Quinoa-Bulgur Pilaf with Corn and Jalapenos

I personally love quinoa. It is a superfood. I also love bulgur. We don’t eat nearly enough of either.

The original recipe for this pilaf only calls for quinoa, but I realized too late I didn’t have enough. (Should have listened to that little voice in my head as I passed by the quinoa at Trader Joe’s the other day…)

You can use all quinoa with delicious results, or use some bulgur, like I did. Other changes I made to the recipe were simple–I used my cast-iron skillet instead of a pot, therefore requiring more liquid to be added. (Sort of like in risotto or my rice pilaf recipe.) I also substituted Serrano chilies for the jalapeños.

Quinoa-Bulgur Pilaf with Corn and Jalapeños (or Serranos)
Adapted from The Best Light Recipe by The Editors of Cooks’ Illustrated magazine

2 tsp. canola oil
1 1/2 cups frozen, thawed corn (or 2 medium ears of fresh corn)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
3 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken stock
2 medium jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed and minced (I used two serranos)
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
ground black pepper

Heat 1 tsp. oil in a large skillet (or saucepan–remember to use less liquid!) over medium heat until shimmering. Add the corn and cook, stirring frequently, until corn starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer corn to a bowl; set aside.

Add the onion, remaining teaspoon oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt to the skillet/saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the quinoa, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the quinoa lightly browns and becomes aromatic, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and jalapeños and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover (I didn’t do this, hence the extra liquid needing to be added) and simmer until the quionoa is transparent and tender, 16 to 18 minutes. (Check it to make sure it’s not burning on the bottom or needs more broth or water.)

Remove the skillet/pot from the heat and lay a clean, folded kitchen towel underneath the lid. Let stand for 10 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the cilantro, lime juice, and reserved corn and season with salt and pepper to taste. (You may not need much salt.)

Per serving: Cal 270; Fat 5 g; Chol 0 mg; Carb 48 g; Protein 9 g; Fiber 5 g; Sodium 380 mg

Last time I made it, I used all quinoa and it was great. We ate it with sauteed shrimp, Tomatillo-Serrano chile sauce and lime wedges.

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  1. Do you think I can not use bulgur and substitute more quinoa instead? The only bulgur wheat I could find at the market was super expensive.

  2. Kiasa–

    YES!!! The original recipe calls for only quinoa. I just didn’t have enough on hand. One thing about bulgur–If you can find the Goya brand it is much cheaper for a bag.

  3. I must have been really out of it when I left that last comment, since your post mentions that the original recipe called for just quinoa AND I actually had some bulgur in the back of my cupboard.

    I made this recipe (with your adaptations) last weekend and it was fantastic! My husband said it is now in our “favorites” recipe binder. And he is a super picky guy. We even ate the cold leftovers on those really hot, humid days and it was still tasty.


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