Beginners Guide To Eating Quinoa:

by Carole Bourne

Until recently I didn’t know much about quinoa.  Gosh, I couldn’t even pronounce it (keen – wah).  But now, I have fallen in love with the versatility, taste and nutritional benefits of this wonderful little seed called quinoa.  Its such a super food.   It happens to look a bit like millet and can be bought in different colours with white being the most common.


Photo byKevin from Closet Cooking:

I first started cooking it for breakfast, as a porridge, with some ground cardamon, yoghurt, honey and blueberries.  Yum!   Amazingly light (not heavy like rolled oats), delicious and very nourishing.    I then quickly discovered that you can use it basically like rice and yes, you can even cook it in your rice cooker.

My second quinoa dish to cook was a  Moroccan quiona pilaf and it was fantastic. An easy one pot meal.  A big thanks to Nicole for sharing the recipe over at Rejuvenation Lounge’s  facebook page.

Quinoa is a complete protein and super food:

In my research it was the nutritional facts that really excited me.     Around 30% – 50% of your daily requirements for  iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium in a 100 gm serve.  A complete protein containing 8 amino acids, heaps of fibre (I can personally vouch for that) and great antioxidant.

In fact many sites that I visited during my research claimed that quinoa was almost the ideal food with the huge arrange of nutrients it contains.

Quick facts you might like to know about quinoa:

1. Use it like rice or a grain

2. From what I understand its a seed although often called a grain

3. Absorbs more water than rice

4. Bulks up when cooked to around 3 times its original size

5. Can be eaten as a porridge, in a stir fry, added to soups as a thickener, salads, as a burger or in a pilaf.

7. Gluten free

6. Always rinse before using – all quinoa cooks seem to stress this

7. For cooking generally 2 cups of water for 1 cup of quiona ( but I find it varies)

8. There are three mains types of quinoa – cream, red and black.  ( I prefer the cream quinoa ).  Red and black seem to be used often for salads.

9. You  can also buy quinoa flakes (great for porridge) and flour

10. Has a yummy nutty type flavour

Quiona recipes:

I’ve been searching the web to collect around 3 or 4 quinoa meal recipes and a couple of salad ones for myself.  Here’s a few that have grabbed my attention so far.  I keen to try the quinoa burgers with hummus and roasted red peppers and the quinoa tabbouleh next.

Please, please do share your favourite quiona recipes.  Quinoa deserves a lot more attention than its getting.  I only wished I started cooking with it years ago.


Photo by Kevin his recipe Morocan roasted carrot and chick pea quinoa salad:

Aspargus and baby artichoke quiona salad

Quiona quinoa breakfast brownies:

Quiona stuffed portobello mushrooms

Disgustingly good for you Quiona and tofu salad

Quiona with summer vegetable stir fry

Quiona burgers with hummus and roasted red peppers



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie June 7, 2010 at 10:50 am

I’d like to be able to quickly make breakfast with quinoa as a hot porridge

Any suggestions?

Important fact about quinoa is that it is low GI


Carole Fogarty June 7, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Hi Julie,

Most mornings I have quinoa porridge.

Soak seeds overnight and pretty much treat it as rolled oats. Gently boil with water, some dried fruit, a little salt and spices. At the moment I’m into ground cardamon. When it has a porridge consistency usually 10 minutes I top generally with honey and yoghurt. Sometimes I cook half water and half soy or other milk.

Thanks for GI reminder, I should add it into the article.

Let me know how you go.

Peace, love and chocolate



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