Quinoa Pilaf with Mom’s 15-Minute Tomato-Basil Sauce

While Stephen and I flew off to San Francisco for BlogHerFood and to celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary, my parents flew in from Sarasota to take care of Isaiah and Chiara. We couldn′t be luckier. Not only do I know that when my parents watch the kids they give them limitless love and attention, but my mom also cooks up incredibly good food. Somewhere in there, there′s always hope that when I come home I′ll open the fridge and find myself some tasty leftovers. Here′s a lunch that I made with just that -my mom′s famous tomato-basil sauce.

Mom′s 15-Minute Tomato-Basil Sauce

Makes: About 2 ½ cups

One 28-ounce can strained tomatoes
½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

In a medium saucepan, heat together the tomatoes, ¼ cup basil and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted; season with salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the remaining ¼ cup basil.

Quinoa Pilaf with Mom’s 15-Minute Tomato-Basil Sauce

Yield: 4


1½ cups quinoa

½ teaspoon salt

Mom?s 15-Minute Tomato-Basil Sauce (see recipe above)

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

Parmesan, for topping


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa, salt and 2 ¾ cups water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Adjust salt if desired.
  2. Add enough tomato sauce until the quinoa is well coated. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Top with parmesan.


  1. This is perfect! I have a friend who is unwell and also gluten free. I’ll be taking this for her and her family tomorrow night. Problem solved. Thank you!

  2. This looks and sounds delicious! I just bought some red quinoa and have dandelion leaves from my CSA that I can use instead of the spinach leaves. Can’t wait for dinner time!

  3. Nicola, I hope your friend feels better (and the quinoa helps even just a little!).

  4. Mian, dandelion leaves? Are they at all bitter? Miss you!

  5. this looks awesome! I can’t wait to give this a try!