{ WEEKLY STAPLE! }: Giada’s Quinoa Pilaf

Giada can do no wrong

I am obsessed with Giada de Laurentiis.

TL;DR – Recipe here

Seriously.

It is pretty out of hand. It started around high school, for fun, I started watching The Food Network. I was never really into cooking at the time, and my diet was horrendous, but I found watching the shows fun. My two standout favourites, and remain true to this day, were Ina Garten & Giada de Laurentiis.

I’ll do a post on Ina another day, because she is a MAJOR #WCW – SERIOUSLY awesome stories – but let’s talk Giada…

{ Giada de Laurentiis. }

In college, I really found my love for cooking, and all things food & beverage. I would watch Giada’s shows religiously. I was still getting into cooking – and had dreams of going to culinary school at the time – so I would literally copy everything Giada did and followed her like a creepy ex-boyfriend who just cannot let go. Speaking of, anyone else still sad that her Target line was discontinued?! #THEBEST

Whenever I was cooking to impress starting as early as 2007, I went straight to Giada’s recipes. In fact, to this day, I have some recipes of her that I refer to as secret weapons. Seriously, they are so good, EASY, impressive and delicious.

…My Secret Weapons via Giada include:

Champagne Risotto { THIS IS A MUST!!! Seriously a sexy meal to prepare and so easy. I cannot even begin to tell you how good this is & is my secret recipe to pull out of my sleeve. Phenomenal. }
Fusilli with Sausage & Artichokes { Super man friendly & I loooove artichokes! I make it with hot turkey sausage, whole wheat fusilli & extra chili flakes! }
Espresso Panna Cotta { in fact, I like to spike this one – I had someone who knows a thing or two about cooking once tell me that this was the best panna cotta they have ever had.. panna cotta was their favourite dessert so this was a major win }
Parisian Steak & Cheese Croissant Sandwiches { perfect for a sexy lil picnic with some sexy wine – seriously what guy wouldn’t love these?! …other than a gluten free vegetarian, of course }

And my absolute favourite…

QUINOA PILAF! ⚜

{ Giada de Laurentiis's Quinoa Pilaf - Quick, easy, light, & delicious! This is a staple in my kitchen // Champagne at Shannon's }

Like all of the recipes mentioned above, I saw her prepare quinoa pilaf on the Food Network and I knew instantly I needed it in my arsenal.

On that show, she was promoting her new book, Feel Good Food { also referenced to in this post } which has a strong focus on what she cooks for herself. She is constantly asked how she stays so trim with a job like hers, and one of her answers is this book!

All of the recipes are healthy, satiating and full of lean protein, and many are vegetarian friendly. One thing I really enjoy about the book is that she explains each recipe, how she likes to prepare them at home, and the inspiration to them. For mothers who are looking to introduce their child to healthy eating, I absolutely recommend this book. She explains which ones helped her daughter, Jade, eat more greens, and the desserts are fantastic! In fact, this book is wonderful for anyone looking to add more healthy recipes to their regular rotation… Not to mention, the photography is absolutely stunning #bloggoals

This quinoa pilaf is a favourite of mine because, shocker alert, it is extremely versatile!

For starters, you can enjoy it how you like: hot or cold, and it will keep for days. I actually like it better the second day as a salad at work! You can also use whatever you like. I make mine pretty close to hers but with a few adaptions. Rather than herbs, I use a ton of greens { spinach and kale or my greenz }, I also use a bit more wine because #yolo, and sometimes I’ll shred up some spa chicken and mix it in.

The recipe calls for chicken broth, but you can easily use vegetable broth to make it vegan. Use equal amounts liquid to quinoa. I like to use 1 cup of quinoa for 2 people, so that means 1 cup of broth. Easy.

I made this a few weeks ago on Instagram and then again on Snapchat on Tuesday as I was preparing it for my boyfriend and I and it was a major hit. Though I’ve only put it on the internet world twice, I honestly make this at LEAST once a week. It is such a staple of mine that I never get bored of. Speaking of, I am LOVING using SnapChat as a peek to what recipes I am making and it’s a fun way to do a sneak peek on what will be on the blog – kind of like an insider’s look as to what I am making before it is on the blog 😉

{ Giada de Laurentiis's Quinoa Pilaf - Quick, easy, light, & delicious! This is a staple in my kitchen // Champagne at Shannon's }

If you want to make this even easier, I urge you, take my advice and mise-en-place! Seriously!

