How to Cook Quinoa

Easy Quinoa Recipe

Quinoa (keen-o-ah): Delicious nutty flavor, quick & easy, nutritious, high protein Quinoa has the most protein of any grain,and the highest fat content. It’s a great source of vitamins & minerals, Quinoa is higher in lysine than wheat, and is considered a complete protein.

Quinoa Factoid: Botanically, quinoa is not a grain, but a seed belonging to the Goosefoot family. We cook and eat it like a grain, so that’s why it’s known as a grain.

Is Red Better Than White? White quinoa is most common, red is less common and more expensive. Red quinoa is harder and holds its shape better, and it has a stronger more earthy taste. Some people think it’s more nutritious but as far as I can tell that’s not necessarily so.

Cooking Quinoa: Simple to cook, like rice. Cooked quinoa looks a bit like couscous, but is more substantial and slightly crunchy.

Because of its high fat content, after cooking quinoa should be stored in the fridge or freezer so it doesn’t go rancid.

Basic Quinoa Ingredients:

- 1 cup quinoa

- 1 1/2 cups cold water

- Optional: 1/4 tsp salt

Quinoa Cooking Directions:

To Soak or Not to Soak Quinoa: Quinoa naturally comes with a bitter coating called saponin which must be rinsed off. Most quinoa that you buy in the U.S. has been pre-rinsed and dried, but I’m a bit anal, so I soak it 5 minutes just in case, to loosen up any residue of saponin, or dust or chaff that remains. Skip soaking if you like, but always rinse quinoa.

You’ll need a 2 quart pot with a tight fitting lid, and a fine mesh strainer. Double the recipe if you want to have leftover quinoa for another meal or two.

Optional: Soak the quinoa for 5 min in the cooking pot. Soaking helps quinoa to cook evenly, and loosens up any residue of saponin (usually removed in processing), which can give a bitter taste.

To Rinse: Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the rinsing water, using a fine mesh strainer at the last.

  1. Drain quinoa well in the strainer, transfer to the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water & 1/4 tsp salt if desired. No salt will make quinoa softer and fluffier, a little salt will make it firmer and it may take a couple extra minutes to cook.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer
  3. Cook for 15 minutes
  4. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on
  5. Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and serve

Quinoa is delicious by itself or as an ingredient in a recipe.

Prep & Cook Time: 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cook time

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Data

  • - 1 cup cooked quinoa, 185g: 222 cal
  • - 39g carb
  • - 4g fat
  • - 8g protein,
  • - 5g fiber,
  • - iron 15% DV
  • - good source Vit E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese

Estimated glycemic load 18

Pressure Cooker Directions:

  • 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cups water
  • Rinse quinoa, add to pressure cooker with water and 1/4 tsp salt if desired
  • Lock lid on high pressure setting. Bring up to pressure, reduce heat to simmer, cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Use natural pressure release

What To Do With Cooked Quinoa:

When I cook quinoa I always make a double batch so I have some left over in the fridge or freezer to use in the recipes below.

Use the basic quinoa recipe above as a starting point, and substitute quinoa for couscous or rice in almost any meal.


ABOUT Beverly Carroll
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I am the Director, Marketing and Member Services
Vitality Directory, Inc.

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