Christina Clark 5 min. 45 min.

Hawaiian Haystacks without canned soup

Hawaiian haystacks are a an obvious family weeknight dinner choice because they are so simple and quick, and they allow for each person to customize their own food with the toppings they prefer. I serve these to my family frequently, but there are two elements of this original dish I don’t like: the traditional recipe calls for a can of cream of chicken soup and a substantial amount of chicken meat. As you know if you have followed my blog for long, I don’t like to serve meat to my family more than once or twice per week. And I never want to serve canned cream soup if I can help it because I think it is yucky, overly processed, and has too many additives (see last week’s post!).

These meatless Hawaiian haystacks solve both problems, while adding another good source of protein so the dish is still nice and filling. You might not know it from looking at the pictures, though. The protein is hidden in the rice – it’s actually half quinoa! My family doesn’t like quinoa much by itself. But if I mix it 50/50 with brown (or white) rice, they can’t tell the difference!

I use this trick all the time, especially when I’m in a hurry. I can serve a quick vegetable stir-fry over quinoa rice, and it’s packed with vegetables instead of meat. But it also includes protein so everyone is nice and full, and it meets the nutritional needs of kids and pregnant moms. 🙂

I hope this simple quinoa rice and these meatless Hawaiian haystacks can become quick and easy staples in your home as well!

Hawaiian Haystacks Toppings

Meatless Hawaiian Haystacks (without canned soup!)

Serves 4
Active Time: 30 minutes (includes making cream soup)
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


1 cup dry brown rice*
1 cup quinoa
1 Tbsp butter (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 recipe 10-Minute Cream Soup
1 tsp curry powder
1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits
1 can olives, sliced
Grated cheddar cheese
Dry chow mein noodles
Flaked coconut
Bell pepper
Green onions
Whatever other toppings you like!


Rinse quinoa and brown rice in a fine mesh sieve or bag. Place in a medium saucepan with 4 cups water and the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 40 minutes. Or use the regular settings for brown rice on your rice cooker.

Prepare the cream soup. Add 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp curry powder. Cover and keep on lowest heat until you are ready to serve.

Chop bell pepper, olives, pineapple, tomatoes, green onions, or whatever fruits and vegetables you like on your ‘stacks. Grate the cheese, make other needed preparations, and relax for a few minutes while you wait for the quinoa and rice to finish cooking.

When the timer goes off for the rice, remove it from the heat, but do not remove the lid! Let it sit covered for 10 minutes to allow the rice to steam. This ensures that the brown rice will cook to perfection without getting soggy or leaving any extra water in the pan.

Serve rice and quinoa with toppings, and let everyone go to town! Isn’t it great when dinner is that easy?

*If you choose to use white rice instead of brown, let it cook for 18 minutes instead of 40, and then allow for the 10 minutes to steam. Quinoa will cook adequately in this time, so it will still work fine. You will lose some vitamins, but on some days, having dinner ready 20 minutes sooner it totally worth it!

Meatless Hawaiian Haystacks