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Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa {Vegan Quinoa Recipe}

This Instant Pot Quinoa is so flavorful and cooks in only one minute! A delicious quinoa side dish that is full of crunchy veggies and a zesty flavor. If you skip cooking quinoa because it takes too long, you’ll love how fast pressure cooker quinoa comes together.

a bowl of instant pot quinoa with veggies on a white board with lime and cilantro

Want to hear a secret?  You know quinoa, the superfood that everyone tells us we need to be eating more of?

Not a fan. I think it tastes like gritty bland poop.

Now there is a visual for you!  Not exactly a culinary delight in my opinion.

I challenged myself to make a quinoa salad that even I would eat.  After a few tries, I felt like Doc Brown in Back to the Future realizing that the Delorean had to go 88 mph.  Not 87, not 89, but 88.

If you are a quinoa hater, like I used to be, I’d highly recommend you give this one a try before writing it off completely. This dish is inexpensive to make, it produces a ton of food, and it’s perfect for when you don’t want to heat up your house by using the oven for more complex side dishes.
 
And since you’re making it in the Instant Pot, it will done in no time! If you’re looking for more speedy sides, check out these Instant Pot Side Dishes for more inspiration.

If you are new to pressure cooking and the Instant Pot, check out this post on recipes for Instant Pot beginners.

How Long Does Quinoa Take in the Instant Pot?

This instant pot quinoa cooks in only 1 minute. ONE! 

Of course, the Instant Pot has to come up to pressure and depressurize which takes about 20(ish) minutes total depending on the size of your Instant Pot.

If you’re used to making quinoa on the stovetop, you’ll love the texture of it in a pressure cooker. It’s fluffier, lighter, and doesn’t take freaking forever!

Ingredients in this Vegan Quinoa Recipe

For the main salad we’re rocking:

  • Quinoa (obvs)
  • Broth – use your favorite
  • Olive oil
  • Veggies – carrots, celery, edamame, cucumber
  • Other great stuff – green onion and cilantro (if you’re of the “it tastes like soap” crew, just skip it)

For the sauce:

  • Sweet chili sauce & rice vinegar
  • Garlic & ginger
  • Lime juice

Tips for the Best Quinoa

  • Rinse that ish! Rinsing the quinoa removes the natural saponins that coat quinoa. This leads to a super bitter taste in the cooked product. Most quinoa sold in stores today has been pre-rinsed, but it’s also great to give it a rinse in a wire mesh strainer.
  • Keep a 1:1 quinoa to liquid ratio.
  • Measure the quinoa before rinsing it. Once you rinse it, the quinoa will increase in volume and the liquid to seed ratio will seem off.
  • Toast it first. Yep, toasted quinoa! It helps develop the flavor and adds another layer of awesome to this quinoa side dish. If you’re short on time, skip this step.

How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot

*Detailed & printable recipe card along with stovetop instructions are at the bottom of the post.

Turn your Instant Pot to saute. Add the olive oil and quinoa.

Stir to toast for 5-8 minutes, or until you can smell the nutty undertones. <—don’t giggle. You’ll know what exactly what I mean.

two photos showing toasted quinoa

Add the broth. Stir. 

Secure the lid, and turn the lever to “sealing”. Use the manual setting and press the pressure button until it is on “high”. Set the timer for 1 minute.

Once it has finished cooking, the Instant Pot will beep and start counting down. If it hasn’t naturally depressurized within 15 minutes, carefully turn the lever to “venting” and allow it depressurize.

two photos cooking quinoa in a pressure cooker

Add the veggies and cilantro to the instant pot. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine. Store in the fridge. Boom!

3 photos of a cold quinoa salad

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • You can skip the toasting step if you’re short on time. It adds a great flavor but it’s not necessary.
  • You can still toast the rinsed quinoa. It takes an extra minute for it dry out before the toasting process starts.
  • If you want to double or even triple the batch, the cooking time remains the same.
  • Double the batch and set some plain quinoa aside for future meals. Cooked side dishes are an important part of our freezer essentials because they make our easy healthy meal prep even faster. If you store servings of quinoa in silicone bags, you can even reheat directly in the bag.
  • Canadian Golden Quinoa will not produce good results in the instant pot. It is much too mushy to use in a pressure cooker.

More Side Dishes Like This Quinoa Side Dish

cold quinoa salad in a bowl

Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

One serving of Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa has 4 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

a bowl of instant pot quinoa with veggies on a white board with lime and cilantro
Print
5 from 19 votes
Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa {Vegan Quinoa Recipe}
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This Instant Pot Quinoa is so flavorful and cooks in only one minute! A delicious quinoa side dish that is full of crunchy veggies and a zesty flavor.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook quinoa in an instant pot, Instant pot quinoa, vegan quinoa recipes
Servings: 15
Calories: 127 kcal
Ingredients
Salad Fixin's
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame thawed
  • 3 green onions sliced small (I love green onions.  If you don't, reduce to 1 or 2)
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • Few sprigs of cilantro
Seasoning
Instructions
  1. In a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa under cool running water.

