Tangerine-Scented Quinoa Pilaf

by Heather on November 30, 2011

First of all I have to show you guys this first photo because I bought a new citrus-juicer and I’m such a proud new mama.  Look how pretty and rustic it looks with the tangerines!  Plus it can kind of annihilate any citrus in a matter of shear seconds.


Yes, I’m proud.  So what?

So last week I bought a huge bag of tangerines with the best intentions of eating every.single.one.  They’re so juicy and sweet – and then I realized that (GASP!) they have seeds in them.  What the what?!  Immediately my thoughts turned to juiced because, well, if I’m being honest picking the seeds out of my food before eating just doesn’t sound that great.  If you have the time and patience though, now is the time to go out and purchase your very own massive bag of tangerines.  I promise you won’t be sorry!


But me?  I’d rather let my colander do the seeding for me.  So the eating plans changed and I made a side dish that’s sure to please and actually is pretty healthy.  It’s got that little something different with the tangerine juice in lieu of water in the quinoa and the orange color is just so pretty!

But as if that’s not enough I went out and did this:  I put pomegranate arils in there.


Yep, it’s true.  I did it, and I’m not sorry!


Quick side story though:  I never had a pomegranate until Nate and I got married.  I don’t know why, but the first time I tried one I thought you could just bite into it.  When that obviously didn’t work I cut it in half to see what I was really dealing with and HO-LY-CRAP I was shocked!  And let me tell you, back in those days one didn’t just Google how to do something (well, we did but I was determined to figure it out).  I wrestled with that sucker for at least an hour and then I realized why we never had them growing up.  (By the way, here’s a great site about pomegranates and they have a link to how to properly remove the arils.  Just in case you’re like me and didn’t know!)


They take for-freaking-ever to de-aril.  But if you have the time then you need to do this.  The texture, the color, and the pop of pomegranate flavor is 100% worth it.


  • 1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup orzo pasta (or broken spaghetti)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed tangerine juice + zest from one tangerine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • arils from one pomegranate (optional)

In a small saucepan melt the butter/heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the orzo and cook until just slightly browned.  Add the quinoa and cook for another 30 seconds.  Pour in the juice, zest,  and water.  Add the salt, pepper and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.  Serve hot with cold pomegranate arils if desired!


**Note: if you do use the pom arils I would highly recommend not mixing them in with the pilaf.  The main reason is because if you have leftovers you’ll want to reheat the quinoa but not the pom arils, so keeping them separate will ensure you can enjoy this again the next day!**

Now that I look at the photos is it wrong for me to want an entire outfit made with these colors?

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