Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe

Introducing the shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf, a dish filled with savory flavors and delightful textures. Combining the earthy taste of shiitake mushrooms with the nuttiness of quinoa, this dish brings together a wonderful blend of flavors and health benefits. The addition of pecans and parsley adds a delightful crunch and freshness, making this a perfect main or side dish for any meal.

Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe

The key to this recipe is the shiitake mushrooms. These fungi are native to East Asia and have a distinct earthy flavor that's hard to replicate. They're also packed with health benefits, making them a great addition to your diet. If you haven't cooked with them before, you can find them in the produce or international section of most grocery stores. Also, if you're new to quinoa, it's a grain that's rich in protein and fiber. It has a slight nutty flavor and can be found in the grains section.

Ingredients for Shiitake Mushroom and Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa: A grain that is high in protein, fibre, and various vitamins and minerals.

Low sodium chicken broth: Used as a cooking liquid for the quinoa, adding flavor and helping the grains become tender.

Olive oil: Used for sautéing, it adds a depth of flavor.

Yellow onion: Provides a sweet and tangy taste.

Carrots: Adds a touch of sweetness and vibrant color.

Dried thyme: Gives the dish a hint of earthy and slight minty flavor.

Shiitake mushrooms: Brings a meaty and earthy flavor to the dish.

Garlic: It infuses the dish with its pungent and spicy flavor.

Salt and ground black pepper: Used for seasoning.

Pecans: Adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.

Fresh parsley: Brings a burst of fresh flavor and a pop of color.

One reader, Ashley Barringer says:

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This shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf recipe is a game-changer! The combination of earthy shiitake mushrooms and nutty quinoa is simply divine. The dish is bursting with flavor and the addition of pecans adds a delightful crunch. It's a must-try for anyone looking for a healthy and delicious meal.

Ashley Barringer

Key Techniques for Mastering This Recipe

How to cook quinoa: Quinoa should be rinsed under cold water to remove its natural coating, which can make it taste bitter. Then, combine the quinoa and chicken broth in a medium saucepan, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.

How to sauté vegetables: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Then, add the carrots and thyme and cook until the carrots are just tender. Add the remaining olive oil, mushrooms, and garlic, and cook until the mushrooms are cooked through, stirring constantly.

How to season the pilaf: After combining the cooked quinoa with the sautéed vegetables, stir in the pecans and chopped parsley. Taste the pilaf and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper if necessary.

How to clean shiitake mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms should be gently wiped with a damp cloth or a paper towel to remove any dirt. Use a knife to remove the stems where they meet the cap.

How To Make Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms sautéed in a mix of crunchy pecans, carrots, and onions adds a meaty flavor to this hearty and healthy quinoa pilaf meal!

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes



  • 1cupquinoa,pre-rinsed or rinsed
  • 1⅔cupchicken broth,low sodium
  • 3tbspextra virgin olive oil,divided
  • 1small yellow onion,finely chopped
  • 2small carrots,peeled, diced
  • ¾tspdried thyme
  • 4ozshiitake mushrooms,stemmed, thinly sliced
  • 2garlic cloves,minced
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • cuppecans,chopped, toasted if desired
  • ¼cupfresh parsley,chopped


  1. Combine the quinoa and chicken broth in a medium sauce pan.

  2. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the quinoa is cooked.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2to 3 minutes, until they start to soften.

  4. Add the carrots and thyme and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the carrots are just tender. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, along with mushrooms and garlic.

  5. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, until mushrooms are cooked through. Season the vegetables with ¼ teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  6. Add the cooked quinoa to vegetables and stir in pecans and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

  7. Serve hot or warm, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 371.69kcal
  • Fat: 20.13g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.57g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 12.04g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.51g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.20g
  • Fiber: 5.88g
  • Sugar: 4.56g
  • Protein: 10.64g
  • Cholesterol: 3.00mg
  • Sodium: 553.17mg
  • Calcium: 56.52mg
  • Potassium: 607.79mg
  • Iron: 3.21mg
  • Vitamin A: 226.76µg
  • Vitamin C: 8.61mg

One Simple Trick for Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

When preparing the shiitake mushrooms for this dish, it's important to remember that they don't need to be washed like other vegetables. Since they don't come into contact with dirt, a simple wipe with a damp cloth or paper towel is usually sufficient. However, the stems should be removed with a knife where they meet the cap, as they can be tough and woody, detracting from the overall texture of the dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Busy Cooks

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and measure out ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot wonder: Consider using a rice cooker to prepare the quinoa, freeing up stovetop space for sautéing the vegetables.

Double batch: Make extra and store leftovers in the fridge for a quick and convenient meal option later in the week.

Efficient chopping: Use a food processor to quickly chop the onions, carrots, and mushrooms for faster prep.

Time-saving tools: Utilize kitchen gadgets like a garlic press and vegetable chopper to expedite the prep work.

Substitute Ingredients For Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe

  • quinoa - Substitute with bulgur: Bulgur has a similar nutty flavor and chewy texture, making it a great substitute for quinoa in this pilaf recipe.

