About Quinoa: How to Grow and Cook Quinoa Recipes

by happynutritionist

Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is seed that has become a popular side dish or part of recipes. The protein to carbohydrate ratio is higher in Quinoa than Rice.

Quinoa is a seed, not a grain as, that is rich in protein and delicious when prepared right.

Many wonder how to cook Quinoa, it's very easy and doesn't take long to prepare. Quinoa can be cooked in a rice cooker, in the microwave, or on the stove top. Instructions for each can be found on this page.

The first time I discovered Quinoa was not online or at the food store, but when we were at our favorite health food store, Miller's Natural Foods in Lancaster County, PA. Each spring when we visit for our anniversary weekend, I stock up on seeds and grains for the year that I store in our refrigerator, freezer or cabinet..whichever is appropriate.

Quinoa is popular because it is a unique and natural, and is a good alternative for those who must avoid glucose. It is higher in protein than rice and has a lower glycemic index than rice.

Click for Intro Image Credit

Page by Claudia aka happynutritionist
New on Wizzley: August 2011 - Updated 8/2715

What does a Quinoa Plant Look Like?

Here is a picture for you, and there is another in the introduction

What does Quinoa look like before cooking?

Here is a close look at uncooked Heirloom quinoa seeds
250 Heirloom White Quinoa Seeds

Quinoa has been cultivated and eaten in South America for thousands of years

Quinoa is a .... Chenopod?

Wiki information about Quinoa
Quinoa, a species of goosefoot , is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

How to Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop

How do you cook Quinoa? First, here is how to cook Quinoa on the stovetop.

Cooking Quinoa is similar to cooking rice, it cooks in 10-15 minutes.

  • Cook with 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of Quinoa
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook 10-15 minutes
  • Turn off heat as soon as liquid is absorbed, then let sit for about 5 minutes
  • Add seasonings and "fluff" with a fork
  • You want the Quinoa to be cooked firm but soft, and not "mushy. 

If this is your first time cooking Quinoa and it doesn't have the consistency that you like after cooking, don't worry, you will learn from your experience and do better the next time.  As mentioned, I turn the burner off as soon as liquid is absorbed, but leave the lid on and let it "cook" in it's own heat for a little bit.

When you look at cooked Quinoa, it may appear to you that the "grains" have a little white string wrapped around part of them...this is normal...it is the germ of the seed. 

Let us know in a comment if you have had any experiences cooking Quinoa that might be helpful to us.

Inexpensive Rice Cooker

I have this brand and it works fine
Aroma ARC-838TC 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker & Food Steamer
Only $69.0

How to Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

You may ask, "can you cook Quinoa in a rice cooker"? 

The answer is yes

Use the measure that comes with your rice cooker, and cook 2 parts water to 1 part Quinoa, the same as we did in the instructions for cooking on the stovetop.

From personal experience, this worked well, but with my cooker, I needed just a very little bit more water. You may have to adjust according to your cooker after trying for the first time.

How to Cook Quinoa in the Microwave

As you would expect, when cooking Quinoa in a microwave, you use the same ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part Quinoa.

  • Put all in Microwave Safe Bowl
  • Cover, heat for 4 minutes on high setting
  • Remove, carefully remove cover, stir, cover, return to microwave
  • Heat for 2 more minutes on high
  • Remove and let sit for 1 minutes before eating

I have never cooked Quinoa in a microwave before, so am going to try that the next time.

Buy Quinoa Online

I always buy organic, this price is good for 4 lbs
Earthly Delights Organic Premium 100 ...
Only $21.81

Simple Ways to Eat Quinoa

It is good hot or cold

Quinoa is good just as it is, hot, with a little olive oil or butter stirred in, and we like to season it with Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning.

I will provide links to recipes for Quinoa below as we do tend to keep things simple.

Another thing that I like to do during warmer months is the following cold salad:

  • After cooking, stir a little olive oil with the Quinoa so it doesn't stick together and refrigerate
  • After it is cool, cut up in small cubs cucumber, green peppers, green onions and tomatoes.
  • Add to the cooled Quinoa, and toss/stir together
  • Add a few dashes of olive oil and either red wine or apple cider vinegar and stir in gently but well. 
  • Serve right away or put back in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The flavors blend nicely over time.


How to Grow Quinoa - Quinoa Recipes - Other Helpful Links

Tips from the Micro Farmer: How to Grow Quinoa

Growing Quinoa - How to Grow Quinoa (and Amaranth)

Quinoa Recipes from allrecipes.com

Quinoa Recipes at about.com

Updated: 09/04/2015, happynutritionist
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happynutritionist on 09/01/2014

@cazort I agree, it does take getting used to to get it just right. I have seen the red quinoa in Lancaster and health food stores, in our supermarket I'm only able to get the common yellow kind.

happynutritionist on 09/01/2014

It can take some a little getting used to, I have a recipe book of Quinoa recipes, it can be used like grain in many recipes but has more protein.

Rose on 09/25/2013

The texture of quinoa is kind of interesting - it goes well in salads

cazort on 04/05/2013

I find that different brands or sources of Quinoa cook differently--some need more water and a longer cooking time than others. Usually, when I get a batch to come out exactly how I like it, I will return to buy that exact source or brand rather than have to figure out a new one. It's not like rice, which I find is a bit more predictable.

I love red quinoa though...when I'm able to find it.

JustGreatTips on 05/28/2012

Thank you for your informative page. I am always reading about Quinoa in health magazines. It seems so easy to make that I think I will have a go at it :)

katiem2 on 04/22/2012

I admit I knew little to nothing about Quinoa, the name, word, keeps popping up and it was high time I learned how to grow and cook it. Thanks for the Quinoa tips.

sheilamarie on 12/28/2011

I love quinoa and have a few recipes I enjoy. I am working on a wizzle about them!
One hint I've heard is to rinse the quinoa before cooking. I've been told it prevents bitterness, though I've never compared the results of rinsing versus not rinsing.

Michey on 10/16/2011

I just put quinoa in my salads but you open here a new world for me.
Very useful recipes and post.

Holistic_Health on 10/16/2011

Always wondered how to use this. Thanks for recipe suggestions.

happynutritionist on 10/15/2011

Thanks kajohu and tssfacts, I hope you do give Quinoa a try again or for the first time. It's unique and good when cooked just right.

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