Side dish

Easy & Perfect Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe

Ever since I got my Instant Pot life in the kitchen has gotten much easier. Because I have been doing a lot of meal prep on Sundays for the week ahead, making a large amount of quinoa is part of the process. After looking for the easiest way to make perfect fluffy quinoa I am happy to say I have found an easy & perfect Instant Pot quinoa recipe.

Easy & Perfect Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe

The Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe

With this recipe, I refuse to cook quinoa any other way. This recipe is fool proof and comes out perfect every time. No more starchy, soggy quinoa happening in my kitchen.

The trick is to follow the exact measurements and cooking times in the recipe. Since I am cooking for the week I make a big batch using 3 cups of uncooked quinoa. I like to rinse it under cold water before I place it in the pot. Not sure if there is any benefit to this but it is just something I do before I cook most things. After rinsing I place the quinoa in the instant pot, add a tablespoon olive oil, spices and mix to allow the spices and olive oil to distributed evenly.

Cooking grains with broth instead of water gives them more flavor so I highly recommend it for this recipe. I then add 3 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth to the quinoa, stir a little and cover the instant pot. Always make sure the knob at the top is set to the sealing position before cooking.

This next step is very important as it determines the texture of your quinoa. If using the Instant Pot, press the manual button, select the high pressure setting and adjust to 2 minutes cooking time. Yes, this is not a typo. 2 minutes is all you need. Let the instant pot do it’s thing and after the 2 minutes are over let it naturally release for exactly 15 minutes then turn the knob to vent to allow the pressure to release quickly. Letting the instant pot naturally release for more than 15 minutes will lead to soggy quinoa so it is a good idea to set a timer in case you forget.

After you have let the Instant Pot Pressure cooker vent, open the pot, turn it off and fluff with a fork. You will be really happy with the results! Perfect fluffy quinoa, grains are separated and have a little bite to them.

Cooked Quinoa

There are so many recipes to use this quinoa with. I like to place the cooked in a large glass container in the fridge and use it for all sorts of lunch combinations throughout the week. Here are some examples:

3 Different ways to to use cooked quinoa for lunch

  • Add quinoa to a small lunch container and top with curried chickpeas, diced peppers, diced cucumber, diced cherry tomatoes. Carry a small container with olive oil, mustard and lemon juice and drizzle when you are ready to eat. I also like to take an avocado with me and add it when I’m ready to eat.
  • Place arugula, spinach or leaves into a medium lunch container. Add sliced red bell peppers, sliced Persian cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, sliced, red onion (optional), leftover grilled chicken pieces and top with quinoa for a tasty and filling salad.
  • Mix cooked quinoa with, chopped cucumber, black beans, diced red onion, corn, diced cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of chopped jalapeño, cumin and dried oregano for a delicious Tex mex salad.

Don’t like quinoa? no problem I have a fool proof Instant Pot Coconut Rice recipe for you here!

Print Recipe
Easy & Perfect Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe
Cooked Quinoa
Course Side dish
Prep Time 1 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Quinoa
  • 3 1/2 cups Low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tsp Spices of your choice
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Course Side dish
Prep Time 1 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Quinoa
  • 3 1/2 cups Low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tsp Spices of your choice
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Cooked Quinoa
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa under cold running water, place in the the instant pot and mix with spices and olive oil. Add chicken broth stir and seal pot. Make sure knob is set to the sealing position.
  2. Press the manual button, select the high pressure setting and adjust to 2 minutes cooking time.
  3. After the 2 minutes have passed the pressure cook will automatically go to keep warm status as it naturally releases pressure. Let it naturally release for 15 minutes and then turn the knob to venting.
  4. After pressure is released, turn off and open the pot, fluff quinoa with a fork and voila! Ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

Curry, cumin, moroccan seasoning are my favorite spices for this recipe but you can use any spice you like. 

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

Sponsored post written by me on behalf of DaVinci Pasta. The opinions and text are all mine.

