Quinoa in Everyday Cooking

Sharing is caring!

Quinoa is a staple that deserves a spot in every kitchen. It’s a nutritional gem, easy to prepare, and pairs well with many ingredients. It’s suitable for a variety of dishes, from breakfast porridge to a hearty dinner side.

Three wooden bowls filled with the different colors of quinoa with wooden utensils and scoops
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos | Anton Matyukha.

Varieties of Quinoa

Quinoa comes in three main types: white, red, and black. When cooked, white quinoa is the most common, with a light flavor and fluffy texture. Red quinoa holds its shape better, making it perfect for salads, while black quinoa has a slightly crunchier texture and earthier taste.

Where to Buy Quinoa

You can find quinoa at most grocery stores, usually where rice and other grains are stocked. Health food stores often offer a broader selection, including bulk options, which can be more economical.

Storing Quinoa

Uncooked quinoa should be kept in a cool, dry place in a sealed container to keep it fresh. If you cook quinoa in bulk, it can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for longer storage.

Preparing Quinoa

Rinsing quinoa under cold water is a crucial first step to remove its natural coating, which can be bitter. Use a fine mesh strainer and run water over the quinoa until the water runs clear.

Preparing quinoa in boiling water in cooking pot on stove
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos | Jan Mach.

Cooking Quinoa

Cook quinoa by combining one part quinoa to two parts water or broth. Bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer, cover it, and cook for about 15 minutes. Once all the water is absorbed, remove it from heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes before fluffing it with a fork.

Flavoring Quinoa

Quinoa absorbs flavors beautifully, so consider cooking it in vegetable or chicken broth for additional flavor. Adding aromatics like garlic, onions, or spices to the cooking water can also infuse the quinoa with more depth.

Quinoa in Place of Other Grains

Quinoa can easily replace rice or pasta in most dishes. It’s a great base for a bowl, a filling addition to soups, and can be a substantial component in stuffed vegetables or casseroles.

Quinoa from Breakfast to Dinner

A crock with handles with the soup with butternut squash, spinach, and quinoa
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Quinoa isn’t limited to savory dishes; it’s also fantastic for breakfast. Cook it with milk and cinnamon, then top with fruit and a sweetener for a warm cereal. For lunch or dinner, it’s excellent in salads, bowls, or as a side.

Quinoa Salads and Sides

Cold quinoa salad is refreshing and satisfying. Combine it with vegetables, a protein source like beans or cheese, and a tangy dressing for a complete meal. As a side, mix it with herbs and a squeeze of lemon for a bright flavor.

Quinoa salad with cucumber,tomato and feta on a wood mat with utensils
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos | sarsmis.

Main Dishes with Quinoa

Use quinoa as the main ingredient in veggie burgers, as a hearty filler in wraps, or mixed with vegetables and a flavorful sauce for a satisfying main course.

Desserts and Treats with Quinoa

Incorporate cooked quinoa into baked goods for added texture. 

Quinoa’s versatility makes it an invaluable ingredient for home cooks. With its simple preparation and wide-ranging applications, quinoa can enhance any meal, making it a reliable and delicious choice for anyone looking to enhance their cooking.

Editor: Oliver Baysinger

Photo credits by Deposit Photos, Dishes Delish

Freelance Food Journalist | Website | + posts

Elizabeth (Beth) Mueller is a food journalist, CEO of Pear Tree Kitchen, and co-creator of Food Blogger Help. She also has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a registered nurse licensed in the State of Oklahoma. When she has free time between writing, blogging, and cooking, she can be found volunteering as an RN with the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *