Quinoa is a versatile and nutritious grain that has become increasingly popular in recent years. If you’ve never cooked quinoa before, it’s easy to prepare and makes a great base for a variety of dishes.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a plant-based grain that is native to South America.
Quinoa is small, round, and comes in several colors. You can find white quinoa, red quinoa, and black quinoa.
Quinoa has a slightly earthy and nutty flavor with a delicate, fluffy, and slightly chewy texture.
Its unique taste can be described as a combination of rice, couscous, and oatmeal.
Quinoa is delicious on its own, but you can also use it as a base for a variety of dishes, like salads (Roasted Vegetable Salad for example), stir-fries, soups, or as a side dish to accompany roasted vegetables or meat.
Quinoa can even be used to add nutritional value to healthy desserts (like these Quinoa Cookies).
Health Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa is not only a tasty and versatile grain, but it also offers several health benefits.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider incorporating quinoa into your diet:
- High in Nutrients. Quinoa is a great source of nutrients like fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, iron, and zinc. In fact, it’s one of the few plant-based foods that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.
- Gluten-Free. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it a great option for those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
- Blood Sugar Control. Quinoa has a low glycemic index, which means that it won’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This makes it a great option for those with diabetes or anyone looking to control their blood sugar levels.*
- Heart Health. Quinoa is high in antioxidants and has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help lower the risk of heart disease.*
- Keeps You Satisfied. Quinoa is high in fiber and protein, which can help you feel full and satisfied after eating.
How to Cook Quinoa on the Stove
Follow these easy steps to make quinoa on the stove with ease!
Quinoa cooks quickly—about 25 minutes—making it a good alternative to slower cooking whole grains like Brown Rice.
- Quinoa. White, red, or black (or a mix!).
- Water. The water-to-quinoa ratio is crucial. You can use broth for a more savory flavor.
- Rinse quinoa through a fine mesh strainer with cold water until water runs clear. Don’t skip this step!
- Add quinoa to a medium saucepan of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cover with lid. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Fluff with fork and top with herbs as desired.
- To Store. Let the quinoa cool before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked quinoa for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Add the quinoa and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
- To Freeze. Freeze cooked, cooled quinoa in a freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Ways to Use Quinoa
- Bowls and Salads. Quinoa Chickpea Salad, Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad, Broccoli Quinoa Salad, and Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Black Bean Salad are satisfying and great for meal prep.
- Fruit. Red, White, and Blue Quinoa Fruit Salad makes a great potluck side. I even love this for breakfast.
- Casseroles and Skillets. Broccoli Quinoa Casserole, Healthy Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa, and One Pan Broccoli Quinoa Skillet are tasty and filling.
- Baked Goods. Quinoa Chocolate Bark, Quinoa Cookies, and Quinoa Breakfast Bars get a healthy boost from quinoa.
- Vegetarian Swaps. Use quinoa as a base to make Quinoa Burger.
- Stir Fries. Quinoa makes a great rice-swap in stir fries. Serve quinoa with Tofu Stir Fry, Broccoli Tofu Stir Fry, Bourbon Chicken, or any of these other stir fry recipes.
Meal Prep Tip
Quinoa is a great grain to have on hand for meal prep! Double the recipe at the beginning of the week to have a big batch to quickly add a nutritious grain to your meals.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mesh Strainer. Perfect for rinsing grains like quinoa and rice.
- Wooden Spoons. The best wooden spoons.
- Measuring Cups. Perfect for getting the quinoa to water ratio.
In just 30 minutes, you’ll be enjoy nutritious and yummy stovetop quinoa!
Frequently Asked Questions
Rinsing quinoa helps remove saponin and any other impurities like dirt or debris that might be present. Saponin is a bitter-tasting compound that can make quinoa taste unpleasant if it’s not rinsed off.
Saponin is a natural insecticide produced by the quinoa plant to deter insects and birds from eating it. While saponin is not harmful to humans, it can cause digestive discomfort in some people, especially if they consume large amounts of quinoa regularly.
It’s important to note that some pre-packaged quinoa may have already been rinsed. However, it’s still a good idea to rinse it again before cooking.
One cup of uncooked quinoa yields roughly 3 cups cooked.
Once you cook quinoa, feel free to add butter, salt, pepper, and any herbs you desire!
Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah.
How to Cook Quinoa
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup quinoa
- Chopped fresh cilantro parsley or herbs of choice (optional)
- Rinse the quinoa. Place quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
- Add water and quinoa to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Fluff with fork. Top with herbs as desired.
- TO STORE: Let the quinoa cool before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked white rice for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Add the quinoa and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze cooked quinoa in a freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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*Health benefits of quinoa found on healthline.com.