“Microwavable” Quinoa and Basmati Pilaf

Rice and Quinoa pilaf

My niece is on Spring Break from college, and we were talking about the access to good vegan food while living in student housing.  She said I was tantalizing her with recipes that she couldn’t make.  Poor hungry girl.  I admit, most of my recipes would be pretty hard to prepare without an oven.  :\

She needed nutritious and delicious food that could be made on a tight budget, with little effort.  So, she came over to my kitchen and helped me create a recipe for when she returns to her dorm.

This is a simple rice and quinoa blend with a creamy almond sauce.  It’s filling too.

The entire dish can be made with just a blender and a microwave, in about 25 minutes.  And, it boasts just 10 ingredients that most people will have in their pantry.  Okay, maybe not most people, but the ingredients are pretty common vegan staples.

The entire experience was also very helpful for me, because my oven actually broke the other day.  (Yes, I totally freaked out).  Happily, I have learned that it is  possible to cook quinoa and rice in a microwave; therefore, there is no need to panic if you are without a stove.

So, this post is dedicated to all of you wonderful readers -without ovens or rice cookers – who are hungry for a yummy home-cooked meal.

“Microwavable” Quinoa and Basmati Pilaf


  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup quinoa-we used red
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup almonds, soaked for at least an hour
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp COLD water.. make sure it’s all dissolved
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk- we used almond
  • 1 tsp salt… and then salt to taste after cooking if you would like (I kinda have a slight salt addiction, so I added more)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp turmeric


The microwave time will depend on your wattage, etc… I have a 1000 watt microwave- so adjust accordingly.  You can always stop the microwave and check the progress of the rice halfway through.

Place rice, quinoa and water in a large, microwavable-safe bowl.  Stir.  Cook on medium power for about 8-10 minutes.

Check on the rice at this point, as it may be done.  The best way to tell is by taking a tiny bite of the rice.  If it has the texture of a chewy rock, it needs more time.  An additional 2 minutes should do the trick.  If your microwave is a lower wattage, it may take a bit longer.

When it is finished cooking, allow rice to remain in microwave for 10 minutes (while you make the sauce)… don’t stir, and make sure the door stays closed.

Place almonds, tahini, non-dairy milk, prepared cornstarch, salt, and spices into blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth.

Combine sauce with rice and quinoa into the microwavable bowl and microwave an additional 2 minutes.

Fluff with fork and serve.

quinoa and basmati rice pilaf

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15 Responses to “Microwavable” Quinoa and Basmati Pilaf

  1. Danielle says:

    Indeed, this pilaf looks beyond yummy.

    I’d like to say that right now we are living in temporary living conditions and I cook all meals with a toaster oven, including bread. It works great!

  2. Granny Smith says:

    The quinoia/basmati rice dish sounds great. I must eat GF

  3. […] for added flavor, and, with a college student’s limited kitchen facilities in mind, her recipe relies on a microwave. (You can easily convert it to a stovetop method.) Don’t jump to the […]

  4. […] for added flavor, and, with a college student’s limited kitchen facilities in mind, her recipe relies on a microwave. (You can easily convert it to a stovetop method.) Don’t jump to the […]

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  7. VeggieGirl says:

    Incredible recipe and method .

    I love this ENTIRE site!! So glad I found it :)

  8. This is AWESOME! What a clever way to prepare delicious and healthy food. It looks absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to give the recipe a try.

  9. lexi says:

    this looks so simple and delicious! us college kids really appreciate speedy, healthy recipes like this :)

  10. Mary says:

    That does sound good! I make things like this for lunch all the time. I have the opposite restriction–I have an oven and stove, but no microwave. When we moved we just decided not to buy one for the new house, and I honestly don’t miss it! I reheat leftovers in a pot on the stove. I end up washing more pots, but I also don’t worry about cooking in plastic. What a cool aunt you are!

    • allyson says:

      Nora~ Congrats!!

      K~ its definitely quicker and less stressful to put it in a bowl and press “start”.. :)

      Mary~ Thank you!
      I wouldn’t miss the microwave either (and I love washing pots! I know, I’m weird) -although, I am happy to have it when the oven breaks!!

  11. K says:

    Wow, that looks really yummy! I have a fully equipped kitchen but this looks like a great thing for those nights I get home late and just want to eat NOW!

  12. Nora says:

    I’m graduating in a couple months, but I can still always use a simple recipe! :)