You know that moment when you get home, open the fridge and just stare at it as if some dish is going to miraculously appear? This happened the other day when I had no idea what to cook until I noticed a bag of precut veggies sitting in the fridge. I then remembered I had received some bags of DaVinci Orzo pasta a few days before. If there is a pasta that goes well with veggies it is Orzo pasta. I had all I needed to make a delicious Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

For the beginner cook wondering what Orzo is; It is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. Because of its similarity to rice it is often used as a rice substitute. DaVinci Orzo pasta is made in Italy with the finest ingredients, making it the perfect canvas for creative meal ideas like this Zesty Orzo and Veggie Pasta Salad. DaVinci Orzo can be found in Italian markets as well as a variety of grocery stores including your local store. The different varieties of DaVinci Pasta can be found using the product locator

Orzo pasta is very popular in salads because it goes very well with crunchy veggies and it is a good way to bulk up a salad. It is great in soups, pilafs, casseroles and risotto. In the cold weather, a hot bowl of lemon chicken orzo soup is my favorite. Another fun way to use Orzo pasta is to stuff it into halved avocados or tomatoes for pretty presentation.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

My Orzo Salad is quick, easy and there are so many ingredients that can be added to it. Delicious possibilities include cucumbers, radishes, dill, tomatoes, red onion, green peas, asparagus, feta, basil and more. You simply cannot go wrong with Orzo as it goes well with many things.

I spiced up my orzo salad with a little curry. The addition of curry may seem a little strange in this dish but it does not overpower the dish at all. I added a little lemon juice which mellows the strong curry flavor. The curry creates a unique depth in flavor unlike any orzo salad you will have. Another unexpected ingredient in this salad is capers which provide a hint of saltiness.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie SaladZesty Orzo and Veggie SaladThis zesty Orzo and veggie salad can be served warm and it will keep well in the fridge for a few days. It makes a great take to work lunch meal. Since I made more than enough for dinner, my fiancé and I were able to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Orzo salad can be served with any protein from chicken, beef, pork or fish like I did. If you like you can eat it alone or even top with a fried or poached egg.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

Looking for more Orzo salad inspiration? Check out my delicious Orzo and Hearts of Palm Salad recipe too.

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Print Recipe


Veggie Orzo Salad

zesty orzo and veggie salad

Course Side dish

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes

Servings
people


Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 3 cups mixed veggies broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts,
  • 1 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp capers
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • red and yellow peppers sliced
  • Lemon zest

Course Side dish

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes

Servings
people


Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 3 cups mixed veggies broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts,
  • 1 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp capers
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • red and yellow peppers sliced
  • Lemon zest

zesty orzo and veggie salad


Instructions
  1. Cook orzo per package directions

  2. While the pasta water is coming to a boil, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, ginger, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper. Set aside

  3. In a large wok sauté onion for 3 minutes. Add curry powder and cook another 2 minutes. Add mixed veggies to onions and cook for 5 minutes until veggies are tender but still have a bite to them.

  4. Drain orzo and rinse under cold water.

  5. When the pasta and vegetables are ready, transfer them to a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Taste the salad and adjust salt and pepper as desired.

Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schreiber Foods, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.

I was recently invited to a summer barbecue and the host told me to bring a fun, savory dish. I thought to myself, what is one thing everybody loves? Macaroni and Cheese was the answer! I remember watching a Food Network chef make Macaroni and Cheese in cupcake form and decided that was what I was going to do. I knew the kids and adults would enjoy this fun take on Macaroni and Cheese. I had also been dying to use the Heluva Good!® Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese that I had got on sale at Big Y so this recipe was meant to be.

Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

I used real cheese in these cupcakes, no boxed mac n cheese allowed! The Heluva Good! Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese is perfect for Macaroni and Cheese because of its tangy flavor and sharp taste. One thing that I refuse to do is make Macaroni and Cheese without cheddar cheese, it just makes the taste difference.

