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Recipe reprinted with permission from Feeding the Whole Family (third edition) by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)

Pronounced "keen-wah", this grain (actually a seed) originated in the Andes Mountains in South America where it was once a staple food for the Incas.  It has a delicious light, nutty flavor.  When it cooks the grain opens up to make tiny spirals.  Quinoa contains all 8 amino acids and therefore has better protein value than most grains.  A nutrient-dense grain; perfect for those who have elevated needs, such as pregnant or nursing mothers.

1 cup quinoa
teaspoon sea salt
1 cups water

Rinse quinoa with water and drain.  Place rinsed quinoa, salt, and water in a 2-quart pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer 15-20 minutes.  Don't stir the grain while it is cooking.  Test for doneness by tilting the pan to one side, making sure all of the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes
Makes 2 - 3 cups


Rhonda Atwood
I recently made your amazing Emerald City Salad and loved the flavor, but was not crazy about the texture of the wild rice. Would it work to use quinoa in the recipe instead, or would that be too mushy? By the way, I have bought your book and also tried many of the recipes in your videos. Heavenly!
February 26, 2009, 12:55 pm

Cynthia Lair
Rhonda, I think that you could use almost any whole grain in the Emerald City Salad recipe. The trick is to cook the whole grain knowing that you will be making a salad out of it. Make sure the water, grain and salt are at a full boil before you turn it down to simmer. DOn't touch the grain while it is cooking or it will end up mushy. Tip the pan and check the grain when you think it is done. If there is even one drop of water, put the lid back on and let it finish absorbing. When you can tip the pan and there is not one drop of water, take off the lid and let the grain rest for 10 minutes. Wild rice takes a very long time to get tender and absorb all of the water. At least an hour. If you don't give it all the time it needs or have the heat too high it can turn out mushy or tough. Wild rice cooked just right makes a very nice salad but it can be challenging. Happy whole grains! Cynthia
February 26, 2009, 4:09 pm

Can I cook brown rice and quinoa together in the rice cooker?
June 13, 2009, 1:20 pm

Cynthia Lair
Bernadette, Never tried both in the rice cooker. Since quinoa cookes in 15 minutes and brown rice in 45 there's a chance that the quinoa would be a bit overdone (too soft) or the brown rice underdone...
June 14, 2009, 9:49 am

Rachel Cohen
To wash the quinoa, I use a cone coffee filter (permanent not disposable). The grains are so small that this seems to be the best way to strain them.
June 26, 2009, 7:05 am

Seano O'Connor
I was just given some quinoa flour... I was looking for some recipes on the site in which to use the flour. Any suggestions?
April 28, 2010, 4:08 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Seano, You can use the quinoa flour to replace about 1/4 cup of the wheat flour in any recipe. It will add different nutrients and give it a slightly different flavor.
April 28, 2010, 4:16 pm

Bethy Levy
Thank You for posting this info. on quinoa. I love the stuff, but can only eat it in restaurants. Why? Because I don't have a strainer with tiny enough holes to contain those sneaky little buggers. I will buy some coffee filters (don't drink coffee) and attempt to clean them that way. Every time I see someone making quinoa, they never show how to clean it and it always falls completely dry and beautifully into the pot it is going to be cooked in. I haven't been able to get it cooked into the beautiful little separate balls, either. It comes out more like mush. I tried making it after barely rinsing, but it comes out bitter. *sigh* I'll keep trying.
January 27, 2012, 3:08 pm

Cynthia Lair
Beth, Most quinoa sold in the stores nowadays is pre rinsed. You do not need a special strainer. Just put the grain in the pot with water and salt.
January 27, 2012, 4:00 pm

Bethy Levy
Thank You for such a quick reply, Cynthia! I have always bought organic quinoa in bulk because it is so much cheaper...maybe I should buy it by the box, since I've wasted most of what I've bought. I will follow your suggestion to Rhonda re: mushy quinoa. Thank You for your humor as well as your insight.~Bethy
January 28, 2012, 7:42 pm

Erika Dunning
Hi Cynthia, Back in the old days at Bastyr you taught us to rinse and then toast the quinoa in dry pan before adding water. At least that's what I have done for the past 9 years. I've tried not toasting the quinoa before adding water and when I do, the quinoa comes out less fluffy. Any thoughts on toasting or not toasting? Thanks!
February 24, 2013, 5:59 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Erika! Actually I learned that quinoa is now pre rinsed - even before it is sold in bulk. So there is no need to rinse it anymore. Toasting grains always renders them more separate after cooked. Many people don't want to take this step.
February 25, 2013, 7:47 am

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