Instant Pot Quinoa Poha | Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf

September 13, 2017 (Updated: April 14, 2020) By Aneesha |

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Sweet, spicy, lemony and hearty, that’s how I would describe the flavors in this Quinoa Poha! Quinoa Poha is my healthy twist on a popular Indian vegetarian breakfast and snack recipe. I use Quinoa instead of flattened rice (poha), which adds protein and fiber to this already nutritious dish. Here’s an easy 30-minute recipe using the Instant Pot!

A blue bowl of quinoa Poha garnished with cilantro and cashews

What Is Poha?

Poha is a popular vegetarian Indian breakfast recipe.  This breakfast staple from the state of Maharashtra (western India), is traditionally made with flattened dry rice, called Poha

The flattened rice is rinsed with water a few times to rehydrate it and then cooked with potatoes, plenty of onions, peanuts and warn Indian spices.

Using Quinoa Instead of Flattened Rice

In this recipe, I substituted flattened rice (poha) with Quinoa.  Quinoa, which is actually a seed, adds protein and fiber to this already nutritious dish.  Quinoa contains all the eight essential amino acids that a body needs.  A cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and quinoa is gluten-free, which appeals to many people with gluten intolerance.

Ingredients- Easy to Customize

A simple seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves and a few basic Indian spices, like turmeric, red chili powder and coriander, makes it ideal for breakfast or a quick snack.  I personally prefer cashews in this recipe , but you can add peanuts or almonds too.  I finish this dish with chopped cilantro, a dash of sugar and a squeeze of lime

I add an optional ingredient that takes this poha to another level of flavor- ketchup!! Yup! A small amount of ketchup adds a sweet zing that really adds to the end flavors. But like I said, if you don’t feel like it, feel free to skip it.

My kids are huge Poha fans, so the real test in my house was when I served this Quinoa Poha to them.  They absolutely loved it and took it for lunch the next day! This has become one of our favorite breakfast-brunch dish on the weekends now.

Quinoa Poha- a healthy twist to the most popular breakfast in India, where we use Quinoa instead of flattened rice, by Spice Cravings. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian

How to Make Quinoa Poha in an Instant Pot

Here are the step by step directions of making Quinoa Poha using an Instant Pot. In just 2 minutes of pressure cooking time, the quinoa grains cook and become fluffy!

a 6-photo grid showing step by step instructions for making poha in the instant pot
  • Prep the ingredients- Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads. 
  • Turn Instant Pot on Sauté. When it’s hot, add oil and mustard seeds. (pic 1)
  • When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute.(pic 2)
  • Add cashews, all dry spices, frozen peas, quinoa, water and ketchup (optional). Stir well. (pic 3, 4 5)
  • Close lid. Set valve to ‘Sealing’ mode. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 2 minutes. (See notes for cook times)(Pic 6)
  • Wait for a natural pressure release and open the lid after the pin drops. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add chopped cilantro, sugar (optional) and lime juice. Stir with the fork and serve warm.
Quinoa poha in the Instant Pot with cashews

Stove-Top Recipe

In the video recipe, I adapted this easy Indian breakfast recipe to the Instant Pot, but you can easily make it on the stove-top as well.

  • Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads.
  • Heat a sauce pan on medium-high heat.  When it’s hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute. 
  • Add cashews, all dry spices, quinoa, water as per your quinoa brand directions, and ketchup. (I usually add 1 cup water for 1/2 cup quinoa). Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Open lid and add peas, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes in the pan. Fluff with a fork. Garnish with cilantro, sugar and lime. Serve warm. (You may need to adjust the cooking time based on your brand of quinoa.)

Recipe Tips

  1. Peanuts are a traditional choice in poha. To use that, simply switch the cashews with roasted peanuts.
  2. Quinoa cooking times may vary depending on the brand you have.  If 2 mninutes is not enough to cook through your brand, try for 3 minutes next time.
  3. Natural Pressure release is critical for best results and fluffy quinoa. 
  4. Ketchup is optional but I highly recommend it.  It adds a mix of sweet and zing to this dish and you cannot taste it in the end. 

Tranform Leftovers into Burger Patties

Here’s what I do with leftover Quinoa Poha- transform it into veggie burger patties. Here’s the detailed recipe for that: Quinoa Veggie Burgers/Tikki.

Quinoa Veggie Burger by Spice Cravings. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, this is a delicious vegetarian twist to the classic hamburger: Quinoa Veggie Burger!   This recipe has instant pot and stove pot variations and uses potatoes and peas with onions, and Indian spices for a tasty burger patty. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian
Quinoa Veggie Tikki

Another Tasty Vegetarian Indian Breakfast Recipe

If you are looking for another Indian breakfast idea, try this Instant Pot Rava Idli, which is another recipe that my kids love.   These are little bites that are perfect for breakfast or as a snack for school.

Instant Pot Rava Idli, savory steamed semolina cakes by Spice Cravings. These idlis made with rava, with mixed in corn, peas, carrots, and cashews. These rava idlis are soft and spongy and a real favorite with my kids. Made with semolina flour called Rava, this dish is a variation of the popular south-Indian breakfast dish called 'Idli' (steamed rice & lentil cakes). #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie
Rava Idli

More Popular Quinoa Recipes from my Kitchen

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below! For more quick & easy recipes, FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram,  Pinterest and Youtube.

Quinoa Poha- a healthy twist to the most popular breakfast in India, where we use Quinoa instead of flattened rice, by Spice Cravings. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian

Quinoa Poha | Instant Pot Quinoa Poha

Quinoa Poha is a popular Indian vegetarian breakfast and snack recipe.  Here's an easy 30-minute Instant Pot recipe in which I use Quinoa instead of flattened rice (poha), and add protein and fiber to this already nutritious dish.
4.5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 196kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup quinoa rinsed in a mesh sieve
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger grated or chopped fine (or 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder)
  • 1 small onion sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium gold potato cubed into 1/4 inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 green chilies optional
  • 6 curry leaves or 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup water +2 tbsp
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup optional, but highly recommended

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice : half a lime

Equipment

Instructions

  • Prep the ingredients: Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads. 
  • Turn Instant Pot on Sauté. When it’s hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute.
  • Add cashews, all dry spices, frozen peas, quinoa, water and ketchup. Stir well. Close lid. Set valve to ‘Sealing’ mode. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 1 minute. For a softer quinoa, cook for 2 minutes on the same setting.
  • Open lid after natural pressure release or quick release after 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add chopped cilantro, sugar (optional) and lime juice. Stir with the fork and serve warm.

Stove top recipe

  • Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads.
  • Heat a sauce pan on medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute. Add cashews, all dry spices, quinoa, water as per your quinoa brand directions, and ketchup. (I usually add 1 cup water for 1/2 cup quinoa). Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Open lid and add peas, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes in the pan. Fluff with a fork. Garnish with cilantro, sugar and lime. Serve warm. (You may need to adjust the cooking time based on your brand of quinoa.)

Video

Notes & Recipe Tips

Recipe Tips:

  1. Peanuts are a traditional choice in poha. To use that, simply switch the cashews with roasted peanuts.
  2. Quinoa cooking times may vary depending on the brand you have.  If 2 mninutes is not enough to cook through your brand, try for 3 minutes next time.
  3. Natural Pressure release is critical for best results and fluffy quinoa. 
  4. Ketchup is optional but I highly recommend it.  It adds a mix of sweet and zing to this dish and you cannot taste it in the end. 
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
 
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 708mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 55.5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: instant pot poha, instant pot quinoa poha, Quinoa Poha
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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