Quinoa 101: How to cook this grain

Last week I gave out the food-on-hand recipe for quinoa, beans, and veggies, and while I was writing it I thought to myself, “You know, quinoa is new to a lot of folks…”  So today, let talk about making it…

It is like brain surgery, except that instead of difficult, it is easy 🙂

Time to cook: 20-25 minutes

Quinoa- it's a delight! Photo thanks to Fran Ulloa.

Makes 2.5-3 cups


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups water
To make:
  • Rinse the quinoa and drain.  I know that this sounds silly- why in goodnesses name would you need to rinse it?  Well, it has a naturally occurring chemical called saponins on it, which it produces to keep pests away.  So rinse it.
  • Add rinsed quinoa, the salt and water into a 2 -quart saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Cover.
  • Do NOT stir while it is cooking.
  • To see if it is done, tip the pan to the side.  If water is present, keep cooking.  If not, you are done!
  • Enjoy!

About Whitney Johansson

This blog is created by Whitney Johansson, a Nutritionist, Western Herbalist, and a believer in moderation, reckless abandon, bountiful joy, PBS, the wonders of good soil, blueberries, and feeling at home in our bodies. View all posts by Whitney Johansson

2 responses to “Quinoa 101: How to cook this grain

  • Hope

    What’s the easiest way to rinse quinoa? Because it’s so small, if I put it in my colander it will all flow down the drain. Thanks!

    • Whitney Gerschke Johnson, Nutritionist

      This is a great question. I rinse it by putting it in a bowl and adding water. Swirl it around. Then to drain I put my hand/forearm around the bowl so the water drains but the quinoa stays. Not the most technical or advanced way, but it does the trick. There are also fine mesh strainers that work, but an arm does the trick too.

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