the quinoa bitter if not rinsed well.


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