Simple, Easy, and Delicious Quinoa You'll Actually Love!

Updated on April 27, 2018
DixieMockingbird profile image

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

Fresh, fluffy, nutty quinoa is actually delicious when cooked correctly. Forget about bland, flavorless grain (actually seeds)—cooking it simply with seasonings makes all the difference in the world for delicious results!
Fresh, fluffy, nutty quinoa is actually delicious when cooked correctly. Forget about bland, flavorless grain (actually seeds)—cooking it simply with seasonings makes all the difference in the world for delicious results!

Quinoa That Actually Tastes Great!

Quinoa is a seed native to South America, and it's incredibly good for you. The problem is most of the time it's prepared so that it's dry and tasteless. That's too bad, because when cooked correctly, it's delicious, nutty and satisfying.

Quinoa comes in a range of colors, although the most common (and least expensive) version is just plain beige or light brown. The key to making it taste good is to make sure to season the quinoa well BEFORE you cook it—this allows seasoning to enter the individual grains, and making it taste good from the inside out.

Water is the most common liquid in which to cook quinoa, and I use it all the time. You get great results, with a nutty, neutral background, similar to brown rice. But you can use all kinds of liquids, including beef broth or stock, chicken broth or stock, or even vegetable broth. All of these bring their own flavors to the dish, and the results are terrific, depending on how you want to serve it. You can even throw in a dash of wine or good vinegar (I love champagne vinegar) to give the quinoa a hint of acid which is really gorgeous.

The most important ingredient is salt however. I use kosher salt for it's bright, clean flavor. If you don't season from the beginning however, the quinoa will be bland regardless of what else you might do for it. With kosher salt, the measurement for four finished cups of quinoa is a tablespoon, or 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for 2 cups of uncooked quinoa. So be sure to season generously at the beginning, and you'll love the results.

Quinoa can be served on it's own as a great side dish. But you can also add it to any number of other dishes. I like adding it to salads or soups for a protein and nutrition boost, or using it as the base for amazing chopped salads on their own.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 4 cups liquid - water, chicken broth, beef broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Measure liquid, quinoa and salt into the basin of a rice cooker, or into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. With a rice cooker, just hit cook - seriously. That's all there is to it.
  3. For the stove top, bring the quinoa to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. The liquid will be fully absorbed. Don't lift the lid while the quinoa cooks.
  4. Pull the quinoa off the heat and fluff it gently with a fork. It's ready to go! Enjoy!

Dried Quinoa Ready to Cook

Lots of folks rinse quinoa before cooking, but I rarely bother. I simply measure it out with a 2 to 1 ratio of quinoa to cooking liquid and let it go!
Lots of folks rinse quinoa before cooking, but I rarely bother. I simply measure it out with a 2 to 1 ratio of quinoa to cooking liquid and let it go!

Simplest Method? Rice Cooker!

I adore my rice cooker - I use it for all kinds of foods - rice, quinoa, veggies and lentils to start. Quinoa cooks at the same ratio as white rice - 2 parts liquid and 1 part quinoa, so it's simple to measure and hit 'cook'.
I adore my rice cooker - I use it for all kinds of foods - rice, quinoa, veggies and lentils to start. Quinoa cooks at the same ratio as white rice - 2 parts liquid and 1 part quinoa, so it's simple to measure and hit 'cook'.

Quinoa on the Stovetop

Quinoa is almost as easy to cook on the stovetop as it is with a rice cooker. Simply bring the liquid and quinoa to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is fully absorbed. Don't lift the lid while it cooks. Then just fluff with a fork and serve!

Add Liquid - Your Choice!

Quinoa can be cooked with just plain water, and I do that all the time. But feel free to up the flavor with any kind of stock you wish. Beef, chicken or vegetable stocks all work great, as does adding just a splash of wine or really good vinegar.
Quinoa can be cooked with just plain water, and I do that all the time. But feel free to up the flavor with any kind of stock you wish. Beef, chicken or vegetable stocks all work great, as does adding just a splash of wine or really good vinegar.

Leave the Lid On!

15 minutes is all it takes to produce this dish - just don't lift the lid while it's cooking. You'll release too much steam and blow the liquid ratio.
15 minutes is all it takes to produce this dish - just don't lift the lid while it's cooking. You'll release too much steam and blow the liquid ratio.

Fluff Gently With a Fork

Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork to separate the individual grains. Don't squash it with a spoon or spatula - you'll compress the cooked grains and get a bit mushy.
Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork to separate the individual grains. Don't squash it with a spoon or spatula - you'll compress the cooked grains and get a bit mushy.

All Done and Ready to Go!

Serve quinoa on it's own as a fast, nutritious and inexpensive side dish. It's lovely all by itself. Or use it in any number of salads, add minced veggies or spices - you'll love uses this all over the place!
Serve quinoa on it's own as a fast, nutritious and inexpensive side dish. It's lovely all by itself. Or use it in any number of salads, add minced veggies or spices - you'll love uses this all over the place!

Need More Help? Here's a Tutorial!

Fabulous Greek Power Bowls That Use Quinoa

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jan Charles

    Comments

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      • DixieMockingbird profile imageAUTHOR

        Jan Charles 

        5 months ago from East Tennessee

        Give it a try - you'll love how easy it is!

      • Margie Lynn profile image

        Southern Accents 

        5 months ago from the USA

        Jan I have never tried quinoa before, but just might try your recipe! Thank you.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        5 months ago from Houston, Texas

        I love eating quinoa and fix it on our stove. It is so versatile and can be used in so many ways. Recently I added it to my homemade chicken soup.

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