Basic Quinoa

Photo by: Sarah Shatz

by Whole Foods Market

over 2 years ago

Native to the Andean mountains of South American, the cultivation of quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) dates back to the Incan empire some 4000 years ago. The Incas referred to quinoa as “mother grain” because of its central role in their diets and cultural lives.Quinoa has a pleasantly sweet, earthy, delicately grassy flavor that goes well with a variety of flavorings and preparations, everything from breakfast cereal to savory vegetarian entrees. Quinoa also has a unique texture that manages to be soft and creamy while offering a pleasant pop-like crunch—inspiring some people to call it “vegetable caviar”.

At harvest quinoa kernels have a natural pest-resistant coating (called saponin) that is harmless but unpleasantly bitter-tasting. Many processors rinse and dry the kernels before packaging, but it’s good practice to rinse quinoa well before cooking—especially when buying in bulk. Using broth in place of water will add savory flavor and nutritional value.

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Pinch salt, if desired
  1. Wash the quinoa in several changes of water, swishing with your hand, until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Combine quinoa with 2 cups water (or broth) in a heavy pot. Add a pinch of salt (optional). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until tender but maintains a pleasant crunch and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (The spiral thread-like part of the grain comes unattached when the grain is ready, so that you can see little squiggly threads.) Let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Nutrition Info:


  • 626 calories
  • 10g total fat
  • 1g saturated fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 158mg sodium
  • 109g carbohydrate (12g dietary fiber, 0g sugar)
  • 24g protein
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