Quinoa - Health Benefits and Cooking Tips

Put one of these doorsteps in your lunch box.
Put one of these doorsteps in your lunch box.

You'll need this much raw veg.

Chop it, but leave it raw.
Chop it, but leave it raw.

Quinoa - the grain-like seed

This hub’s mainly about getting quinoa onto your plate - quick and easy. You can make up your own mind about the health blurb. If you Google 'quinoa' you'll get all the guff.

However, here's a quick run down of the pros. (Other than price, I don't know of any cons):

Quinoa has the nine essential amino acids the body needs for muscle building protein, and fibre for a healthy colon. Quinoa has minerals like magnesium for relaxing your muscles and blood vessels, manganese and copper antioxidants, which protect against cancer, and it has more calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn.

Quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook - but if you bring it to the boil and then simmer it at the lowest heat possible, you can go about your morning routine, and not worry too much about it sticking to the bottom of the pan. (It’s not as starchy as rice and other grains because it’s more a seed than a grain.) It'll take longer, but you won't have to stand over it. (Just a suggestion.)

No Frills Nutrition

Microwave this just as it is for quick nutrition.
Microwave this just as it is for quick nutrition.

Quinoa cooks in 15 mins

Cook 100g (1 cup) of quinoa in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, then add it to the raw vegetables.
Cook 100g (1 cup) of quinoa in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, then add it to the raw vegetables.

Here’s the Quick Recipe

100g (1cup) of uncooked quinoa,
2 cups of water
Seasoning to your taste.
1 heaped tablespoon of oatmeal
2 eggs.
200g chopped raw vegetables.

Rinse the quinoa well in a sieve, and bring it to the boil in 2 cups of water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Mix the cooked quinoa, with the rest of the ingredients raw, in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 15-20 minutes. Slice it and eat it.

A wee bit more of the blurb

Health gurus recommend whole grains nowadays, but quinoa isn't really a grain; it's a seed. It's more nutritious than grains, with: amino acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Use the following mixture for a variety of dishes

100g (1cup) of uncooked quinoa,
1 medium onion chopped.
1 level dessertspoon of bouillon mix.
2 heaped tablespoons of quinoa flour (any flour, or oatmeal will do)
2-3 eggs.
200g chopped raw vegetables (whatever ya fancy).

Rinse the quinoa well in a sieve, put it in a saucepan and bring it to the boil in 2 cups of water; then simmer for 15 minutes on the lowest heat possible.

The quickest way to prepare this mixture is to dump the cooked quinoa into a bowl with the other ingredients raw, and mix well. If you do that in the morning, you’ll save time in the evening. You could cook it in the morning, but you’ll lose vitamins that way. So, if you can, leave it raw, then, when mealtime arrives, give it full pelt in the microwave for about 15-20mins. You can cook it, then, serve it, from the same mixing bowl to cut down on dirty dishes. You can carve it directly from the bowl; it has a similar texture to meatloaf.

That’s the quick way to get quinoa into your face - using the recipe. If you want the vitamins in the vegetables to survive the cooking process, don’t cut the vegetables too fine - the thicker the better. If you're trying to deceive the kids into swallowing green stuff, you can mask the taste, or the texture of the vegetables, by mincing, or even blending them. It’s a bit of a trade off.

Seeds and Omega Oils - Good For The Brain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Quinoa Log (meat loaf substitute)Quinoa Burgers
Quinoa Log (meat loaf substitute)
Quinoa Log (meat loaf substitute) | Source
Quinoa Burgers
Quinoa Burgers | Source

Some Variations

If you like, you can line the bowl by greasing it with olive oil and coating it with oatmeal. Then you can upend it when it’s cooked; it’ll slice like meatloaf, but let it stand a while before you turn it, to give it time to bind - or it might not come out in one piece. You can shape it into a log, on a plate, or a tray, coat it with course oatmeal, and, or, sprinkle it with your favourite seeds, like sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, whatever you like. Seeds are full of the essential omega oils 3, and 6. They form the membrane around the neurons in your brain. They protect your heart, joints, and immune system too. That sounds essential enough - to me. If you have a moment, it’s worthwhile Googling something like - “What will Omega oils do for me?”

If you want to put some colour around it, to impress the kids, or guests - you can dust it with a mild paprika for red, or turmeric for yellow. Microwave it for convenience, but you can brush it with olive oil, and stick it under the salamander (grill) to give the seeds a nice toasted finish.

