Quinoa is a super-nutritious, versatile grain that cooks up in no time and makes a great alternative to rice and couscous. Learn how easy it is to make and find some new recipes that use it.

Raw quinoa in a wooden bowl with a measuring scoop.

Quinoa is a firm-textured grain with a subtle nutty flavor that cooks up fluffy and light. It can be used in place of rice or couscous in many recipes and it’s quick and easy to prepare.

Once a staple food of the ancient Incas, quinoa, a highly nutritious grain native to South America, is finding its way onto American tables with increasing frequency.

Because it contains eight essential amino acids, quinoa is considered to be a complete protein. It’s also lower in carbohydrates than most other grains, gluten-free and a good source of iron and fiber.

How to Make Quinoa, Step-By-Step

  1. Thoroughly rinse the quinoa with cold water in a fine-mesh strainer. This removes a somewhat bitter, soap-like coating of a naturally occurring substance called saponin. Saponin is thought to be quinoa’s natural protection against insects, birds, and fungus, and most of it is removed during processing, but rinsing is still a good idea for best results.
  2. Place the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 12 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
  3. Fluff with a fork, add seasonings or combine with other ingredients as you would rice or couscous.

Recipe Variation: Quinoa with Scallions

We serve this easy variation alongside our Spice Breaded Chicken Tenderloins, but it would make a great accompaniment for just about any grilled, roasted, or pan-seared protein.

Prepare our basic recipe with the following substitutions:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic until fragrant.
  • Add 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the broth has been absorbed, about 12 minutes.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 sliced scallions and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 3 minutes before serving.

More Quinoa Recipes

How To Prepare Quinoa

How to Make Quinoa

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Learn how quick easy it is to prepare quinoa as a side dish or as a base for a healthy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water, stock, or broth

Instructions

  • The first step is to thoroughly rinse the quinoa with cold water in a fine-mesh strainer. This removes a somewhat bitter, soap-like coating of a naturally occurring substance called saponin.
  • Saponin is thought to be quinoa’s natural protection against insects, birds, and fungus and most of it is removed during processing, but rinsing is still a good idea for best results.
  • Place the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed about 12 minutes.
  • Quinoa turns translucent when fully cooked. Fluff with a fork, add seasonings or combine with other ingredients as you would rice or couscous.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Recipe Variation: Quinoa with Scallions

We serve this easy variation alongside our Spice Breaded Chicken Tenderloins, but it would make a great accompaniment for just about any grilled, roasted, or pan-seared protein.
Prepare our basic recipe with the following substitutions:
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic until fragrant.
  • Add 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the broth has been absorbed, about 12 minutes.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 sliced scallions and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 3 minutes before serving.
Calories: 156kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 239mg, Fiber: 3g, Vitamin A: 6IU, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 2mg
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