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Basic Quinoa Recipe

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A bowl of cooked quinoa

Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is a protein packed ancient seed from South America, similar to the texture of brown rice when cooked with a nutty flavor. It contains all 9 essential amino acids, lysine, phosphorous, copper, iron and magnesium and it is easy to make. It’s not truly a grain, it’s actually a relative of spinach.

It is recommended that you soak and rinse the seeds well before cooking. Once cooked the seeds expand about 4 times their original size, so 1 cup of uncooked quinoa seeds yields approximately 4 cups cooked quinoa. Preparation is simple, 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water or broth and is done in about 15 minutes.

Basic Quinoa Recipe

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup (cooked)


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water, or broth
  • salt to taste


  • Wash quinoa and add to a medium saucepan.
  • Add water or broth, salt and boil, covered for 15 minutes or until all the water has absorbed.
  • You will know when they are cooked when they are fluffy and you see a small thread.
  • Fluff with a fork and it will be ready to use for other recipes.
  • You can store it in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days and reheat in the microwave.

Last Step:

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1 cup cooked quinoa = 4 ww


Serving: 1 cup (cooked), Calories: 172 kcal, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 2.8 g, Sodium: 3.4 mg, Fiber: 3 g


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47 comments on “Basic Quinoa Recipe”

  1. I have this amazing salad recipe that I've eaten for lunch countless times 🙂 It's 1 cup dry quinoa (about 3-4 cups cooked), half a head of red cabbage, 10oz matchstick carrots, and half a bunch of green onions-this makes about 5 large salads. I use this low calorie sesame ginger dressing on it and it's fantastic

  2. you have to cook it longer than 15 minutes…it took about 17 – 18 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

  3. I soaked, rinsed, and boiled my quinoa in chicken broth. When I tried eating it, every 5 or so bites had a gritty taste like there was sand or something in it. Anybody else had this before? The quinoa was from the bulk section of the local Sprouts (health food store.) I hate that gritty feeling so bad that I feel sick even thinking about trying again.

    1. I have the same problem with the bag that I bought from Costco. The taste of sand or glass under my teeth is awful! I like quinoa and I didn't have that problems with other bags that I bought from Costco previously..

  4. I just made some warm quinoa salad and on reading this, I was surprised that no one mentions sprouting the quinoa? Not to direct people away from this fabulous blog, but since we all learn from each other, if anyone is interested, check out (read: google) "warm quinoa salad jules stonesoup" for the recipe I made incl sprouting tips (her directions are very simple and sprouting is super easy!). It was lovely! But once you're done, dont forget to come back to skinnytaste cos there are lots of recipes here too which are awesome!

  5. I was excited to find it at Walmart and for a reasonable price ! Give Walmart a try. I found it in the rice section

  6. WAlmart certainly does carry quinoa as do they goat cheese and hummus. Maybe you need to look instead of depending on a teenage stock boy to do your work for you!!!

    1. Different Wal-Marts carry different things, depending on what will sell there. Also, it's been two years since that person posted…a lot has changed in the food industry since then. More natural and alternative choices are available now because of demand. No need to be cranky about it.

  7. I wish I would have read this before I cooked mine. Followed the box directions but I think I undercooked it. Still good, though!

  8. I'm a chef and cook Quinoa every day. It's one of the easiest ingredients I've ever worked with. The reason you rinse it is because there's a fine resin on the seeds. If not rined well before cooking, your Quinoa may taste bitter. Take a metal-mesh strainer and rinse your Quinoa under cold water for about 5 – 10 minutes. Bring your water to a boil, 2 cups water to 1 cup uncooked Quinoa, put the Quinoa in the water once you see a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. 15 minutes later, your Quinoa is cooked…the Quinoa looks like ant hills in the pot when done! Fluff with fork and add anything you like to make a great salad!

  9. I love Quinoa! I buy it at Walmart in a box. It's the kind that doesn't have to be rinsed. Thanks Gina for all the great recipes!!

  10. I am curious. Why do you rinse the Quinoa? I bought a big bag at Costco. It does not say to rinse it in the cooking directions.

  11. I do a ratio of 1:1.25 quinoa to liquid. Bring to simmer and reduce and cover on low 30-35 minutes. let rest and fluff

  12. Something I learned about quinoa – once you rinse it, drain very well and pan toast it (just throw it into whatever pan you're using, no oil) till you hear a few start to pop – makes all the difference! My husband didn't like quinoa, said it tasted "funny" to him, though to me it's a totally neutral flavor. This simple tip has helped me use more quinoa in our diet with fewer objections 🙂

  13. This is a definate try! I make rice for daughter all the time. She does not like brown rice..heck not sure If I am even making it Definately will have to get some. Will use it for my homemade chicken soup she loves. Autum is coming already!

  14. I make mine and add cucumber, lime juice, tomatoes, red pepper and salt/pepper. It's yummy and relatively low in points

  15. Avatar photo

    You must rinse quinoa that you buy in bulk as it has saponins that coat it that are toxic, leaving you with numb lips and tongue. Boxed is already washed off, but not the bulk variety~

  16. I've been using Quinoa for many years. I'm sure Wal-Mart has never heard of it, like the time I asked for hummus and goat cheese, the guy looked at me like I was from Mars. Buy in bulk from health food stores or any large grocery store that has an organic section. Boxed costs more. I don't like the red kind, it's chewier, while the white kind is very soft.
    Anyway, do not soak it. Simply bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup quinoa, and simmer on low for TEN minutes, maybe less. When you see the cute curly cues have popped out of the kernel, it's done.
    Look up Quinoa on Wikipedia. It's the most nutritious grain, highest in protein, and some cultures call it "The Grain of the Gods". It is also less acidic than other grains, gluten-free and easier to digest. I choose it every time.