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How To Cook Quinoa

Ever wondered how to cook quinoa? It’s a tasty little seed that fills in for rice, and makes an easy protein filler for all kinds of salads and side dishes. Best news is, it’s easier than you think.

How To Cook Quinoa

Hey, life is busy, and I need a little trick up my sleeve that I can pull out any time of the week. I’ve got errands to run, posts to write, email to answer, recipes to test and a swimmer to run around. It’s a busy life! So I was super thrilled when my husband came home telling me how much he loved this little side dish he had, called “quinoa”. Never heard of it? Here’s what Wikipedia says:

qui·noa /ˈkēnwä/

1. A goosefoot found in the Andes, where it was widely cultivated for its edible starchy seeds before the introduction of Old World grains

2. The grainlike seeds of this plant, used as food and in the production of alcoholic drinks

Quinoa is a multi-purpose grain (which we now know is actually a seed… and used to make alchol? what?!):

Replace rice, and serve it with a stir fry
Throw some in with roasted veggies for extra protein
Use it in a pilaf in place of rice
[Insert your ideas here]

Pretty cool, right? Aaaaand, quinoa is in almost every bulk section of every grocery store. Translation: It’s also pretty darned inexpensive. And tasty!

Before we cover how easy it is to make (and solidify your undying adoration), there’s a couple things you need to know about quinoa:

1. It can be bitter, so in order to get rid of that kinda soapy-like taste, rinse your measured quinoa for 1-2 minutes under running water (in a sieve). This will remove the coating that makes it bitter (called “saponin“).

Tri-Color Quinoa

2. This little seed comes in all kinds of colors, so use them all. I happen to like the tri-color. It’s so beautiful, and makes me happy just looking at it.

Ready to learn how to cook quinoa? Let’s do it!

How to Cook Quinoa

How To Cook Quinoa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (very important!)
  • 2 cups water, stock or other liquid of your choice
  • pinch of salt
  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. (If desired, add a touch of butter or olive oil and lightly saute your quinoa for a minute for a light nutty flavor.)
  2. Add the liquid, and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat (still covered) and let stand 5 minutes.
  5. Fluff with a fork and use it how you will.
  6. Enjoy!
Be sure to rinse your quinoa under cool water for 1-2 minutes. This will make sure it's not bitter after cooking. --- Adapted from thekitchn.com's "How to Cook Fluffy, Tasty Quinoa"


For your continued reading pleasure: If you’d like to read more on the nutritional merits of quinoa (there are many):

Wikipedia has a great rundown
This handy infographic compares it with brown rice. (Oh, the anticipation of which is better!)



Your recent article on Quinoa was very interesting. My wife has been experimenting with this amazing little grain for about a year and I am thankful. Like your husband I love it and it’s versatility. Quinoa and black bean patties, Quinoa and cucumber salad, Quinoa salsa. Ohhh Ummm

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