Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Ingredient

Quinoa

Buy Now
Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Buy Now
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note
Buy Now

What is it?

Known as the “mother grain” of the Incan empire, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”), is a small, flat seed. It’s a staple for millions in South America and is available in a gorgeous array of colors, from golden-tan to brick-red. In Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile, where the plant grows abundantly, it has been eaten continuously for 5,000 years. (In the Incan language, the word quinua means “mother grain.”)

Quinoa, which is gluten-free, is a powerhouse of nutrition. It’s called a “superfood” because it’s a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. It’s also a good source of minerals and fiber, as well as iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E.

But how does it taste? It’s a mild, slightly sweet grain with hints of corn, nuts, and grass. But what makes quinoa really interesting is its soft-but-crunchy texture. When cooked, the germ falls away and retains an ever-so-slight crunch, while the seed itself becomes tender and light.

In recent years, quinoa has also become a Passover staple for many observant Jews. Since it is not truly a grain, it is generally considered kosher for Passover, as long as it is processed in a facility that does not also process other forbidden grains.

Despite its moniker, quinoa is not actually a grain. Unlike wheat, barley, corn, and rye, which comprise both seed and fruit, quinoa is seed only. It’s also not a member of the grass family, from which most grains are harvested. It’s more closely related to beets, spinach, and even tumbleweeds. Yet quinoa is considered a grain in the culinary world because it’s cooked and eaten just like grains and has a similar nutrient profile. Once cooked, the quinoa becomes translucent, and the white germ partially detaches, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.

Don’t have it?

Substitute bulgur wheat or couscous, though they don’t have the same texture.

How to choose:

Look for quinoa in natural-foods stores or well-stocked supermarkets. It’s a staple at stores with bulk bins.

How to prep:

First, rinse it well. This is an important step to rid the quinoa of its coating of saponin, a bitter, soapy-tasting natural substance that protects the plants from insects. Most quinoa is processed to remove much of the saponin, so submersion and a good swish in a bowl of cool water is all it takes to finish the process. If the water appears very cloudy, keep rinsing in fresh water until the cloudiness is almost gone.

Cook quinoa as you would rice: use a 2:1 liquid-to-grain ratio. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed. Quinoa cooks in about 10 to 15 minutes, making it the fastest cooking grain out there. Fluff the quinoa well with a fork before serving.

How to store:

Store quinoa in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

Click here to purchase

    Recipes

  • Moveable Feast

    Hiramasa Crudo with Yuzu Kosho & Fried Quinoa

    As the name implies, finger limes are roughly the shape and size of a finger. The interior of each lime contains small, individual vesicles, or pearls, filled with juice. They…

  • Recipe

    Seared Scallops with Citrus Quinoa, Herbs, and Almonds

    Infused with bright, aromatic flavors and full of wonderfully contrasting textures, this dish offers excitement with every bite. Steaming the quinoa after simmering gives it a drier, fluffier texture.

  • Recipe

    Peruvian Quinoa Bowl with Grilled Steak and Vegetables

    Grilled steak and vegetables capture Latin barbecue flavors. Ponzu is a tangy Japanese citrus-and-soy sauce, which is a nod to the Japanese influences in Peruvian cuisine.

  • Recipe

    Spicy Thai Tofu Burgers

    Don’t hide this pretty, veggie-packed patty in a bun; serve it on a Thai-inspired salad of chopped lettuce tossed with bean sprouts, grated carrot, and chopped fresh mint and cilantro.…

  • Recipe

    Fiesta Quinoa Salad with Grilled Shrimp

    Studded with black beans, bell pepper, and corn, this colorful grain salad can also be paired with grilled halloumi or tofu for a vegetarian meal. Tasty at any temperature, it’s…

  • Recipe

    Quinoa and White Bean Burgers

    These crispy, mildly sweet patties are delicious with lightly dressed arugula.

  • Moveable Feast

    Heirloom Bean Tostadas with Crispy Avocado

    Though we call for an assortment of canned beans for convenience, Chefs Feniger and Milliken used heirloom beans, such as scarlet runner beans, to dress up this recipe with color…

  • Recipe

    Breakfast Quinoa

    Quinoa makes a soothing porridge, a perfect choice for a higher-protein breakfast. Top it with your favorite berries, nuts or fruit.

  • Recipe

    Quinoa and Mushroom Risotto

    This creamy, earthy, aromatic faux risotto is just as soothing and satisfying as the real deal. Plus there’s no need for constant stirring.

  • Recipe

    Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers with Tomatillo Guacamole

    Quinoa gives these veggie burgers a fantastic “chew,” and of course packs plenty of protein. Tasty on an English muffin, they’re also delicious served sans bun.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

San Luis Obispo, CA (506)

In this episode of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking from San Luis Obispo county, California, Curtis jumps into the waters of Morro Bay Oyster Company, a hub for oyster farming…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks