Quinoa- How to Cook & Serving Suggestions

Photo From: Quinoa- How to Cook & Serving Suggestions

Photo credit: Patrick McDowell


  • 1 part uncooked quinoa (e.g. -1 cup of quinoa)
  • 2 parts water (e.g. - 2 cups of water)
  • Salt, to taste (around 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup of quinoa)


This recipe is for any color of quinoa.

Yield=1 cup of dry quinoa will make 3 cups of cooked quinoa. 

Rinse the quinoa: Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds. Drain well. This step removes any bitterness on the outside of the quinoa (caused by naturally occurring saponins). I prefer to soak the quinoa overnight, then rinse.

Put a little olive oil in the bottom of your saucepan, add the quinoa and simmer briefly. Add water. Bring the mixture to a boil UNcovered, over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat a bit to maintain a gentle simmer (still UNcovered). Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 10 to 20 minutes (small amounts of quinoa will be ready closer to 10 minutes; larger amounts between 15 to 20). Reduce heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer.

Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. This step gives the quinoa time to pop open into little curlicues, so it’s nice and fluffy. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Season with salt, to taste, unless you’re proceeding with another recipe as written.

I love to stir a drizzle of olive oil and clove of garlic into warm quinoa for extra flavor. Other options include chopped fresh spinach or arugula, or massaged kale. Fresh herbs and/or dried spices are nice, as well as grated or crumbled cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pitted and sliced olives, etc.

Leftover quinoa keeps well, refrigerated, for 4 to 5 days. Make sure it has cooled to room temperature before covering and chilling. 

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