You can use the mixture, with, or without the vegetables, to make veggie-burgers; don’t overcook the quinoa, and you’ll get a minced-meat texture. You can even make scotch eggs with it - leave out the vegetables for this - and it’s best to shallow fry.

If you find the mixture a bit sloppy to work with, when you leave out the vegetables, make up the difference with more soy flour, quinoa flour or oatmeal, or just use less egg.

The variations are endless - but the main thing about the basic recipe is it’s quick, and packed with nutrition. (See the Quick Recipe at the top of the page, if you’re a busy Mum or whatever.) Although freezing can rob you of some of the vitamins, (life is full of compromises, for most of us) you could easily freeze this for your future convenience. You won't need to go hunter gathering around the supermarket for pizzas and frozen gunk full of empty calories, when you’re tired and irritable. This is a meal in itself.

Comments 18 comments

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

This sounds interesting I have never heard of this. Thanks for the recipe.

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi ladyjane1, quinoa comes from South America. It's supposed to be a health food. I don't study the details too much. I started experimenting with it is because my wife heard about it on the radio, and she wanted it in her diet. I've found it's really versatile, even more versatile than rice or grains - and you get all your nutrition in one place. It's a wee bit pricy though.

Thanks for looking in on me.

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

I tried quinoa porridge once- just the once! Gillian McKeith used to mention it a lot so I thought I would give it a go, but cooked on it's own it was a little uninspiring. Maybe I should try again with your recipes as a guide. Sounds like a good plan. Cheers!

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Amanda, it's nice to hear from you again. I've not tried Quinoa porridge yet - maybe one day. Quinoa lends itself well to sweet things, a substitute for rice etc. I sometimes use quinoa flour for sweeties (candy US), pancakes, and crumbles. I once tried to make a Yorkshire pudding with it. (Don't ask - it's a good job I was the only one eating it.)

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Never heard of this stuff before, but thanks a lot for writing it up so interestingly. Will look into it further.

Love and peace


amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Thanks Tony. Love, peace and good health. What else would we need?

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

Hey I never heard of Quinoa but I am all for herbs and nutritious anything, I will come back in the morning and write that down. Do we have it in North Carolina? Does it come in a pack like rice?

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Pollyannalanna, if I can get quinoa in this backwater where I live I'm sure you'll get it easily. I get it from the health shop. I can even get it from a local supermarket, so it's becoming more available now. The supermarket sells it in plastic bags. It’s in about where they have things like buckwheat and millet etc.

Thanks for looking in on me.

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

You are so welcome and I am sorry but I can't help but sit here laughing wondering about where I might find buckwheat and millet. Worlds apart, but I am sure I can ask someone in the stores. We don't have a health shop nearby but in a huge mall half hour away, I don't visit often but will as soon as it warms up, having an unusually bad winter. Thank you.

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Happy healthy hunting.

sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

I'm getting an education tonight. Never heard of this, but you make it sound worthwhile to try.

Latrelle Ross 6 years ago

Great hub! So informative. Was aware of this great food, but not aware of how truly good it is for the body. Thanks :)

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hello sheila b, you'll find a lot of info about the health benefits of quinoa if you Google it (or whatever). As for cooking, I find it easy to work with - even easier than rice, which seems to take longer.

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Latrelle, I find quinoa versatile and easy to use. It’s a wee bit difficult to get hold of, and pricy - but if more people start using it, maybe the price will come down.

Fay Paxton 5 years ago

I came here from your latest hub to get a rundown on this quinoa. I wonder if we perhaps call it something else in the states? I never heard of it. Anyway, it sounds like it's packed with nutrition but you didn't tell me how it tastes.

That's the most important part! :)


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Fay - quinoa tastes a bit like rice, and, as with rice, you can use it in sweet or savoury dishes. Your compatriots call it quinoa; it comes from your own hemisphere (from high in the Andes); the Aztecs called it the "Mother of all Foods". However, I don't think you'll get it at McDonald's - (but there might be a few mothers there).

It's supposed to be a super food; you'll find a few hubs about the stuff, and plenty of info if you Google around.

Thanks for dropping by. Good health.

Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

Dear Amillar,

Assure Fay that quinoa tastes good! I like it! Will be using it tonight as part of dinner. I will be mixing it with chicken, tomatoes, onion, some chile peppers and salsa.

amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

That sounds tasty Jillian. I have quinoa almost every day; I find that it's very versatile and easier to cook than rice because of the starch in rice. So I'd certainly recommend it to Fay. (As for the GOPs, I'd give them rice - one each.)

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