Using quinoa

Photo from Wikipedia.

Quinoa is one of my favorite foods to use. It is a seed similar to a grain, and it contains a complete protein, making it a great meat replacement. You can easily substitute it for rice or other cooked grains, or you can find a recipe that features quinoa.

Where to get quinoa

I have seen quinoa in boxes at regular grocery stores. While perfectly acceptable, it is expensive! If you have a natural foods store nearby, check out the bulk bins. It's much cheaper there.

How to cook quinoa

You will need a fine-mesh strainer (if you don't have one, a normal strainer lined with cheesecloth will do). Before you cook the quinoa, you will need to rinse it, as it has a bitter coating.

Rinse your quinoa well and put in a pot with twice as much water as you have quinoa. Alternatively, you can put it into a pot of boiling water and strain it when you are done. Add a bit of salt if you like.

Boil for about 15 minutes, until tender but not mushy. If there is extra water, drain it.

How to use quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein. I would suggest against serving it as a side dish; it will fill you right up. Whatever you do, don't serve it with meat! Quinoa is one of those foods that if I eat too much of it, I won't be hungry for hours. I usually serve a quinoa dish with plenty of fruits and vegetables and a glass of milk.

My very favorite quinoa recipe is Lemon-Scented Quinoa Salad. (Due to a tahini recall, I am currently having withdrawals from this recipe. I hope tahini will be back soon!) Another recipe I have enjoyed is Quinoa Pilaf with Apples and Pecans.

Here are some other quinoa recipes that I want to try:

Have you ever used quinoa? Do you like it? What do you do with it?


  1. Thanks for this. I ate pasta made from Quinoa once, and liked it. This is good for an emergency stash, too.

  2. I will have to try this! I haven't had it before.

  3. I've never heard of quinoa, but would like to try it. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for the recipes! My husband bought a bag of quinoa during a recent trip to the Amish grocery store, but I didn't really know what to do with it.

    Do you think you could replace the tahini with natural peanutbutter? I've done it in hummus, and it's turned out fine. Perhaps that could be a solution?

  5. I have heard a lot about people using it as a flour substitute but never as a side dish- Thanks for the info I am going to have to try it!

  6. Quinoa is a completely new ingredient for me. I have actually never heard of it, let alone tasted it or used it in my cooking. But you have made me curious now, and I shall have to try to find some so I can find out for myself what it tastes like.

  7. I'd never heard of it before, but I am all about this kind of stuff. I'm going to go find some and give it a try.
    Thanks for the great tip.

  8. Great information. My mom has a wheat allergy and I've been trying to find more things to make without wheat. I am going to try this. I need more "filling" foods too with my growing boys. :)

    Thanks for sharing...and for stopping by my blog!

  9. We are eating more quinoa since my husband & I have wheat intolerance. We have have eaten quinoa spagetti and it is delish! (but expensive) I also make a quinoa pilaf with olive oil, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, etc. and cook it with chicken broth (or veggie broth if you are vegetarian) It is very good-but you are right-it does need to be rinsed first. We also recently ate some quinoa flakes for breakfast-kind of like oatmeal but finer.

  10. I've had this in restaurants and it IS great! I think it is more filling than rice. I've never made it, so I think this will be great to try! Thanks for sharing.

  11. I got a bag of quinoa a few weeks ago,I havent tried it yet,
    I think I will try the Quinoa Vegetable Soup first,
    thanks for the comment on the apron,the fabric is just beautiful and has a great feel and weight to it, thanks for the great info on quinoa!

  12. Thanks for posting these recipes. I bought some knowing that it was good stuff, and it has been sitting around, because I don't know how to use it!! :)

  13. I have been wondering about quinoa and what to do with it. Thanks for the great ideas.

  14. Speaking of those big bins at Whole Foods, what else can you do with that stuff? (Granola, grains, oats, etc).

  15. Danielle, I'll be tackling dry beans the next few weeks. Mostly, though, I just play with stuff--put a bit of this in my bread or a bit of that in my oatmeal.

  16. I found a great recipe for quinoa burgers on Pinterest. It is very filling and delicious! Very simple to make also.
    2cups cooked quinoa, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, 2 chopped green onions, 1 grated carrot, 1 grated zucchini......squeeze out the water before adding it to mixture, 1/8 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, salt, pepper, 3/4 cup grated cheese. Add all ingredients.Drop a 1/4 cup amount in olive oil. Fry about 4 minutes on each side. Very easy to make!