If you’ve never tried quinoa, now’s the time. Check out my How To Cook Quinoa video – quinoa is so easy to prepare and highly nutritious.
I have a number of quinoa recipes on my blog, but I realized I don’t have a post devoted to how to cook quinoa. Recently, one reader asked what quinoa was, and that’s what prompted today’s post.
Although a newcomer to the U.S. market, Quinoa was actually domesticated 3,000 to 4, 000 years ago in the Andrean region in South America (Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru). Quinoa is known as an ancient grain, although it is actually a seed, and is related to spinach, Swiss chard and beets.
Quinoa is considered to be a complete protein, meaning it provides the adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids for our diet. It’s also naturally gluten-free.
Here are some more nutrition facts about quinoa:
- Quinoa is high in protein (twice the protein of rice)
- It provides a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients (ferulic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and vanillic acid) and antioxidant flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol).
- Quinoa is a very good source of antioxidant-promoting manganese and a good source of heart-healthy magnesium (may help reduce frequency of migraines), folate, and fiber (5.2 grams per one cup serving), as well as bone-building phosphorus and copper.
So, if you’ve never tried quinoa, I hope I’ve convinced you that you should. Quinoa is a great substitute for any grains and pasta, and is very easy to make. Just take a look at my short video How To Cook Quinoa and see how easy it is. If you can boil water, you can cook quinoa.
There are a few things you should know about cooking quinoa:
- Rinse uncooked quinoa well to remove the bitter coating called saporins. I put quinoa in a bowl with water and swish it around, drain it and rinse again. Then I rinse and drain it some more in a fine sieve.
- An alternative way to remove the bitter taste of saporins is to dry toast the quinoa in a pan instead of rinsing it. This adds a toasty flavor too.
- The ratio for cooking quinoa is 1:2. That means for every cup of quinoa, use two cups of liquid. Liquids can mean water, chicken stock, vegetable broth, coconut milk or other liquids.
- The cooking time for quinoa is 15-20 minutes. I cook quinoa on medium heat, covered, for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the pot covered for another 5 minutes.
- One cup of uncooked quinoa makes about about 4 cups of cooked quinoa. You can make quinoa ahead of time and store it in your refrigerator or freezer.
- You can also cook quinoa in a rice cooker. Use the same ratio of 1:2 quinoa to liquid and cook on the regular or quick rice setting.
Quinoa is a really versatile grain (it’s actually a seed). It can be enjoyed sweet or savory, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Quinoa can be blended into dessert recipes too (check out my Quinoa Brownie Recipe).
Sometimes I cook quinoa in chicken broth or vegetable broth, when I know I’m making a Quinoa Salad. Other times, I just use water so I can use the cooked quinoa for whatever I dream up, whether it’s my Quinoa Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bake, Quinoa Almond Flour Pancakes, Quinoa Mango Black Bean Red Pepper Salad, or Quinoa Butternut Squash Roasted Beet Salad.
Okay, no excuses now, you can now try making quinoa if you haven’t already.
Watch my short video on How To Cook Quinoa:
Try these Quinoa Recipes:
Quinoa Butternut Squash, Chickpea, Apple, Roasted Beet Salad
Quinoa Coconut Walnut Crunch
Quinoa Almond Pancakes
A Healthier Peruvian Green Chicken with Rice and Quinoa
Rice Cooker Quinoa Pilaf with Mushrooms
Quinoa and Black Lentil Salad with Mixed Salad Greens
Mango Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Grilled Vegetables and Pesto Sauce
Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
Warm Quinoa with Fresh Berries and Toasted Pecans
Chai Spiced Quinoa Porridge
Tomato Quinoa Soup
Quinoa Fudge Brownies
Quinoa Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies (uses quinoa flour)
Quinoa Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (uses quinoa flakes)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- Place quinoa in a bowl and swish around with your hands; drain; repeat 2 more times. Place rinsed and drained quinoa in a small saucepan. Add water. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a spoon.