This Is The Best Way To Cook Quinoa (With Recipes)

Start making quinoa for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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favourite quinoa recipes - mediterranean quinoa bowl

A quinoa grain bowl. Photo, Erik Putz.

Quinoa earned its status as a nutritional powerhouse for a reason. As a complete protein, quinoa contains all nine amino acids and offers up 4 grams of protein per half-cup serving. It’s also gluten-free, a decent source of fibre and has a variety of vitamins and minerals. Best of all, it’s easy to make. Here’s how you can cook some up ASAP.

How to cook quinoa

  • Set a pot of water to boil. Follow a two-to-one water-to-quinoa ratio. That means if you’re making one cup of quinoa, use two cups of water
  • Rinse your quinoa under cold water and add it to the boiling water. Let it simmer in a covered pot for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Once the quinoa is cooked, turn off the burner and let it sit in the covered pot for an additional five minutes. This ensures all the water gets absorbed and leaves your quinoa light and fluffy

Do you need to rinse your quinoa?

Yes! By rinsing your quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, you get rid of its bitter outer coating. This might seem like an unnecessary step, considering you’re about to douse your quinoa in a vat of boiling water, but taste-wise, it makes all the difference.

What’s the difference between white quinoa and red quinoa?

White quinoa and red quinoa are fairly similar, though the commonly found white variety tends to be lighter tasting and fluffy. Red quinoa takes a little bit longer to cook and holds its shape better, making it a crunchy addition to salads and grain bowls. It’s also prized for its rich colour.

What should you make with quinoa?

Quinoa works well in sweet and savoury recipes. To make weekday meals a breeze, cook a bunch of quinoa at the beginning of the week so you can toss it into salads or use it as the base for a grain bowl when you need an easy work lunch or quick dinner. If you have a little more time, try some of these options.

Quinoa porridge

If you’re tired of oatmeal, try this protein-packed alternative:

  • Pour 2 cups almond milk into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high. Stir in 1 cup quinoa and 1/2 tsp cardamom. Cover. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 12 min. Remove from heat. Using a fork, fluff. Cover. Let stand until tender, 15 min.
  • Stir in more almond milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until porridge is as thick as you like. Stir in raisins, apricots and nuts. Spoon into bowls. Pour a little more milk over top. Sprinkle with berries. Great sweetened with honey, maple syrup or brown sugar. Serves 8

Shrimp fried quinoa

  • Cook 1 cup quinoa
  • Heat 2 tbsp canola oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add 1/2 small chopped onion and cook until softened, 3 min. Add in 1 cup frozen mixed veggies and cook, stirring, for 3 min. Add 2 cups shrimp and cook until they turn pink, 2 to 3 min. Add 2 beaten eggs, stirring constantly to scramble, until cooked.
  • Stir in 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp chili-garlic sauce, 2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp sesame oil and salt, then quinoa. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 4

Quinoa tabbouleh

  • Cook 1 cup quinoa
  • Dice 1/4 English cucumber, 2 tomatoes and 1 green pepper. Thinly slice 5 green onions and finely chop 1 large bunch parsley.
  • In a bowl, whisk 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp chili powder.
  • Pour quinoa into oil mixture and toss well. Cool to room temperature. Toss with chopped vegetables and parsley. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Makes 8 cups

How to cook quinoa