  • shiitake mushrooms - Substitute with cremini mushrooms: Cremini mushrooms have a similar earthy flavor and meaty texture, making them a suitable replacement for shiitake mushrooms in the pilaf recipe.

  • low sodium chicken broth - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for chicken broth to make the pilaf vegetarian-friendly while still providing a rich flavor base.

  • extra virgin olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point, making it a suitable substitute for olive oil in this pilaf recipe.

  • yellow onion - Substitute with white onion: White onions can be used as a substitute for yellow onions, providing a slightly milder flavor while still adding depth to the pilaf.

  • carrots - Substitute with bell peppers: Bell peppers can add a pop of color and crunch, serving as a substitute for carrots in the pilaf recipe.

  • dried thyme - Substitute with dried oregano: Dried oregano can be used as a substitute for thyme, providing a similar earthy and slightly floral flavor to the pilaf.

  • garlic - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can be used as a substitute for garlic, offering a milder and slightly sweet flavor to the pilaf.

  • pecans - Substitute with almonds: Almonds can be used as a substitute for pecans, adding a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the pilaf.

  • fresh parsley - Substitute with cilantro: Cilantro can be used as a substitute for parsley, providing a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the pilaf.

Plating Ideas for a Stunning Presentation

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use clean, white plates to allow the colors of the dish to pop and garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley for a touch of vibrancy.

  2. Incorporate texture: Add a touch of sophistication to the dish by incorporating a variety of textures. Consider serving the pilaf on a bed of crispy kale chips to provide a delightful crunch that contrasts with the tender quinoa and mushrooms.

  3. Emphasize precision: Pay attention to the placement of each element on the plate. Arrange the quinoa pilaf in a neat, compact mound using a ring mold for a polished and professional presentation.

  4. Highlight the earthy flavors: Showcase the natural flavors of the shiitake mushrooms by drizzling a delicate truffle oil over the pilaf just before serving. This will add a luxurious aroma and depth of flavor to the dish.

  5. Add a touch of elegance with edible flowers: Elevate the visual appeal of the dish by delicately placing a few edible flowers, such as nasturtium or pansies, on the plate. The vibrant colors and delicate petals will add a touch of elegance to the presentation.

Essential Kitchen Tools You'll Need

  • Saucepan: A saucepan is a deep cooking pan with a handle and often a lid, used for boiling, stewing, or making sauces.

  • Sauté pan: A sauté pan is a wide, straight-sided pan with a large surface area and a long handle, ideal for cooking vegetables and meats at high heat.

  • Knife: A knife is an essential kitchen tool used for cutting, slicing, and chopping ingredients.

  • Cutting board: A cutting board provides a safe and stable surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.

  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is a versatile tool used for stirring, mixing, and cooking various dishes.

  • Medium saucepan: A medium saucepan is a smaller-sized pan used for heating liquids, cooking grains, and preparing sauces.

  • Spatula: A spatula is a flat, flexible utensil used for flipping, lifting, and spreading ingredients while cooking.

  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is a deep bowl used for combining and mixing ingredients when preparing recipes.

  • Chef's knife: A chef's knife is a versatile, all-purpose knife used for slicing, dicing, and chopping a wide variety of ingredients.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Measuring cups and spoons are used to accurately measure and portion ingredients for recipes.

  • Skillet: A skillet is a flat-bottomed pan with sloping sides, used for frying, searing, and browning ingredients.

  • Colander: A colander is a perforated bowl used for draining liquids from cooked ingredients such as pasta or vegetables.

  • Grater: A grater is a kitchen tool used to shred or grate ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, or citrus zest.

  • Garlic press: A garlic press is a handheld tool used to crush and mince garlic cloves for cooking.

  • Peeler: A peeler is a tool used to remove the outer skin or peel from fruits and vegetables.

  • Tongs: Tongs are a versatile kitchen tool used for gripping, lifting, and turning food while cooking.

  • Whisk: A whisk is a kitchen utensil used for blending, whipping, and incorporating air into ingredients.

  • Oven: An oven is a kitchen appliance used for baking, roasting, and cooking a wide range of dishes.

  • Baking dish: A baking dish is a deep, oven-safe dish used for baking casseroles, desserts, and other oven-baked dishes.

  • Baking sheet: A baking sheet is a flat, metal pan used for baking cookies, pastries, and other baked goods in the oven.

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, blending, and pureeing ingredients.

  • Pastry brush: A pastry brush is a kitchen tool with bristles used for applying sauces, glazes, or butter to food.

  • Rolling pin: A rolling pin is a cylindrical tool used to flatten and shape dough for baking.

  • Pastry cutter: A pastry cutter is a handheld tool with curved blades used to cut and blend solid fats into flour when making pastry dough.

  • Muffin tin: A muffin tin is a metal pan with individual cup-shaped indentations used for baking muffins and cupcakes.

