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Biryani-Style Quinoa with Tofu

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

We’re cooking quinoa here in the style of biryani, an Indian rice dish. Why not just use rice? Well, quinoa is a super healthy and delicious grain, full of protein, and it’s fantastic and picks up the complex flavor of the spices. It’s fun to play!


  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 12 cup Cilantro (freshly chopped, divided)
  • 12 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (plus more for serving, optional)
  • 1 Lime (zest and juice)
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 12 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 14 teaspoon Paprika
  • 18 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 package Firm Tofu (extra firm)
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
  • 112 cups Quinoa
  • 213 cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Raisins
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • Avocado (optional, for serving)

Cooking Instructions


    Use a microplane or small holes on a box grater to finely grate the ginger and garlic cloves. Finely chop the cilantro; set 2 Tablespoons aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt and zest and juice of the lime. Add the spices:
    1 Tablespoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ of the salt (so that’s ½ a teaspoon). Add the ginger and garlic and most of the cilantro.

    Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Add the tofu and stir to coat with the marinade. You can refrigerate this for as short as you like and up to 2 full days!


    Peel the onion and thinly slice into rings. Slice the bell pepper into strips.

    In a large pot with straight sides, add the oil, onions and bell pepper. Sauté until the onions turn golden brown and tender, about 6 -7 minutes. Remove from the pan but leave it on the heat.

    Add the marinated tofu and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the tofu from sticking.

  • 3. QUINOA

    Add the onions and peppers back to the pot. Add the quinoa, water, raisins, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt on top of the sautéed tofu. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a simmer, then stir it. Turn down to medium-low and cover.

    Simmer for about 16 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the water and is mostly tender. Unlike rice, it’s ok to peek and stir occasionally during this process; if it ever seems completely dry, you can add another ¼ cup at most of water.

    Turn off the heat, add the frozen peas, and let it sit for another 5 minutes which will help the quinoa fluff up.

  • 4. FLUFF

    Open the lid and use a fork to fluff the quinoa.

  • 5. SERVING

    Serve immediately topped with reserved cilantro, lime wedge if desired, and/or another dollop of yogurt or sliced avocado.

Check out our new features!


    see yogurt below, or use coconut milk or non-dairy yogurt; coconut yogurt is particularly good in this dish
    omit and add olive oil to make a spice paste
    use shrimp or chicken, or any white fish or even salmon works great here
    white or brown rice
    omit if disliked
    so much room to add in what you have or love, try butternut squash, mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower, garbanzo beans, corn, tomatoes, green beans, portobellos, brussels sprouts

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Depending on your kids’ preferences, there are a few things to try:
  • Marinate some tofu with fewer or no spices, just yogurt
  • Perhaps keep the cilantro out as that is the “green stuff” they might see
  • If they aren’t vegetarian, this is a great dish to add sautéed shrimp, fish or chicken tenders to on the side
  • Try steaming up some plain quinoa to go under the marinated tofu - or omitting tofu for their portion
  • Consider adding cauliflower florets, mushrooms or sweet potatoes to the pot before steaming to get more veggies in the mix that they like

For Toddlers

  • Everything here will end up fairly soft. Spices are great to start with toddlers. You can puree 1 cup of the finished quinoa, onion and pepper with ½ - 1 cup of broth to make a mashed consistency. Flake the fish into small pieces and triple check for bones
  • Let them try a little tofu, but you might want to limit how much soy you feed toddlers
  • Serve with avocado

For Choosy Eaters

  • If you can sell the quinoa, steam it plain on the side. My kids love rice and they would accept a ½ rice / ½ quinoa mix until they learned to love quinoa - or just make the dish with rice
  • Add in or omit some veggies so there’s something relatable on the plate for them
  • Serve yogurt or cheese, avocado, fruit and perhaps a little naan bread

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. The tofu can be marinated ahead
  2. The whole dish can be made ahead, then reheated on the stove top in a sauté pan or microwaved – it tastes pretty great cold too
  3. This dish freezes surprisingly well! Reheat in a casserole dish, covered at 350 until hot throughout
Rate this recipe:
3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
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