This is one of the base recipes featured in Part 2 of our Whole Life Meal Plan. Quinoa is a popular, nutritious, and delicious whole grain that can be used in a variety of ways. Cooking quinoa is more about the technique than the recipe, so be sure to read the article rather than just jumping to the recipe so that you can make tasty, fluffy quinoa every time!
Must Know Cooking Skills
Culinary Tips for Perfect Quinoa
Did you know that quinoa cooks in the same amount of time as white rice?? It’s true – just ~15 minutes! Swap your white rice with quinoa for an increase in fiber, phytonutrients, and plant-based protein (more on this in the nutrition section).
Either rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to help remove the bitter outer coating or dry toast it in the pan (2-3 minutes) before adding the liquid.
Follow the quinoa ratio of 1 part quinoa: 1.5 parts water or broth. Many recipes suggest a 1:2 ratio, but we find that our ratio creates a better final texture. If you want to cook more than 1 cup of quinoa, use this ratio to determine how much liquid you will need.
Add more flavor by using low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth or stock instead of water. Check the sodium content of the broth or stock before adding salt. If higher than 140 mg, consider eliminating or adding just a tiny pinch.
Cook the quinoa until the water is just absorbed and a white ring pops out around the grain. If liquid remains after 15 minutes, just re-cover the pan and continue to cook for a few minutes.
Once done, keep the lid on and allow the quinoa to rest for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Quinoa: use any color – white, red, black, or multi-colored.
- Water or Broth: if using water, skip the tap and use purified from your refrigerator. Use vegetable or chicken broth or stock, homemade or store-bought. If using store bought, select low-sodium or no-added-salt varieties.
Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste!
If you want to add crushed or minced garlic, spices, or fresh herbs, go for it!
For guaranteed recipe success, use the following pieces of equipment:
Why is quinoa good for you?
Quinoa is technically a pseudo cereal grain, but because it is nutritionally comparable to whole grains, we group it alongside brown rice, farro, millet, etc. Quinoa is a unique plant food because it is a complete protein, which means it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids we need to get from food. Further, quinoa has a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio compared to other grains.
Whole grains such as quinoa are good sources of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber is important for digestion, satiety, stable blood sugar, good cholesterol, and healthy gut bacteria. Phytochemicals work as antioxidants to help fight off diseases and keep us well.
How long is cooked quinoa good for?
1 week! Cool quinoa completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, transfer to a microwave-safe dish and heat through in the microwave.
Leftover quinoa is also great cold or tossed in a green salad.
You can also freeze cooked quinoa. Cool completely, then store in a freezer-safe container in bulk or single servings.
Looking for more quinoa recipes?
Try out these delicious and nutritious recipes!
Fluffy Quinoa Base Recipe
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 ½ cups water or low-sodium broth or stock
- Salt to taste
- Using a fine-mesh strainer, rinse and drain quinoa. Add to a small (~1 ½ quart) saucepan. Alternatively, dry toast the quinoa in the saucepan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add water or broth and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (~15 minutes). Look for a white ring that pops out when the quinoa is cooked. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork. Enjoy!