Evie screwed the lid back on the jar of cumin quickly. Its smell reminded her too much of the socks he deposited all over her tiny apartment—the size of which concentrated the acrid scent further. Even though she had mostly liked the smell of him, the smell of his chest while she lay her head down, she preferred the smell of him freshly showered. Not the smell of BO, cumin. “Same thing,” she thought, scrunching her nose.

Cumin just would not work for the pilaf she had in mind for dinner tonight, especially if she wanted to reheat it for lunches at work. Making up her mind, “Microwaved cumin pilaf. WET dirty socks. HIS socks, blech.”

Rather, she’d keep the pilaf simple and pleasant, doable on a daily basis during lunch. Unlike her ex.

50 shades of kale, kale quinoa pilaf

Quinoa and kale pilaf punctuated with pistachios and something sweet like mangoes or apples.

Quinoa & Kale Pilaf

  • 2 small shallots or 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 Not-Chick’n Broth cubes
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 diced sweet fruit (I used an apple but mango would be awesome as well)
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios (shelled, roasted and unsalted)
  1. In a large sauce pot or stock pot, saute onions and garlic in 1/4 c. water over medium high heat until onions are translucent.
  2. Add spices and give it a good stir, cook for a minute but don’t let the pan dry out.
  3. Add quinoa, remaining water, ginger, not chick’n cubes and bring to a boil.
  4. Top with kale but don’t stir in, cover quickly, lower to simmer and cook for 10 minutes
  5. If your pistachios are not already roasted (Trader Joe’s sells roasted and unsalted pistachios ready to go), do so now by stirring quickly and constantly in a hot dry skillet until fragrant. Do not allow to blacken. Transfer to bowl.
  6. Remove lid from quinoa after 10 minutes and add red pepper, apple and pistachios. Stir and either continue simmering if not all the liquid is absorbed or turn off heat and let flavors mingle a few minutes.

Serve warm or cold. Garnish suggestions: whole, shelled pistachios and/or chopped cilantro.

Makes enough for 2 people’s lunches for about a week. Or provides a bottomless pit of comfort for one person dining alone.