Storage and Freezing Guidelines for Optimal Freshness

  • To store leftover shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf, allow it to cool completely to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
  • When ready to reheat, add a splash of chicken broth or water to the pilaf to help rehydrate it and prevent it from drying out. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.
  • To freeze the pilaf, portion it into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date and contents.
  • Frozen shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf can be stored for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw the pilaf overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat the thawed pilaf in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of chicken broth or water to help rehydrate the pilaf and prevent it from drying out during reheating. Stir occasionally until heated through.
  • If you plan to freeze the pilaf, consider slightly undercooking the quinoa and vegetables to help maintain their texture after thawing and reheating.

How To Reheat Leftovers for Best Results

  • To reheat leftover shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf, start by placing the desired portion in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to help retain moisture and prevent the quinoa from drying out. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the pilaf is heated through and steaming.

  • For a stovetop method, place the leftover shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add a splash of chicken broth or water to help rehydrate the quinoa and prevent sticking. Stir frequently, breaking up any clumps, until the pilaf is heated through and slightly crispy on the bottom, about 5-7 minutes. This method will give the pilaf a nice texture and help revive the flavors of the onions, carrots, and mushrooms.

  • If you prefer a more hands-off approach, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf to an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of reheating to allow any excess moisture to evaporate and the top to crisp up slightly. This method is ideal if you're reheating a larger portion or want to keep the pilaf warm for serving.

  • For a quick and easy lunch, transform your leftover shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf into a delicious wrap. Warm the pilaf using one of the above methods, then spoon it onto a large tortilla. Add some fresh baby spinach, diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of feta cheese for extra flavor and texture. Roll up the tortilla tightly, tucking in the ends, and enjoy your satisfying, wholesome meal on the go.

Fascinating Trivia About Shiitake Mushrooms and Quinoa

Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, which are essential for energy production and brain health. They also contain a compound called lentinan, which has been shown to have immune-boosting properties.

Budget-Friendly or Splurge-Worthy?

This shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, quinoa and shiitake mushrooms, are affordable and nutritious. The addition of carrots and pecans enhances the dish's nutritional value without significantly increasing the cost. With a rating of 9/10, this recipe offers great value for money. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $12, making it an economical and wholesome option for families.

Is This Dish Healthy or Not So Much?

The shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf recipe is a healthy and nutritious dish. Here's why:

  • Quinoa is a superfood packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's also gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten sensitivities.
  • Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories and rich in B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also contain compounds that may boost immunity and support heart health.
  • The recipe uses low-sodium chicken broth, which helps reduce the overall salt content.
  • Olive oil is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Onions, carrots, and garlic provide additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as flavor without the need for excessive salt or unhealthy additives.
  • Pecans add healthy fats, protein, and fiber, while parsley contributes vitamins and minerals.

To make this recipe even healthier:

  • Use organic ingredients whenever possible to minimize exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
  • Replace the chicken broth with a vegetable broth to make the dish vegan and reduce the consumption of animal products.
  • Increase the proportion of vegetables to quinoa for added fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Experiment with other nutrient-dense vegetables like kale, spinach, or bell peppers to boost the dish's nutritional value.
  • Reduce the amount of oil used in the recipe or replace some of it with water or vegetable broth for sautéing.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkle of lemon zest for a bright, fresh flavor that can help reduce the need for salt.

Editor's Take: My Honest Opinion

The shiitake mushroom and quinoa pilaf recipe is a delightful combination of earthy flavors and wholesome ingredients. The use of shiitake mushrooms adds a rich, umami taste, while the quinoa provides a satisfying texture. The addition of pecans brings a delightful crunch, and the fresh parsley adds a pop of color and freshness. The dish is well-balanced and nutritious, making it a perfect option for a wholesome meal. The recipe's simplicity and use of natural ingredients make it a standout choice for those seeking a flavorful and healthy dish.

Why trust this Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of quinoa and shiitake mushrooms, providing a rich source of plant-based protein and umami flavor. The inclusion of pecans adds a satisfying crunch, while fresh parsley lends a burst of freshness. With careful attention to detail, this pilaf is a testament to the harmony of wholesome ingredients and flavorful cooking techniques. Trust in the expertise behind this recipe to elevate your culinary experience.

Want to share your experience making this Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms or have any tips to enhance the recipe? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum and let's talk about this delicious and healthy dish!
How can I make this recipe vegetarian?
To make this recipe vegetarian, simply substitute the low sodium chicken broth with vegetable broth. This will ensure that the dish remains flavorful and suitable for vegetarians.
Can I use a different type of mushroom?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of mushroom if you prefer. Cremini or button mushrooms would work well in this recipe as a substitute for shiitake mushrooms.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time. Simply prepare the pilaf as instructed and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, gently reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
How can I add more protein to this dish?
If you'd like to add more protein to this dish, you can incorporate cooked chickpeas, diced tofu, or even cooked chicken or shrimp. Simply stir in your protein of choice when combining the quinoa with the vegetables.
Can I use different nuts in this recipe?
Absolutely! You can use different nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts in place of pecans for a different flavor and texture in the pilaf. Feel free to experiment with your favorite nuts to customize the dish to your liking.

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