Nutritious quinoa recipes


Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient grain, native to the Andes mountains.  It was the food that fueled the Inca civilization.  Today it is known as the grain with the best amino acid profile for humans to eat.  In other words, it is high in protein, as well as iron and B vitamins.  The grains hold their shape well in cooking, have a sweet taste and are easy to digest.  They look just like couscous.

To prepare quinoa, it should first be rinsed well by holding it in a sieve under a running faucet, as it has a somewhat soapy residue which is best removed.  It is cooked just like rice, with about 1.5 times the amount of water to grain. After about 8 minutes, check to see if the grains are translucent and little white curls have appeared.  This indicates when it is cooked.  Drain if necessary.

Quinoa can be used in place of rice as a base for many different meals. It can be added to soups and stews, or be the foundation of a salad or grain based dish.


Quinoa Paella

Quinoa Millet Salad

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Quinoa Paella

This recipe is from Kitchen Divided, by Ellen Jaffe Jones, reprinted with permission.

Makes 4 Servings

  • 2¼ cups water
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric or crushed saffron threads
  • 4 ounces vegan chicken, thawed if frozen, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 4 ounces vegan kielbasa or vegan turkey, thawed if frozen, cut into ½ inch rounds or chunks
  • 4 ounces vegan prawns or shrimp, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 4 lemon wedges

Put ¼ cup of the water in a large skillet, then add the carrot, bell pepper, onion and garlic.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed to prevent sticking, just until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the remaining water and the quinoa, pepper and turmeric and bring to a boil over high heat.  Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in vegan chicken, vegan kielbasa, vegan prawns and peas. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and everything is heated through, about 10 minutes.  Serve garnished with lemon wedges.

Quinoa Millet Salad

 Recipe from The Deli Next Door – Skagit Valley Food Co-op.

This is a favorite vegan and gluten-free salad at the Deli Next Door. You can vary the vegetables or add garbanzo beans to make this salad a signature one of your own. Quinoa should be thoroughly rinsed to wash off the natural pesticide that coats the grain. It won’t hurt you, but it adds a bitter flavor to the quinoa.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 cup organic millet, rinsed
  • 1 cup drained and quartered artichoke hearts
  • ½ cup julienned carrots
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ bunch chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ⅓ cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb blend
  • ¼ cup light-flavored oil, such as canola

Place 2 medium saucepans on the stove and pour 2½ cups water into each. Bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa to one saucepan and the millet to the other. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook until the grains are soft, about 15 minutes for the quinoa and 20 minutes for the millet. Drain and rinse the grains in cold water. Set them aside to cool. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked and cooled grains with the artichoke hearts, carrots, red onion, parsley, sunflower seeds, black olives and frozen peas. 

In a blender, combine the garlic, lemon juice, salt and Italian herb blend. Drizzle the oil into the blended ingredients. Toss the grain and vegetable mixture with the blended dressing and serve.

 Chef’s Tip

To give this salad an Asian flavor, replace the artichoke hearts with blanched snow peas and the olives with chopped water chestnuts. For the dressing, add 1 tablespoon chopped ginger, change the herbs to an Asian blend, and add 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil.

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

  • 1 Tbs safflower oil
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • 2 Tbs onions, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, diced                                
  • ¼ cup celery, diced   
  • ¼ cup green pepper, diced                           
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup cabbage, chopped
  • ½ cup tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • parsley, chopped

Sauté quinoa, carrots, celery, onions, green pepper and garlic in oil until golden brown. Add water, tomatoes and cabbage and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Season to taste and garnish with parsley. Serves 4-6. This is a very basic recipe for quinoa vegetable soup. For variations try adding some of your other favorite vegetables, chopped and sautéed. Quinoa can be a welcome addition to just about any type of soup.