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Healthy Cooking with Quinoa

Updated on October 7, 2011
Healthy Quinoa
Healthy Quinoa

Quinoa is a highly nutritious seed that is originally from the Andean mountains of South America. It is often confused for a grain and can take the place of rice, millet or other grains on your daily menu, bringing you and your family a healthy, low fat source of protein.

Quinoa is almost always organically grown, is gluten free and packed with protien, all eight amino acids and is a good source of dietary fiber. A long time staple of the vegetarian diet, its now making it's way to more American tables than every before because of it's great taste and versatility.

Quick and nearly effortless to prepare, quinoa is easily added to your favorite recipes, from soup and chili to mixed vegetables and breakfast cereals.

Cooking Quinoa

Before cooking quinoa, it is necessary to rinse it thoroughly in cold water for optimal taste and health benefits. Measure your quinoa and rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Using two cups of water for every cup of quinoa, bring to a boil in a sauce pan or rice cooker. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 12-15 minutes. It should no longer look like a little seed. Instead, the quinoa will be tender and chewy and you will see white spiral like threads around each grain.

If you prefer to make large quantities, cooked quinoa can be stored in the refrigerator for the week ahead.

Once your quinoa is cooked, you can add to it or eat it plain. It's delicious under stir-fried vegetables, with thick stews or prepared as a pilaf with chopped walnuts, carrots and parsley.

Quinoa and sauteed veggies.
Quinoa and sauteed veggies.

Ways to add Quinoa to your Diet

  • Serve quinoa for breakfast with toasted walnuts, grated apples, milk and a little mapple syrup.
  • Add cooked quinoa to your scrambled eggs or an omlette.
  • Add quinoa cold to a salad for a little extra healthy crunch.
  • Use quinoa as a side dish. It's a quicker and healthier addition to your meal than rice.
  • Add a little quinoa to your favorite soup or chili recipe to add protein and texture.
  • Add sauteed garlic and onions to plain quinoa for a tasty side dish.

Quinoa Pilaf

To get you started cooking with quinoa, here is a quick recipe for making quinoa pilaf:

To make this easy recipe with quinoa, you will need:

  • 1Tablespoon vegetable oil (grapeseed oil works great too)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped onion
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2/3 Cup Chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup parsley, fresh, chopped
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion first in the oil until it becomes translucent. Add the carrots and cook for another three minutes. Stir in the quinoa and vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 20 minutes. When the quinoa is fluffy and sot, toss in a bowl with the walnuts and parsley.Enjoy! 


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    • citychick profile image


      7 years ago from Ulster County, New York

      I adore Quinoa! I truly believe that quinoa could cure world hunger...thanks for this informative Hub. Happy eating!

    • Jenny30 profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I will be trying this recipes for sure! Great hub!

    • clydelady2 profile image

      Nancy Ann 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      I am anxious to try quinoa. Great hub. Very informative. Thanks!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      You're welcome. :) I hope you are enjoying eating quinoa along with your daughter!

    • artlader profile image


      7 years ago from Aiken, South Carolina, USA

      Wow. I just bought some yesterday quinoa for my 90% Vegan daughter.

      It's like you knew I would need this Hub, Amy Jane.




    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you prasetio - I hope that quinoa will be available in your country soon. It is gaining popularity fast!

      Thanks WannaB Writer - glad to hear you are adding this healthy food to your diet. Feel free to share your recipes! I'm always looking for new ideas. :)

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      7 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I have just recently started cooking with quinoa. Some we used like rice with a stir fry, and then I made a salad with the leftovers later in the week. It was delicious. Maybe I should make it for lunch today.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Hi, Amy. I never heard about Quinoa before. But I believe this ingredient made the cooking really delicious and healthy. Unfortunately, I can find this in my country. But thanks for writing this. I learn much from you. Take care!

      Love and peace,

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      You're welcome! Let me know how you and your family like it...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the information--we will be trying this at home!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      I have not tried toasting it! But I will...thank you for the tip. :) It is a super food all around!

    • RocketCityWriter profile image


      7 years ago from Alabama

      Thanks for reminding me to go buy some more quinoa! Have you tried toasting it? It releases a little bit more of the flavor in my opinion, but whichever way you cook it this superfood is super good.

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      You're welcome! I'm sure you'll love it!

    • CennyWenny profile image


      7 years ago from Washington

      I've been wondering how to incorporate Quinoa into my diet, we need a health boost in our house, thanks for the great tips!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you both! :) You will not regret adding quinoa to your diet. I love it - even my kids will eat it!

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      The pilaf sounds delicious, and so easy. I have to admit I haven't added quinoa to my kitchen yet, and your up and useful Hub was just the kick-start I needed. Thanks!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the informative article. Thumbs up and useful.

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      You're welcome!

    • rpalulis profile image


      7 years ago from NY

      I love Quinoa and in fact is a major part my diet. Great topic, and thanks for the recipe.


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