Looking for an alternative to cereal, grains, flour, or, well, anything? Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is perfect to add to any meal, especially for vegetarians, vegans, and those with a gluten-free diet. This seed, often mistaken for a grain, is considered a “pseudocereal” and belongs to the family that contains spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. Its nutty, mild flavor is an old favorite that’s becoming popular again in many kitchens.
Foolproof Fluffy Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water (or chicken or vegetable broth)
Pinch of sea salt
- Wash quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer (this removes a bitter natural compound called saponin). Drain well.
- Add quinoa to a small pot along with the water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat to lowest possible setting, and cook for 15 minutes. Peek to see if water is mostly evaporated; if not, keep simmering for 5 more minutes. Turn off heat.
- Keeping the lid on, let quinoa sit with the heat turned off for at least 5 minutes, and serve warm.
- Cheesy Quinoa. Gently stir 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan into warm quinoa.
- Quinoa Primavera. Add peas, chopped peppers, cucumbers, and carrots to cooled quinoa.
- Black-Bean Quinoa. Toss quinoa with black beans, chopped scallions, red onion, yellow pepper, cilantro, and a dash of salt.
If you are cooking quinoa to use for a grain salad, you’ll want to cool the quinoa down completely before mixing it with other ingredients, or else the quinoa will turn to mush. Spread the quinoa over a baking tray to cool down quickly and prevent overcooking.
Quinoa, often labeled a superfood, is the only non-animal food that is considered a “perfect protein,” meaning it contains the nine amino acids essential to human function and health. Along with being high in protein, it is a good source of fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. High in calcium content, it is strongly recommended for those with a dairy intolerance. Quinoa is easy to digest, especially compared to other “grains.”
For more nutrition and health information about quinoa, visit our Food Encyclopedia .
Cooked quinoa can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. It can be stored in a tightly sealed container or bag in the freezer for up to 1 month.