Free-Form Herbed Pea and Quinoa Pilaf

If you’ve ever had a taste of fresh peas, you know they’re well-worth all the monotonous shelling effort they require.  I’ve done hours of this kind of pea drudgery for my parents, yet I still look forward to when they come in season every year.  The little balls are bursting with a super sweetness that can’t be matched, needing just a little butter/olive oil and S&P to create a satisfying snack.

At the last farmer’s market I helped work, I noticed many of the customers passing over the regular peas for snow peas.  Often, they’d tell me, I want the ones that don’t require any of that prep.  I would’ve convinced them otherwise, but that meant more for me, so I passed on the pea persuasion.

Really, if you sit down and watch a little TV before dinner, and shell some peas while you’re at it, the whole pea prep. isn’t that bad.  I ended up taking advantage of some slow time I had at the farmer’s markets to start freeing a few peas from their pod for myself.  By the end of the day, I had a whole bag at my disposal.

I added them to this free-formed quinoa salad, along with some fresh herbs from the garden.  I love light, summery salads like these, especially when creamy avocado is thrown in the mix too.  And as light as this salad is, it’s packed with protein.  Peas have 5 grams per cup, and quinoa has 8 grams per cup, making this a great meat-free, protein-filled dish. Use whatever amount of each ingredient you desire.  You really can’t go wrong when you are utilizing fresh ingredients.

Free-Form Herbed Pea and Quinoa Pilaf


  • -Quinoa
  • -Cooked Peas
  • -Avocado, diced and sprinkled with salt
  • -Red onion, finely chopped
  • -Basil, fresh, diced
  • -Thyme, fresh, diced
  • -Lemon, squeezed
  • -Soy sauce or salt, to taste
  • -Pepper or hot sauce, to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients together, and voilà!

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  • Reply
    Simply Life
    June 20, 2011 at 7:22 am

    ooh now I want some peas!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I love fresh peas. My mom always grew them in her garden, and I have fond memories… It’s been a while since I had some. I actually love to peel them when I have time, Not so great for weekend dinners, but perfect weekend/leisure food!

    Your quinoa salad looks great!

  • Reply
    Nicole, RD
    June 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I couldn’t agree more…its no biggie. People snip green beans happily and that takes just as much effort!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I need to make pillafs more…I seem to forget about them.
    As for shelling peas…I find it sorta…almost theraputic, lol. It`s just sort of a homey, fun thing to do. 🙂

  • Reply
    The Teenage Taste
    June 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Mmmm…this looks fabulous! I’m a sucker for a good salad, especially if it has quinoa in it! Thanks for sharing, Grace! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Just found you through foodgawker and think your approach is great. I fell in deep, maniacal love with fresh peas this year and couldn’t agree more that they’re worth the shelling. It’s like therapy. I like the texture you’ve created with this recipe. It’s soft, like a kinder and gentler, salad. I’m giving the quinoa, avocado, peas a try. Thanks

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    June 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I guess peas don’t really interest me a whole lot, and when I do buy them, I buy frozen. Most recipes call for frozen peas, have you noticed that? Maybe because fresh take too long. But of course, anything that’s worth having is not easy, so that extra time you take to prepare the peas makes it that much more worth it! Your salad creation sounds delicious. I’m SO into avocados lately!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I’ll be honest, I usually go for the sugar snaps (but that’s partially because I think they’re better than candy. So deliciously sweet!). Next farmer’s market, I’m definitely picking up some shelling peas thanks to you! This dish is inspiring!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 11:40 am

    This looks super good–I love fresh peas in the summertime and recently discovered how easy it is to make quinoa! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I love shelling peas! When mine are ready, I’ll for sure keep this recipe in mind – I’m a huge fan of quinoa too!

  • Reply
    sheila @ Elements
    June 22, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Looks fabulous!!! And I just adore fresh peas…always have!!! I’ve always love shelling peas, but more often than not, I end up eating many of the peas and the pods so don’t end up shelling much. 🙂 Fresh peas are like candy to me. Anyway, I’m gonna have to try this pilaf! I know I would love it! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Yum, that looks so fresh and delicious! I love that it’s vegan. Definitely bookmarking this to try out sometime.

  • Reply
    Free Indian Food Photos Salad – INDIAN FOOD
    June 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    […] Free-Form Herbed Pea and Quinoa Pilaf « Food-Fitness-FreshAirDescription : I added them to this free-formed quinoa salad, along with some fresh herbs from the garden. I love light, summery salads like these, especially when creamy avocado is thrown in the mix too. And as light as this salad is, … .. […]

  • Reply
    David @ SaladPride
    July 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Lovely recipe and lovely blog!

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