All about Quinoa

If you have ever passed quinoa, pronounced keen-wa, in your grocery’s bulk food aisle, pass no more. This gluten free grain is both economical and versatile. You can use it instead of rice in recipes, in place of oatmeal for breakfast, or in numerous other recipes to complete your dinner. Whole Foods “Learn to Cook, Learn to Save” says, “Cooked and cooled quinoa sealed in a tight container will store in the fridge for 3 to 5 days”, and I think it easily makes a great topping on lunch salads or in wraps. Also says, “Quinoa is a complete protein containing all eight essential amino acids. It is light and fluffy in texture but has that whole grain ability to fill you up.”

Photo and Recipes from Whole Foods

To cook quinoa you need…
1 cup quinoa
2 cupes water
1/2 tsp sea salt

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear, drain and transfer to a medium pot. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is adsorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork.

Tips & Tricks

  • For extra flavor, use vegetable, chicken or beef broth instead of water when cooking quinoa.
  • Toast quinoa (after rinsing) in a large skillet for 3 to 4 minutes before cooking to add more depth to its flavor.
  • Pour soymilk over hot cooked quinoa and top with nuts and dried fruit for a satisfying breakfast cereal.
  • For a healthier twist on pasta or potato salad, toss cooked quinoa with chopped vegetables, fresh herbs, vinegar and olive oil.
  • Add cooked quinoa to soups, stews and casseroles.
  • Store cooked and cooled quinoa in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Now test your skills…

Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peas

Recipe from

Serves 8

Welcome spring–or vegetarian guests–to your table with this delicious main-course recipe that is destined to become a favorite for family and feasts alike. For killer veggie burgers, serve any leftover slices on toasted whole wheat buns with lettuce and spicy mustard.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 cups cooked quinoa ( Learn to Cook: Quinoa)
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
10 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
1 cup (about 1 onion) chopped red onion
Note: Consider a flax seed egg sub (1 tbs ground flax & 2-3 tbs water) or an egg substitute in this recipe to keep the loaf together better.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch loaf pan with oil; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, put beans, oats and 1/2 cup water into a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, bean mixture, quinoa, peas, parsley, tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan, gently pressing down and mounding it in the middle. Bake until firm and golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Set aside to let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Per serving (about 6oz/172g-wt.): 170 calories (35 from fat), 4g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 8g protein

Mushroom and Peas with Miso Quinoa Dressing


Makes 4 to 6

Miso adds savory depth to this unique dressing — an excellent side dish for the holidays or any time of year. Transform it into a hearty vegetarian entrée by adding cubed, baked tofu.


1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups packaged miso broth or 2 cups water mixed with 4 teaspoons miso paste
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup diced green onions


Place quinoa in fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Drain quinoa and set aside.

In a heavy medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add diced carrot and sauté about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic and ground ginger and sauté until garlic is fragrant and vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Add quinoa and stir for about 1 minute. Mix in broth. Cover and simmer over low heat until quinoa is almost tender, about 12 minutes. Add peas, cover and continue simmering until quinoa grains are translucent and liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to bowl and stir in diced green onion.


As a main dish (4 servings):Per serving (About 6 oz/161g-wt.): 250 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 10g protein, 40g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 300mg sodium As a side dish (6 servings):Per serving (About 4 oz/108g-wt.): 170 calories (40 from fat), 4.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 6g protein, 27g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium

Eat well,


1 Comment

Filed under Main Course

One response to “All about Quinoa

  1. I'm excited about this post, I just bought three more boxes of quinoa on Saturday, so I'm ready to try out some new quinoa recipes. The quinoa loaf sounds especially tempting!- Brit

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