Cooking Healthy Quinoa

Quinoa has exploded in popularity in the last few years and has made its way from health food stores to the mainstream. More and more people are substituting the super grain for rice and pasta thanks to its delicate texture, brain-boosting power and high protein content.
There may be nearly 2,000 varieties of quinoa, most of which come from the Andes Mountains, but three are typically found in markets in the United States: red, black and the common white variety. These tips can be used to cook all three.

The Basics

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of dry quinoa equals approximately 3 cups of cooked quinoa
  • It takes about 20 minutes to cook 1 cup of quinoa.
  • You need approximately 2 cups of water or other liquid to cook 1 cup of dry quinoa.
  • Rinsing the grains in a mesh strainer can reduce most of quinoa’s natural bitterness.
  • Quinoa can be cooked with water but is especially delicious when cooked with chicken or vegetable broth.?
  • Quinoa can even be cooked in a rice cooker!

Cooking Quinoa 101


  • 1 cup white, black or red quinoa
  • 2 cups liquid (water or broth)
  • ? teaspoon salt


  • Spoon
  • 2-quart saucepan with lid?
  • Fine mesh strainer

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer to reduce bitterness. While rinsing, swish and rub the quinoa using your hands. Rinse under running water for about two minutes to completely remove the grain’s natural coating, known as saponin. You can skip this step if you buy pre-rinsed boxed quinoa.

Drain the quinoa, then heat a small amount of olive oil in the 2-quart saucepan. Add the drained quinoa then stir and cook for about one minute.

Add the liquid (either broth or water), then add salt and let the mixture boil.

Lower the heat to the lowest setting, place the lid on the saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it stand covered for five to ten minutes.

After settling, use a fork to fluff the quinoa and enjoy plain or with butter, salt, pepper, vegetables or herbs!

Cooking Ideas

Create a sweet and crunchy salad by serving quinoa with pine nuts, black pepper, cranberries, sweet potatoes, cinnamon and scallions, or make a tasty spring salad by pairing it with basil chiffonade, radishes, lemon juice and sea salt.

For dinner, serve quinoa tossed with asparagus, chickpeas and fresh peas, or serve it up in a filling omelet with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.