Easy Basic Quinoa Recipe

How to Cook Quinoa: Video, Basic Quinoa Recipe, Nutrition, FAQ

How to Cook Quinoa: Quinoa is simple and easy to cook, like rice. In fact, you can also cook quinoa in a rice cooker.

Cooked quinoa looks a bit like couscous, but is more substantial and slightly crunchy. Use quinoa instead of rice, couscous, millet or pasta in almost any meal.

Quinoa Nutrition: Quinoa is high in fiber, has plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals, and is considered alkaline. It also has the highest fat content of any grain - but is not a grain.

Basic Quinoa Recipe:

Prep & Cook Time: 5 minutes prep, 12 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

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  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp salt


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 - you'll need a 4 quart pot to make double the amount of quinoa.

  1. Rinse Quinoa: Add cold water, stir the quinoa with your hand, and pour off the rinsing water through a fine mesh strainer. Repeat at least once.
  2. Drain rinsed quinoa through a fine strainer
  3. Transfer drained quinoa to the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water & 1/4 tsp salt if desired. Be sure to measure precisely!
  4. No salt will make quinoa softer and fluffier, a little salt will make it firmer and it may take 1 or 2 extra minutes to cook.
  5. Bring quinoa + water to a boil with the lid on (keep a close eye on it), then turn the heat down to simmer. Cook quinoa for 10 - 12 minutes.
  6. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on
  7. Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and serve
  8. Quinoa is delicious by itself or with any of the recipes listed below
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Pressure Cooker Directions:

  1. 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cups water
  2. Rinse quinoa, add to pressure cooker with water and 1/4 tsp salt if desired
  3. Lock lid on high pressure setting. Bring up to pressure, reduce heat to simmer, cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  4. 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. It's always great to have cooked quinoa on hand for recipes like quinoa black bean salad.

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

Basic Cooked Quinoa

Great to Eat with Cooked Quinoa:

Butternut Squash Stew Crockpot Chickpea Curry Mixed Veggies In Coconut Curry Sauce Mozambique Vegetable Stew Tofu Bak Choy Stir Fry

Quinoa Facts:

Quinoa Storage: Because of its high fat content, raw quinoa should be stored in the fridge or freezer so it doesn't go rancid. Cooked quinoa can be stored in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Is Quinoa a Grain? 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 Quinoa 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.

FAQ: Quinoa Nutrition and Cooking

Question: Is quinoa a type of corn? I am trying to avoid corn based products and am wondering if quinoa falls into that category - Kathy P.

Answer: Quinoa isn't related to corn. It's actually related to pigweed and it should be safe for you to eat

Question: Does one get full nutritional benefit if quinoa is not cooked?? - Libby S.

Answer: Yes, if you do something to make it digestible, like soaking, sprouting, and grinding - which is what raw foodists usually do with grains. In that case, the nutritional value might even be higher - Savvy Veg

Question: How is the carbohydrate count on Quinoa? - Helen F.

Answer: High. 1 cup cooked quinoa has from 30 - 40 grams of carbs depending on who you ask

Question: Love your site but confused about the calories of quinoa. Is 1/4 c raw = to 260 calories? If I want to make one portion to = 150 calories would I use 1/8 of a cup raw? If so, how much water do I use? - Judy D.

Answer: 1 cup of raw quinoa makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa with approximately 660 calories. So 1/4 cup raw quinoa would have about 160 calories. For one portion cooked quinoa, I'd use 1/4 cup raw quinoa and about 1/2 cup water

Question: Great recipes! Thanks. Looking for quinoa chili recipe - Lawrence F.

Answer: Here's our Quinoa Chili Recipe

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Question: Are there any quinoa dessert recipes? - Donna D.

Answer: Try the Quinoa Breakfast Recipe as a pudding. Or substitute quinoa flour in a recipe such as Apple Crisp, or any cookie or muffin recipe. Since quinoa is gluten-free, balance it with some potato starch or tapioca flour - Savvy Veg

Question: I am trying to find a receipe for quinoa veggie stew for cold winter months...can you help?...I am so interested in Quinoa itself. love the taste and texture I use it for everything...thank you so much for this info - Diane C.

Answer: Check the Quinoa Recipes Index - you'll find lots of good quinoa recipes for winter e.g. quinoa sweet potato black bean stew, quinoa chili, crockpot quinoa red lentil stew - Savvy Veg

Question: My son has nut allergies and I was wondering if quinoa was safe for him to eat? - Joanne D.

Answer: Of course consult your health care provider before introducing any new food. However, quinoa is generally recommended for those with nut and gluten allergies. It's the seed of a plant that isn't technically a grain, isn't related to nuts, and is gluten free - Savvy Veg

Question: Can cooked quinoa be preserved for future use by freezing? - Carl P

Answer: Yes, cooked quinoa can be frozen. I recommend using it within a month, when freezing in a fridge freezer, 3 months in a deep freeze. Follow the usual recommendations for freezing food: air tight container, fully & tightly packed to exclude air - Savvy Veg

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Question: I live in S.W. Ontario, Canada. Is quinoa available at any local supermarket or do Ii have to go to a bulk food store??? Or where is it available?? Thanks - Ana F.

Answer: If you have a bulk food or natural food store near you, that would be your best bet. Depending on demand, regular grocery stores might have it, but they tend not to. You can buy it online - there are quite a few suppliers. Sometimes you can get it through a buying club if there's one in your area - Savvy Veg

Answer: To the lady from SW Ontario - I just picked up a bag of quinoa at Costco - Beth C.

Answer: To the lady that lives in S.W. Ontario. I usually buy my quinoa at the Bulk Barn. Hope this helps. - Ann M.

Question: I recently cooked quinoa for the first time and notice it has little white "fibers" in it. I see the same thing on pictures of the food on the web. Is this normal, and if so does anyone know what it is? I also wonder how long to soak the quinoa before cooking. There seems to be a lot of different times suggested - David W.

Answer: Those little white fibers are part of the quinoa seed. When you see them, it means that your quinoa is cooked. Soaking quinoa is good for removing the bitter saponin coating. But most quinoa that you buy in this country has been washed or steamed to remove that coating. So I don't bother soaking quinoa anymore. I just give it a quick rinse. If you want to soak it, 5 minutes in cold water is enough - Savvy Veg

Question: I just returned from Peru where quinoa was discussed. We were told not to put salt in the water when cooking quinoa. I can't remember the reason but it made sense at the time, I think it was about the texture or something. Can you comment on this? - Denise F.

Answer: Adding a bit of salt (1/4 tsp or less) to quinoa doesn't seem to make much difference, maybe a little longer cooking time, but it'll still cook just fine. I have noticed that quinoa cooks up fluffier and softer without salt. It all depends on the texture you want. I prefer a firmer texture for salads, but softer for eating with stews or making quinoa cereal. You can always salt at the end of cooking, or at the table - Savvy Veg.

Easy Recipes Using Cooked Quinoa:

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