Instant Pot Directions
  1. Turn your Instant Pot to saute.

  2. Add the olive oil and quinoa. Stir to toast for 5-8 minutes, or until you can smell the nutty undertones.

  3. Add the broth. Stir. 

  4. Secure the lid, and turn the lever to "sealing". Use the manual setting and press the pressure button until it is on "high". Set the timer for 1 minute.

  5. Once it has finished cooking, the Instant Pot will beep and start counting down. If it hasn't naturally depressurized within 15 minutes, carefully turn the lever to "venting" and allow it depressurize.

  6. Add the veggies and cilantro to the instant pot. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine. Store in the fridge.

Stove Top Directions
  1. In a heavy saucepan, like a dutch oven, add the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the quinoa and toast for 5-8 minutes, or until you can smell the nutty undertones from the pan.

  2. Add the broth and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil for 1 minute, and then reduce to a lower heat.  Put the lid on, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is completely absorbed.  Let cool.

  3. Meanwhile, dice your veg and mix up your sauce.  Once the quinoa has cooked, add the veggies and cilantro and stir to combine.  Store in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

Skip the toasting step if you're short on time. 

 

If you want to double or even triple the batch, the cooking time remains the same.

 

Canadian Golden Quinoa will not produce good results in the instant pot. It is much too mushy to use in a pressure cooker.

Nutrition Facts
Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa {Vegan Quinoa Recipe}
Amount Per Serving (0.25 cup)
Calories 127
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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16 comments on “Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa {Vegan Quinoa Recipe}”

  1. I’ve always really loved quinoa.. I was a vegetarian for about ten years, (well, like ten years ago now!) and would try lots of diff recipes. My ex husband and I used to use red quinoa to make vegetarian gyoza. Red quinoa I liked a lot better than the white kind. You should try it out sometime and see what you think!

  2. Sssshhhh – don’t tell anyone… I didn’t know what quinoa was. I know you’re shocked. It has a flavor that takes getting used to I think but i’ll make it again!

  3. I’ve liked quinoa well enough since I first tried it, but this recipe has quickly become one of my favorites: http://www.closetcooking.com/2013/03/chipotle-roast-sweet-potato-and-black.html
    The avocado dressing is what really makes it. One word of advice, though–I found the amount of chipoltle powder to be far too much. My second time I cut the amount in half and it was still spicy, but not burn-your-mouth-off spicy.

  4. I have never been a fan of Quinoa and has almost forgotten it existed. What you’ve done with it looks simply amazing. After seeing this, I am tempted to try it out. I am sure it tastes great too.

  5. Somehow I found you…..and am enjoying reading you! But, seriously, HOW do you know what BLAND POOP tastes like? Have you really tried it?????

  6. How can you not love Quinoa? It’s so innocuous! I must say it smells not great when just boiled… but it’s easy enough to disguise the smell…. this recipe looks good though, almost like a risotto style of cooking it… will give it a shot! thanks.

  7. Just wanted to add my voice to the rinse it! category. But maybe not – I always rinsed my quinoa, and still developed an allergy to it. (If you family members or you eats quinoa and has an upset stomach after – beware!) My twin never rinses hers and has no problems. YMMV!

  8. I will have to give this a try! I don’t love quinoa, but I don’t hate it. This recipe is pretty baller: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quinoa-and-black-beans/. I do find that no matter what you do with the stuff, it always looks like dog food. . . nom nom.

  9. I too have always been a hater of quinoa but this recipe sounds so good that I just might give it a try.

  10. I’ve had a bag of quinoa in my pantry for months and haven’t done a thing with it. All the recipes I find that sound good have “cheesy” in the title, which doesn’t work for my dairy-free husband. I’ll have to try this out!

  11. The key to quinoa is adding plenty of flavorful ingredients! My favorite quinoa recipe is this one. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Southwestern-Quinoa-Salad/ Toastigg it the way you did in your recipe makes a big difference, too, I think. (And yes – rinsed quinoa can still be toasted. It dries out first, then toasts up nicely.)

  12. Sarah, this sounds like a winner! It took a lot of coaxing to get me to like it too. Oh, when I researched, I found that you want to rinse quinoa quite well first. It has bitter, somewhat-toxic saponins in it (which keep birds from eating it), so you rinse under water for a full minute or so first. Thought you might like to know! (I think the rinsed, drained quinoa would still toast in the pan- it might just take a tad longer…)

  13. I refuuuuuuuuse.

    Ok. Maybe I’ll try it if I get close enough to the quinoa aisle to check the prices (and if the prices are right). Sweet chili sauce is a weakness of mine.

  14. Quinoa also “sticks” with you for a long time! It’s nice and filling! Can’t wait to try this recipe out! Sarah–you’re amazing! 🙂

  15. Definitely rinse it before you toast it – it gets that nasty coating off.