Heluva Good! Cheese has the best cheese, and they have various cheese flavors including Colby Jack and Jalapeño Jack. The Jalapeño Jack is another favorite of mine for those times when I need a little spice, it is simply Monterey Jack Cheese with Jalapeño Peppers. I love to shred some into my breakfast tortilla wraps, so good! Give Heluva Good! Cheese a try if you haven’t. I find that their cheese is perfect for any occasion and provides plenty of recipe possibilities for quick snacks or tasty bites for entertaining.  Once you do, you will realize why it has that awesome name.

These individual sized portions of creamy, cheesy macaroni are the perfect solution to bring to a party and wow your guests. I ate one of them with a side salad and grilled chicken, it was amazing. They would also make a great side dish to beef, pork or just by themselves for non meat eaters. There is even broccoli and tomatoes in them so you can feel good about getting in some veggies and the kids will happily eat that broccoli. I received a lot of compliments about how pretty they looked and how they tasted amazing. I knew this recipe will be one for the books and certainly one that I would use for summertime eating and parties!Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

These Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes are also a great way to recreate a kid-friendly meal into an easily transportable snack option. What is fantastic is that they’re nice and easy to put together, and would make a great inclusion to a child’s lunchbox as well. Try making these with the kids for a fun bonding experience.

Save on Heluva Good! Cheese

Earlier I was talking about how much I love Heluva Good! Cheese and I would love for you to try it. You can find it at most grocery stores located in the refrigerated block cheese section.
To save on your next Heluva Good! cheese purchase at Big Y, click here for the coupon!

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Print Recipe
Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces small elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups grated Heluva Good Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 cups steamed or blanched brocolli
  • 1 cups dried panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp. Melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 3 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. truffle oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces small elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups grated Heluva Good Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 cups steamed or blanched brocolli
  • 1 cups dried panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp. Melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 3 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. truffle oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place non stick cupcake holders in a jumbo muffin pan. I used 2 trays which made 12 jumbo cupcakes.
  2. Cook elbow macaroni per packet directions. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool for 8 minutes. Meanwhile mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and set aside
  3. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until bubbling and flour turns golden. gradually stir in milk until mixture is smooth.
  4. Remove from heat. Add sauce to macaroni. Add the cheese. Add mustard powder, minced garlic, chives and truffle oil. Season with salt, pepper and mix until well combined.
  5. Divide the macaroni mix evenly into the holes of the muffin tins until they are filled about 3 quarters full. Make sure to press the mixture down.
  6. Top with broccoli, tomatoes and bread crumb mix. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Orzo & Hearts of Palm Salad with lemon dill dressing

Just when I thought I had tried every ingredient, hearts of palm came along. If you have not heard of hearts of palm, they are a delicious vegetable that comes from the stem of palm trees. Hearts of Palm are considered a delicacy and have started gaining some traction in the food world. One of my favorite ways of using hearts of palm is in an Orzo & Hearts of Palm Salad with lemon dill dressing. My go to brand is Reese Hearts of Palm. It is absolutely the best tasting.

Orzo & Hearts of Palm Salad with lemon dill dressingThe crunchy texture of hearts of palm makes them wonderful additions salads including this Orzo & Hearts of Palm Salad with lemon dill dressing. The addition of fresh cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts with the lemon and dill dressing makes a delicious combo sure to be a hit at any summer cook out.

I only use the Reese brand because all their Hearts of Palm products are Non-GMO verified, low cholesterol, rich in potassium and very versatile. The convenience is a plus too, just open the package and you are good to go!

In addition to hearts of palm, Reese also has artichoke hearts, capers, anchovies, water chestnuts and more. I especially love the artichoke hearts which are great on pizza and in a spinach artichoke dip. I highly recommend trying the Hearts of Palm & the Artichoke Hearts. Best of all you can earn rebates on Reese products if you download the Ibotta app.

