My Top 10 Ways to Cook with Quinoa

 10 ways to cook with Quinoa

Photo Source

It’s a tiny seed that fits on top of a pin and looks more like birdseed than a healthy dinner, but this ancient Incan staple is no Plain Jane: it’s a protein-packed superfood. Read on to find out why.

Keen-WHAT?—What It Is

With a mild, nutty flavor and a texture similar to that of couscous or rice, quinoa (seriously, it’s pronounced KEEN-wa.) is actually related to leafy green vegetables like kale and Swiss chard. But leafy greens lack the dense protein content of the quinoa seed, and it’s this unique nutritional makeup that makes it so special.

First and foremost, quinoa is one of the only grains or seeds that provide the nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce themselves . Quinoa is most noted for its large amount of lysine, the amino acid most directly responsible for tissue growth and repair. A one-cup serving holds 442 mg of lysine— or about 5% of the daily-recommended intake for a 150-pound person (the USDArecommends 31 mg per day, per kilogram of body weight). The seeds are also very high in fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese . In 1993, NASA recommended quinoa for a program that plants key crops aboard spaceships to feed astronauts on long-term missions. If it’s good for astronauts in space, it’s got to be good enough for mere mortals on earth, right? Keep in mind all this goodness does come at a price. Quinoa’s relatively expensive for what it is— about $4.50/12 oz., which is roughly double the price of quality brown rice.

Delicious, Nutritious, Bootylicious — What It Means To You

Quinoa comes in three varieties—white, red, and black—all of which are extremely versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Step one is to rinse the seeds of their naturally occurring saponin coating, a bitter compound that protects the plant from birds and other animals. (Most commercial quinoa is pre-washed, but a quick rinse at home will get rid of any excess bitterness.)


The most basic preparation is to cook it like rice. Combine one part quinoa with two parts water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

1. Cooked with brown rice in the rice cooker. Then topped steamed broccoli and sauteed veggies in sesame teriyaki sauce.

2. Wrapped in a burrito with corn and beans.

3. Steamed with fresh veggies and covered in a vinaigrette.

4. Mixed with black beans, scrambled egg, diced avocado and lots o’ hot sauce w/ a squeeze of lime.

5. In tabouli replacing the wheat.

6. Browned with a little butter first then cooked with with mushrooms, slivered almonds, and nettles.

7. Mixed half and half with homemade salsa.

8. After it is cooked… add black beans, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, sea salt, avocado, cilantro and squeeze some lime juice.

9. Fruity quinoa salad with yogurt, fruit, nuts, and dried raisins or cranberries. The quinoa is cooked w/water, apple juice, and cinnamon.

10. Cooked in chicken or veggie stock instead of water with several cloves of garlic and a bunch of my favorite herbs.

Continue reading