How to cook fluffy quinoa

I have a video for you today.  In this video I show you how to cook quinoa so that it ‘doesn’t turn into porridge, as well as how to wash these tiny babies.

Now get yourself comfortable, and watch the video!

How to cook fluffy quinoa — written directions

  • thoroughly wash 1 cup quinoa in a fine meshed sieve over a bowl of water, rubbing the quinoa seeds to remove the bitter coating
  • wash the quinoa up to 5 times if you are using local, Tasmanian-grown quinoa (or 2 times if using Bolivian quinoa — see ‘what to consider when buying quinoa’ below)
  • drain as much as water as possible
  • tip the washed and drained quinoa into a medium-sized pot (you will need one that has a lid)
  • on gentle heat, dry the quinoa some more, stirring continually
  • add 1¾ cups water (you can add freshly boiled water too, this also helps it to stay fluffy) or stock (for added flavour) and turn up the heat
  • as soon as the water starts to boil, turn the heat right down to a gentle simmer, a diffuser (heat dissipater) may help here
  • place the lid partially on the pot, the quinoa will have absorbed the water and be cooked in around 10 minutes
  • tip the cooked quinoa into a bowl and allow to cool (you can place a tea towel over the bowl to absorb more moisture from the quinoa)
  • once cooled, refrigerate, freeze in portions or use immediate in any of the ways mentioned below.

A little bit about the amazing quinoa

  • Quinoa is a gluten-free seed (not a cereal grain, like wheat, barley, rye etc), so it’s lighter on the tummy. It is also high in protein and makes for a great gluten-free vegetarian meal.
  • Most supermarkets will sell white quinoa in the health food aisle, which is the most common type.
  • You will find the Tasmanian-grown white variety in many Australian wholefood, organic stores — if you live in Australia, please consider buying local quinoa, even though you need to wash it a few more times than the Bolivian quinoa. Read this to understand why (it’s clearly a complex issue, but it’s better to buy local anyway).
  • You will also find red and black quinoa in whole food stores. There is no local grown coloured quinoa.
  • Quinoa freezes well. Cook up a large batch and freeze in portions. Use it during the week to make easy meals (see ideas below).

10 ways to use cooked quinoa

Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain and is gluten-free too, so it makes a great substitute for starchy carbs like white rice, white flour, and pasta and potatoes. Plus it adds some good texture too!

  1. Salads/tabouleh — my most favourite way to use quinoa. Throw in some in-season salad-y type ingredients, and add some nuts and seeds for texture. To make it more substantial, add some roasted vegetables and/or eat with grilled haloumi or boiled eggs. Delish! On the blog I have a quinoa tabouleh.
  2. Pilafs — check out my Middle-eastern inspired pilaff for ideas.
  3. Patties/Fritters — try out my bean and quinoa patties, you can mash in some cooked sustainable fish instead of the beans if wish
  4. Risotto — I love a good risotto, especially a baked one. And your risotto just got healthier with my baked quinoa risotto recipe!
  5. Muffins — whether it’s sweet or savoury muffin you wish to make, just reduce the flour by half a cup and add the same amount of cooked quinoa to the recipe. Try it with this banana and coconut muffin recipe — replace the 1/2 cup of brown rice flour with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa.
  6. Pancakes — same as with the muffins replace some of the flour with cooked quinoa.
  7. Frittata/omelettes — makes for a delicious filling meal. Add about 1/2—¾ a cup of quinoa to a 6-egg frittata or 1/4 cup to a 2-egg omelette. Try this recipe, and replace the potatoes with 1/2 up quinoa instead. With the omelette, serve with some greens like spinach, kale, or broccolini — you won’t need any bread!
  8. Soups — works well in soups you don’t blend. For some variety, use cooked quinoa (add to at the end of cooking) instead of pasta and rice in soups that call for these ingredients.
  9. Nori/sushi rolls — instead of sushi rice use quinoa. I’ve tried this before and it works a treat!
  10. Porridge — heat 1/2 cup cooked quinoa with some milk (nut/coconut/dairy), water and sweetener of choice. Serve with some berries and nuts. Makes a quick and delicious breakfast!

14 thoughts on “How to cook fluffy quinoa

  1. Sylvie says:

    Yum – love this amazing seed. Thanks for the tips on cooking quinoa. The first time I cooked it, it was a disaster. Yes, I rinsed it but I didn’t “wash it”.
    Since learning this secret I have discovered the great taste of quinoa. I have made risotto and use it in salads.
    Thanks Lesh.

  2. Daniela says:

    I love you’re blog, i have learned lots of things from what you write… And it seems I’ve been cooking my quinoa wrong hehe, thank you for the time you spend making you’re posts.

  3. Nic says:

    Great to see a visual of a ‘how to’ process of cooking Lesh. Sometimes I think we also forget to use our eyes and intuitive nature when cooking and certainly quinoa is one of those seeds that you can see when it is cooked. I’ve only ever found the Bolivian product but I will now keep my eyes open for a more local source. Thank you for the information. .

  4. Padgette says:

    Absolutely LOVE your site! I believe in getting the family cooking with me while also changing our habits of eating. Your site has shown me that I have not washed my quinoa correctly and the mistake of leaving it in a hot pan instead of removing it to fluff; so that now the taste is truly enjoyed in its entirety. I cannot wait to read all the posts and blogs you might have however, got to get dinner on. Thank you for doing this website as I know so many people will benefit from it. 🙂

    • Lesh says:

      Wow, thanks Padgette! So glad to hear that you find my site helpful ~ one of the best complements I could receive, really! Lesh x

  5. Gracie says:

    I’m a new subscriber and love your website. So glad I have come across it.
    I have previously made the almond milk and cooked the quiona but appreciate your tips for better results.

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