I always love to know when you try my recipes and look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences. You can share photos of your dishes on Instagram and be sure to tag Reese on Instagram

FYI: This post is in partnership with Reese. As always, the images and content in this post are my own.  

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Print Recipe
Orzo & Hearts of Palm Salad with lemon dill dressing
Course Side dish
Cuisine Meditterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 4 cups Whole Wheat Orzo pasta
  • 1 cup Reese Canned Hearts of Palm
  • 3 tbsp Reese Artichoke Hearts
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 small yellow or red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 3 stems green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium lemon zested and juiced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Course Side dish
Cuisine Meditterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 4 cups Whole Wheat Orzo pasta
  • 1 cup Reese Canned Hearts of Palm
  • 3 tbsp Reese Artichoke Hearts
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 small yellow or red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 3 stems green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium lemon zested and juiced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt, black pepper and set aside.
  2. Cook Orzo per package instructions for about 12 minutes till cooked. Make sure pasta is aldente and not overcooked and mushy.
  3. When pasta is cooked rinse it it under cold water to remove excess starch and place in a large bowl.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, dressing and mix gently. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to combine.

Veggie Pasta Salad with Mustard Dressing

Easy and delicious veggie pasta salad with mustard dressing. The addition of Colman’s Mustard gives extra flavor to this salad. Great for your weekend barbecue, lunch or work potluck. We had ours with grilled lamb skewers for a nice summer meal.

Veggie Pasta Salad with Mustard Dressing

This salad is very simple, literally anyone can make it! You can add any vegetables of your choice, I used flash steamed broccoli, peas and sweet corn kernels. Fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, Persian cucumbers and tricolored peppers add more crunch and nutrition to the salad.

Veggie Pasta Salad with Mustard Dressing

What really sets this salad apart from regular pasta salads is the use of Colman’s Mustard which adds a nice complex flavor. I find that no other mustard matches up to the Colman’s brand probably because they have been making mustard for decades and clearly know how to make the best mustard. Did you know that Colman’s is one of the oldest existing food brands around? They have been making mustard since the 1800’s which is pretty awesome!

There are so many ways to use Colman’s Mustard and here are some of my favorite way to use this wonderful yellow mustard:

  •  Add some to your mac and cheese recipe to create an above average mac and cheese that tastes amazing.
  • Mix it into dressings, marinades and barbecue sauces. This veggie salad with mustard dressing is a nice example of how you can incorporate Colman’s Mustard to your dressing.
  •  Add the Dry Mustard Powder to your spice rub mix for super delicious chicken or steak.
  • Include mustard to your sandwiches, hotdogs or mix with horseradish, sour cream and minced onion for a nice pretzel dip.

I could name lots more ways to use Colman’s Mustard, but that could take all day! Hope you will get to try this veggie pasta salad with mustard dressing or try one of the suggestions above. Don’t forget to tag me and @ColmansUSA on Instagram when you make this dish. I always look forward to seeing how yours turns out.

FYI: This sponsored post is in collaboration with Colman’s Mustard however the content, opinions and images in this post are my own.

Print Recipe
Pasta salad with mayo mustard recipe
Veggie Pasta Salad with Mustard Dressing
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 4 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup fresh sweetcorn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Colman’s Prepared Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Colman’s Mustard Powder
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 4 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup fresh sweetcorn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Colman’s Prepared Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Colman’s Mustard Powder
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Veggie Pasta Salad with Mustard Dressing
Instructions
  1. Cook macaroni per package directions until aldente. While macaroni is cooking: steam peas, broccoli and sweetcorn for 5 minutes. Chop onions, mince garlic and slice peppers and set aside.
  2. Drain cooked pasta, add the veggies to pasta followed by mayonnaise, Colman’s Mustard, minced garlic, pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix gently.
  3. Let salad sit for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine then serve with your protein of choice.

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