Quinoa Pulao (Vegetable Quinoa Recipe)

Updated: July 2, 2023, By Swasthi

Quinoa Pulao recipe with stovetop & instant pot instructions. Quinoa Pulao is an wholesome & nutritious pilaf made with quinoa, mixed vegetables, spices and herbs. This makes an amazing Breakfast or a meal with Raita. It also goes well in the office and school lunch box. Quinoa is a seed but can be used much like a grain to make different kinds of Indian dishes like pulao, Upma, Khichdi and even curd quinoa.

quinoa pulao

Recipe Comments

Quinoa takes lesser time to cook compared to the other grains. Whenever I decide to prepare a quick meal I make something with quinoa. This quinoa pulao is super quick to make if you have the mixed veggies ready.

This is best served with a raita or at least plain yogurt. While it cooks, make the raita with some onions or cucumber.

To save some chopping time, you may leave out onions and also use frozen veggies like carrots, peas, corn and green beans.

If you are new to using quinoa these tips may help you.


  • Always rub and rinse quinoa very well before using. I rinse even the pre rinsed quinoa as we feel they taste bitter without the extra rinse. This helps to remove any bitter tasting & toxic saponins that are present on the seeds.
  • You can cook this on the stove top or in an instant pot like the way I did.
  • Quinoa doesn’t absorb much of the flavors from spices due to the short cooking time. So I use the whole spices as well but you may leave them out if you do not have.
  • Sometimes I feel ginger doesn’t go well with quinoa. So I have used ginger garlic here. You may avoid ginger completely and add only garlic paste.
quinoa pulao recipe

Photo Guide

How to Make Quinoa Pulao (Stepwise Photos)


1. Add 1 cup quinoa to a large bowl and pour water. Rub them very well for 30 to 50 seconds. Drain the water and repeat the rinse. I use pre rinsed quinoa but still I prefer to rub and rinse them well.

rinsing quinoa in a large bowl

2. Drain them to a colander and shake off gently to get rid of the excess water. Set aside and prepare the veggies. You will need:

  • 1 small onion chopped or sliced (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 green chili pepper chopped or slit
  • ½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ to ½ cup carrots chopped (1 small)
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • 2 to 3 green beans chopped
  • 1 small tomato (optional, chopped finely, I did not use here)
  • 10 to 12 mint leaves / pudina, chopped
draining quinoa in a colander to make pulao

Make Quinoa Pulao

If you do not have a Instant Pot, you can use a regular sauce pan and cook on the stovetop by following the same instructions.

3. Press the saute button on your IP. Pour 1½ to 2 tablespoon oil or ghee to the steel insert. When the oil turns hot, add

  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms.
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
Sauteing spices in instant pot

4. When they begin to sizzle, add the onions and green chilli. Saute until they turn golden. This just takes a minute or 2. Add ginger garlic and saute for 30 seconds. You can also skip ginger and use only garlic.

sauteing onion, chilies and garlic

5. Then add mint, carrots, beans, peas, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala, ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional) and salt. Saute just for 30 seconds. If using tomato, add it here along with the veggies and saute until they break down.

adding mint, spices and veggies to the pot

6. Add quinoa and saute for 30 seconds.

frying quinoa

7. Press the cancel button and pour 1¼ cup water. Please ensure you add the correct amount of water. Mix well at the bottom on the steel insert with a spatula to release any bits of food stuck. Taste the water and add more salt if desired.

If making on the stovetop in a sauce pan, use 2 cups water and bring it to a rolling boil on a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered until all of the water is absorbed. Cover and turn off the heat. Let rest covered for 5 to 7 mins.

pouring water to make quinoa pulao

8. Close the Instant pot with the lid and position the steam release valve or handle to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set the timer for 1 minute.

