How to Make Quinoa
Learn How to Make Quinoa perfect every time with this simple recipe. Once you learn how to cook quinoa (it’s so easy), you can make the 20 easy quinoa recipes that I’ve linked below for you (including some of my favorite quinoa salad recipes).
Knowing how to cook quinoa on the stove top so it turns out perfectly fluffy every time is key to making great quinoa salads, sides, bowls and more.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a gluten-free seed that’s high in plant protein and rich with all nine essential amino acids, and it’s considered an “ancient grain”. Ancient grains include a variety of wheat (spelt, Kamut, freekeh, bulgur, farro, and grains such as millet, barley, oats, teff and soghum, as well as pseudocereals (which are seeds that are consumed like grains) such as quinoa, armaranth, buckwheat and chia. They tend to be more nutritious and provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber than the more common grains like corn, rice and wheat. (1)
Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice. This recipe yields 3 cups.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (unless package says it’s already pre-rinsed)
- 2 cups water (you can use vegetable broth or chicken broth if you want to add more flavor to the dish)
How to Cook Quinoa
- Rinse. Pour quinoa in a fine mesh colander and rinse under cold running water for about 30 seconds.
- Cook. Add it to saucepan and pour water or broth over it and stir.Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer 15-20 minutes. Don’t remove the lid.
- Remove from heat. As soon as the water is absorbed, remove from heat and set aside for 8-10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Tips for Making it Perfect and Fluffy
- Rinsing it before cooking will help remove the natural coating on it called saponin which makes it taste bitter and can cause foam.. And it will also make the texture softer softer.
- Be sure to set aside for 8-10 minutes after cooking before you fluff with a fork.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
- Anti-inflammatory. Rich with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are called flavonoids (quercetin and kaempfero).
- Gluten-free. It’s a seed not a grain …so it’s gluten-free.
- Protein. It’s a complete source of protein, providing 8-9 grams of protein per cooked cup (it’s one of the most protein rich foods we can eat), making it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, weight loss diets or anyone wanting to add more plant protein to their diet. It’s also a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, manganese and magnesium (2)
- Carbs. It contains about 39.4 grams of carbs per cup (cooked). Carbs make up 21% (cooked), and about 83% of these carbs are starches with the rest consisting mostly of fiber. (3)
- Weight Loss. It’s relatively low in calories with one cup of cooked quinoa containing only approximately 222 calories.(4) It’s a smart choice to add it to your wellness and weight loss program, as it’s high in protein which can increase metabolism and reduce appetite. (5) Also, being a good source of fiber, consuming it may also increase feelings of fullness, so we may eat fewer calories (6)
So now that you know how to cook quinoa, here’s some of my favorite recipes using this nutritional powerhouse.
Quinoa Side Dish Recipes
No meal is complete without a healthy side dish. These easy recipes pair perfectly with grilled vegetables, fish, chicken or your favorite Mexican dish.
- Spanish Quinoa – This has all the delicious flavors of Spanish rice. It’s perfect to serve as a side with any Mexican themed meal you serve. I make this recipe all the time. I even love it served for breakfast with fried eggs!
- Lemony Quinoa with Turmeric – This is deliciously seasoned with curry, turmeric and cumin.
- Cilantro Lime Quinoa – Simmered in chicken broth with caramelized onion and garlic. After it has cooked, it’s then tossed with fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. It’s perfect to serve with grilled vegetables, chicken, fish or your favorite Mexican dish.
- Pineapple Coconut Quinoa – Tropical tasting – simmered in coconut milk and pineapple juice. Serve it plain (it’s delicious on its own) or toss in chunks of juicy ripe mango, some cilantro and red onion to make it extra special.
Quinoa Salad Recipes
These salads are nutritious, delicious and super easy to make.
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad – This salad is a crowd-pleaser! It’s loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, red peppers, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and plenty of fresh basil. It makes a delicious salad main or side to serve at barbecues and potlucks.
- Southwest Quinoa Salad – This salad is crowded with shredded chicken, grilled corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, orange bell pepper, green onion, tortilla chips, toasted pecans and it’s all tossed in an incredible BBQ dressing.
- Mexican Quinoa Salad – This is a delicious mix of cucumber, arugula, red pepper, pico de gallo, toasted nuts and lots of fresh cilantro all tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette.
- Kale Quinoa Salad – This is my “house salad”. I love everything about this salad. It’s fresh and flavorful and can be served as a starter, but honestly, it’s substantial and filling enough that it makes a great salad main.
- Beet Quinoa Salad -This salad has a really great combo of nutritious ingredients – beets, arugula, green onion, raisins and sliced almonds all tossed in a delicious light curry salad dressing.
- Asian Quinoa Salad – This salad is a delicious mix of purple and green cabbage, carrot, cilantro, onion and almonds all tossed in a light orange ginger vinaigrette.
- Spinach Quinoa Salad – This is another personal favorite that I make all the time. I love the mix of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and almonds all tossed in a light basil pesto dressing. So good!
Quinoa Bowl Recipes
Meals in a bowl are super popular these days. These bowl recipes are quick and easy to make any night of the week.
- Greek Chicken Bowl – This Greek chicken bowl is a delicious mix of marinated chicken, tabbouleh, kale, garbanzo beans, pickled onions, kalamata olives and feta cheese.
- Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl – This burrito bowl is a mix of chicken, black beans, onions and tomatoes.
- Taco Bowls with Spanish Quinoa – This taco bowl is a delicious mix of grilled chicken, Spanish Quinoa, black beans, pico de gallo and cilantro.
- Chicken Quinoa Bowl – This chicken bowl is a delicious mix of tender bites of chicken cooked in a lemon garlic butter sauce then tossed with arugula and pan roasted tomatoes.
How to Add More Quinoa Into Your Diet
- Salads. Keep a bowl or jar of cooked quinoa in your refrigerator so you can easily toss it by the spoonfuls into green salads.
- Breakfast Cereal. You can cook it with oatmeal for a warm breakfast cereal.
- Vegan Burgers. It’s great mixed with legumes (black beans, lentils or chickpeas) to make vegan burgers.
- Soups. Add it to soup instead of using rice or noodles for a more nutritious add-in.
- Healthy Snacks and Baking. Use cooked quinoa, quinoa flakes and quinoa flour for baking and to make healthy power bites and peanut butter cups.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water (or use vegetable or chicken broth)
- Pour the quinoa in a fine mesh colander and rinse under cold running water for about 30 seconds (unless package says it's already pre-rinsed)
- Add to saucepan.
- Pour water or broth into over quinoa in the saucepan and stir.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer 15-20 minutes. Don't remove the lid.
- As soon as the water is absorbed, remove from heat and set aside for 8-10 minutes then fluff with a fork.
This recipe yields 3 cups
Rinsing it before cooking will help remove the natural coating on it called saponin which makes it taste bitter and can cause foam. And it will also make the texture softer.
Be sure to set aside for 8-10 minutes after cooking before you fluff with a fork.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
theharvestkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate information, however, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations.