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Quinoa suggestions

  • m

I just picked some of this up for the first time and would appreciate some suggestions on how to prepare it. Thanks

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  1. I like to dry toast mine in a pan first, then bring to a boil with water or stock in a 2:1 (liquid:quinoa) ratio. Once boiled, cover and reduce heat - simmer for a bit (I think roughly 10-12 minutes or until liquid evaporates), then let sit off heat for 5 minutes.

    I cook quinoa a lot. My latest favourites:

    * finish with coconut cream, chopped coriander and chopped scallions
    * eat for breakfast, topped with sliced avocado, a bit of hummus, maybe an Israeli chopped salad and a drizzle of olive oil
    * toss with mixed greens, tuna (bottled in olive oil), lemon juice, fresh herbs, s&p (in fact, add to any salad)

    Enjoy - I love it!

    4 Replies
    1. re: peppermint pate

      I've heard toasting add a flavor depth, but when do you rinse it? Before or after toasting?

      1. re: Earl Grey

        I remember reading a whole thread on this board once about rinsing - honestly, I've never rinsed mine and I've made it many times and it always tastes great. I should try it once to see if there's a difference. If I were to rinse it, I guess I would do it first, then let drain and then toast?

        1. re: Earl Grey

          Most commercially available quinoa has been processed to clean out the chemical on the outside that can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. I buy Bob's Red Mill quinoa and the package clearly states that there is no need for rinsing.

          1. re: cooknKate

            Thanks for clarifying. Glad to hear I haven't been missing anything by not rinsing. And I love Bob's Red Mill quinoa (and other products) as well.

      2. My favorite treatment is to make it into a pilaf. Saute diced veggies (I usually use carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and bell peppers) until browned and slightly tender. Then add your quinoa, toast it a bit with the veggies until it smells fragrant, then add stock (2 parts liquid for 1 part quinoa) or salted water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. You can also add cooked chicken or shrimp at the very end of cooking process, and finish with some fresh herbs and salt/pepper to taste. It's delicious, fast, whole grain, high-protein, and only dirties one pan.

        1. I make mine almost the same as a couscous dish, with chopped tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, a little parsely and fresh mint then toss in a light oil/vinegar dressing. Cool, resfreshig, heatlhy, eat alone or accompany with ?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Kitchen Queen

            But do you rinse it? And do you toast it?

            1. re: Earl Grey

              I buy Quinoa in bulk and do nothing to it prior. Suppose you could toast it a little for a nuttier flavor. :) KQ

            2. re: Kitchen Queen

              Similar to this, I basically substitute quinoa for bulgur in a tabbouleh recipe. I like the quinoa crunch better. It's also brighter with veggies. I do rinse mine. I do find mine to be bitter if I don't rinse them. I also cook mine in a rice cooker for simplicity.

            3. I didn't make it myself. But at a dinner party on Saturday night, I was served a quinoa pilaf that had fresh corn kernels mixed in that was lovely and so seasonal.

              1. So is the rinsing thing a myth? I've always heard that you need to rinse it to get rid of the bitterness. I'm happy to miss a step if it's not critical!

                I tend to make a mirepoix and then add the rinsed quinoa and water. I've made it with stock but it's really not neccasary. There's enough flavor from the quinoa and the vegetables, although I guess you could say the mirepoix makes a sort of vegetable stock.

                The other secret is to not consider it a replacement for rice. It's not as robust. But it's its own thing, and wonderful at that!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Earl Grey

                  It's not a myth, and there are many ways to take care of this, although, as I stated in a post above, you can purchase quinoa that does not require rinsing. The outer shell of the grain has a natural coating called saponin that repels insects and birds. Bob's Red Mill processes out that coating to make use of the grain easier.

                  One thing I have found in making quinoa is that it is easy to overcook it and 'blow out' the grain which makes it mushy. The little visible curl inside the grain should still be spiraled, not unfurled. Follow the directions closely to avoid this, as blown out quinoa isn't real appetizing.

                2. My favorite quinoa recipe is a Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad. Really easy and you can get creative with amounts and specifics.

                  Basically, make a batch of quinoa and then add a can of organic black beans (drained), organic corn kernals (drained), fresh cilantro, red onion, a little fresh lemon juice, and sometimes some balsamic vin. You can add avocado, bell peppers, or anything else that appeals to you.

                  I love this recipe because it makes a big batch, is very healthy, and works well as both an entree or a side dish.

                  Here's a recipe for it from a veggie site:


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Suebee

                    I tried this salad last night. It was delicious, and perfect for summer. Next time I make it I would definitely use 1 cup quinoa instead of 1/2 cup.

                  2. Try quinoa (cooked and cooled) mixed with chopped up fruit - I think I used nectarines and maybe plums?, chopped toasted almonds, a few currants because I had them lying around, lime juice, honey, a little oil, shredded mint and basil, s + p. It's a great hot weather meal.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: noeldottir

                      that sounds great, thanks!

                      my first and only quinoa experience was marred with too much water--the soggy end result made me realize why the recipe i had ignored recommended adding water in stages.

                      i prepared it with basil, lemon oil and diced peppers--okay, but not particularly exciting. then i added a couple spoons of leftover pesto and it was totally transformed.

                      1. re: rose water

                        I use slightly less liquid than the usually recommended 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio and I always make sure to let the finished, cooked grain sit and steam off heat, lid on, for at least 15 minutes. There's a magical transformation from soggy and sodden to light and fluffy. Quinoa is my new favorite go-to grain for quick, easy and versatile.

                    2. Quinoa, Mango & Curried Yogurt Dressing.
                      Quinoa, Cucumber & Seseme Lime Dressing.

                      1. I've made this recipe a handful of times and I really love it. Refreshing and nutty, due to the natural quinoa flavor and sesame oil.

                        Sesame Quinoa Salad With Shrimp (from Shape magazine)


                        1 cup uncooked quinoa
                        1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
                        1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
                        3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
                        2 green onions, minced
                        2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
                        1 tablespoon sesame oil
                        Salt and ground black pepper

                        1. Combine quinoa and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is translucent.

                        2. Remove from heat and stir in next 6 ingredients. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

                        1. I like the recipe below which I found on another board. I don't make it into timbales, but this makes a delicious, hearty one-put vegetarian dinner, a nice accompaniement to roast poultry or mean, or a great stuffing for peppers.

                          Spiced Quinoa

                          Servings: 6 as a side
                          Based of the recipe for Spiced Quinoa Timbales from Epicurious.com. These seem like Moroccan-style spices so I'm sure it would taste good on couscous or even basmati rice.

                          1 c quinoa, rinsed well and drained
                          1 small onion, minced
                          1—2 cloves garlic, minced
                          1 T extra virgin olive oil
                          1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
                          3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
                          pinch black pepper (optional)
                          1/4 tsp tumeric, generous
                          1/4—1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
                          1/2 c dried cranberries
                          1 c chicken stock, warmed
                          1/2 c chopped canned tomatoes
                          2/3 c reserved juice from tomatoes
                          1/2 tsp salt
                          3 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
                          1—2 T butter
                          1. Sweat the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the olive oil until softened and fragrant.
                          2. Stir in the cumin, the cinnamon, and the turmeric until onions are coated. Add the quinoa (feel free to dry-roast the quinoa first for extra nuttiness) and cook the mixture for about a minute.

                          3. Stir in the warmed broth, tomatoes and juice, cranberries, and salt.

                          4. Over medium-low heat simmer the quinoa mixture covered and without stirring for about 15 minutes, or until the majority of the liquid is absorbed.

                          5. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, still covered, for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the chopped parsley and butter. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Add some black pepper if you want.

                          1. I like to use my leftover cooked quinoa in the bread machine. My youngest son won't eat whole grains, except in bread.

                            1. Add some quinoa to your basic cold lentil/tomato salad (1 part quinoa to 4 parts lentils). It lightens up the taste, adds interesting texture and doesn't overpower with the unique quinoa taste. The quinoa cooks in about the same time as the lentils - quickly!

                              1. I had a quinoa risotto at a Peruvian resto that was to die for, I couldn't find a tried and true recipe but hope to one day.

                                1. I like to cook quinoa separately and then bake it in the oven with some other vegetables. If you have some small artichokes, you can put them in the cooked quinoa and then stick it an oven for 15 minutes. The quinoa seems to be tastier when it gets dried a bit in the oven.

                                  You can put whatever you want in it: cheese, sage, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, anything.

                                  1. I like to add a bay leaf while the quinoa is cooking, it adds a nice bakcground note to savory dishes.

                                    1. Has anyone tried red, as opposed to white, quinoa? I had never seen the red but bought some today to try. The guy in the store said it has a nuttier flavor than the white. Other opinions?