Update: I have found that old Instant pots (not old models) take longer to cook – 2 to 3 mins. If you are using a new IP, it just takes 1 minute else set it to 2 mins. Mine is a 4.5 years old IP and now takes 3 mins.

pressure cooking quinoa

9. When the Instant pot beeps, press cancel and wait for the pressure to release naturally. Quinoa pulao is done. When it cools down slightly sprinkle lemon juice and serve with raita. You know quinoa is fully cooked when the tails come out, at this stage quinoa is still crunchy.

fluffy quinoa pulao ready in instant pot

Serve Quinoa Pulao with raita or yogurt.

quinoa pulao

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

quinoa pulao

Quinoa Pulao (Vegetable Quinoa Recipe)

5 from 15 votes
Vegetable quinoa pilaf made in Indian style with spices, herbs, mixed veggies and quinoa. Serve it for a meal with raita. Make it in the Instant pot or in a pot on the stovetop.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • 1 small onion chopped or sliced
  • 1 green chili pepper chopped or slit
  • ½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ to ½ cup carrots chopped
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • 2 to 3 green beans chopped
  • 1 small tomato (optional, chopped finely)
  • 10 to 12 mint leaves (pudina) chopped finely
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Whole spices (skip if you do not have)

  • 1 small bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves

Use any one

  • cups water to cook in Instant pot OR
  • 2 cups water to cook in pot



  • Pour quinoa to a large bowl and pour 3 to 4 cups of water. Rub them well for a few seconds and drain the water.
  • Pour more water and rinse them again. I rinse them thrice. Lastly drain them to a colander and set aside. Rinse and chop all the veggies.

How to make Quinoa Pulao in the Instant Pot

  • Press saute button and pour oil to the steel insert. Add all the whole spices. When they sizzle, add onions and chilies. Saute until transparent for 2 mins.
  • Saute ginger garlic paste for 30 seconds and stir in turmeric, salt, red chili powder, garam masala, mint and mixed veggies. Saute until the tomatoes breakdown.
  • Add quinoa and saute for 30 seconds. Press Cancel and pour water. Mix well to release any bits of food stuck. Cover the IP and position the steam release valve to sealing.
    1¼ cups water
  • Pressure cook for 1 min in new IP or 2 to 3 mins in old IP (read notes). Let the pressure drop naturally before opening the lid.
  • Let the quinoa pulao cool down slightly. Taste test and add more salt and lemon juice before serving. Do not stir a lot when it is hot.

Stovetop Quinoa Pulao

  • On a low to medium flame heat oil in a pot. Add all the whole spices.
  • When they begin to sizzle add sliced or chopped onions and chilies. Saute until they turn golden or transparent.
  • Add ginger garlic and fry until you get a nice aroma. Do not burn. Reduce the heat and stir in salt, garam masala, turmeric and chilli powder.
  • Add the chopped veggies and mint. Stir fry for 60 seconds. If using tomato then saute until they break down and turn mushy.
  • Transfer drained quinoa and saute for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour water and give a good stir. Taste test and add more salt if needed.
    2 cups water
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil on a high heat & then reduce the flame to medium. Cook until the quinoa turns tender and absorbs all the water.
  • When quinoa is cooked fully they look transparent. Cover and reduce the flame to low. Let the quinoa pulao rest on the stove for 5 to 7 mins. Squeeze some lemon juice if desired. Serve with raita.


  1. You can also use cauliflower but it turns too mushy and soft.
  2. I have found that old Instant pots (not old models) take longer to cook – 2 to 3 mins. If you are using a new IP, it just takes 1 minute else set it to 2 mins. Mine is a 4.5 years old IP and now takes 3 mins.


Watch Quinoa Pulao Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Quinoa Pulao (Vegetable Quinoa Recipe)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 318 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 75mg3%
Potassium 522mg15%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 2318IU46%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
I tried this wonderful recipe and I strongly recommend it.


Just wanted to make sure if the ginger/garlic is 1/2 tsp? Because in the picture it looks like 1 Tbsp?

Thank you!

Hi! Thanks for this recipe. Is it okay to use frozen veggies? Also, would potatoes taste good here?

you haven’t mentioned at what stage quinoa to be added in quiinoa pulao. otherwise rest is good

5 stars
Amazing recipe. I am inspired from your list of recipes. Your blog is always a savior.

Hi Swasthi,

Is it ok for a toddler to eat quinoa pulao or upma

Thank you Swasthi

If I am to add chicken how many minutes should I cook in Ip. Will it turn mushy. Thank you for all the rexioes . Trying them on the weekends. Looking forward for your ip chicken curry recipe

Have been loving all your Insta recipes and trying them. I made this today.Turned out quite good. Please share insta chicken curry.

5 stars
Hi Swathsthi,
I’m starting on a gluten-free low fat diet to keep my liver healthy. So I looked for a quinoa pulao recipe and found your website. I’m quite impressed by your recipe and am going to try it. I will look for other recipes on your site to help my liver and heart health.
Thank you for being there. Will let you know how I got on.
Jaswant xx