It is SUCH a time saver and a big reason why I started showing it all on Snapchat. Cut up your vegetables, put them in mini bowls. Measure out your broth, measure out your wine { to be honest, I just eye ball this and the more the better for me }, and measure out your quinoa, before you even get started.

Then, as you cook, you literally can just pour it as needed, toss the bowl in the sink, and go. The clean up is EASY, literally, just bowls & cutting boards that you can hand wash {aka I don’t have a dishwasher #sfstudiolife} as the quinoa cooks, and then as the quinoa sits, prepare your toppings.

Seriously, mise-en-place is a big deal in professional kitchens because it allows so much efficiency and control. I linked to what I use at the bottom of this post. Minus the Ed Hardy cup circa 2009 ?

?? FOR BLOGGERS ?? :: Mise-en-place will make photography SO MUCH easier ESPECIALLY via smart phone. Not only will it aid in cooking and cleanup, but makes for some great photos! Seriously, this is my MAJOR key.

Go ahead and have so much fun with this. As far as toppings, I recommend: hemp hearts, scallions, green herbs {parsley, tarragon, thyme, mint}, citrus juice or zest, carrots, sweet potatoes {even better if you have some left over – these are my all time favourite }, onions, Parmesan, cherry tomatoes, flax seeds…. the options are seriously endless. Giada uses toasted almonds which are lovely as well!

Per usual, quantities not included. Use as many vegetables as your heart & tastebuds desire, but be sure to use a 1 : 1 ratio of quinoa to liquid. Oil will be used to cook the vegetables and to toast the quinoa briefly, so I just eyeball it, but you can use 1-2 tbsps if you feel more comfortable with a unit.

As far as wine, if I am cooking for just myself, I use either what I have open or what I am about to crack open to drink with this. For this recipe, I used Iron Horse’s Un-Oaked Chardonnay which paired beautifully both in the cooking, sipping while cooking, and sipping while eating! win x win x win

Quinoa Pilaf adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

{ Giada de Laurentiis's Quinoa Pilaf - Quick, easy, light, & delicious! This is a staple in my kitchen // Champagne at Shannon's }

Ingredients :

– Olive Oil
– Shallot, minced
– Garlic, minced
– Red Pepper, diced
– Salt
– Pepper
– Quinoa { I like to buy bulk Sprouted Quinoa from Whole Foods }
– White Wine { I used an unoaked chardonnay I was sipping on, but any dry white will do }
– Chicken Broth

Add-Ins :
– Cucumber
– Spinach
– Kale
– Cucumber, diced
– Lemon

Optional :

– Vegetable Broth

Other Add-Ins :
– Spa Chicken
– Greenz
– Sweet potatoes
– Hemp Hearts
– Flax Seeds
– Scallions

:: In ratio :: 
1 quinoa : 1 liquid : vegetables and toppings to liking

Recipe :

  1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook for one minute. Then add bell pepper, salt & pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until the pepper is tender.
  2. With a spatula, move the vegetables to the side, leaving space in the center of the pain. Add a bit more oil, and add the quinoa. Stir the quinoa & vegetables until everything is coated with oil. 2 minutes max.
  3. Add wine, and cook until the liquid evaporates, this will happen almost instantaneously, 2 minutes more max. Then add the broth and bring it to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer until all the broth is absorbed… 10 – 15 minutes.
    ›› Optional: Use Vegetable broth for a vegan dish.
  4.  When finished, remove from heat, & let it sit covered for at least 10 minutes.
    ›› Optional: Start prepping your toppings or mix-ins now while it sits.
  5. Fluff quinoa with a fork, stir in add-ins of your choice, add a squeeze of lemon, top with a kiss of more salt & pepper
  6. Enjoy! Serve warm or chilled. Make extra so you can bring it to work the next day. So yum.

Enjoy! If you make this, I would LOVE to see! Post it on Instagram, tag or mention me @shannonsilver and use the hashtag #champagnefordinner

Any fun weekend plans? Anyone else as obsesssed with Giada as I am?!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I opted for A16 over Red Lobster for Valentine’s Day 😉

{ Giada photo via William’s Sonoma Blog – great interview with her too }

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about essellesse

essellesse is a lazy luxury lifestyle platform by Shannon Silver focusing on everything that’s important to living your best life – great food, wine, travel, vintage style, fitness and skincare. essellesse evokes a style of lazy luxury that’s fun, intimate, and easy breezy.

@_shannonsilver on instagram