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Clean Eating Quinoa 101

Quinoa 101

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If you haven’t tried Quinoa yet (pronounced keen-wa) I’d say, now’s the time.  It’s clean, simple, and delicious.

Technically, quinoa is a seed, but for all intents and purposes, we’ll keep things simple and group it with the grains.  And in the world of grains, it just doesn’t get any easier than quinoa.

I use quinoa a lot in the kitchen.  Mostly because of all the ‘grains’ out there it cooks up the fastest.  Not only is it a nutrient powerhouse, but it’s also really convenient.

If you’re trying to find realistic ways to incorporate more nutritious ingredients into your kitchen, quinoa might just be your new best friend.  I’m telling you, it’s that good and that easy!

Here are some good things to know about quinoa:

  • It cooks up quickly (unlike most grains)
  • It is packed with protein (as a matter of fact it is a complete protein)
  • It’s got lots of fiber
  • It has a low glycemic index… so it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels
  • It’s light, yet it stays with you
  • It’s wheat and gluten free
  • It comes in different colors like red, orange and pink
  • It’s delicious

Quinoa has a very light, fluffy texture with a creamy consistency and a slightly nutty flavor. It’s really good. I often use it instead of rice or pasta. But there really are a billion things you could do with it.

Some of my favorite recipes using quinoa include:

Check out the video below to learn everything you need to know about quinoa so that you can start using this nutritious seed in your kitchen today!

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I’d love to hear what you like to do with this tasty ‘grain’.  What’s your favorite recipe using Quinoa?


Basic Quinoa

Yield: 3 cups

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Total Time: 12-17 minutes


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups cold water


Rinse Quinoa under cold water before cooking.

Place quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan.   Bring to a boil.

Turn the heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for about 12-15 minutes.

When the quinoa is done, it will be translucent and have a little white circle around it (that's the germ).

If you want your quinoa to take on a nuttier flavor, you can dry roast it in a skillet for a few minutes before cooking.

Serving Size: 1/2 cup cooked quinoa: Calories: 127; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Carbohydrates: 23g, Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 0g; Protein: 4.5g

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30 comments on “Clean Eating Quinoa 101

  1. I did a month of quinoa on my blog last month and my favorite use for it was to throw a handful of it into brothy soups…even chili…to give them a little added texture, thickening, and nutrition. I also had a Black Bean and Quinoa salad with a Mexican flair that was really good. I’ll look forward to your posts for even more ways to use it. Thanks,

  2. Kathy – Very cool…I’m gonna hop over to your site right now!!

  3. I like to mix quinoa in when I make rice, because my family doesn’t even try things like quinoa and cous cous, because they’re afraid it will taste too “wheaty”. After I started mixing it in, they realized it tastes fine, and is super good for them.

  4. Maya – Great tip! I agree that “easing” people in to unfamiliar ingredients is the way to go… it’s all about the baby steps:)!

  5. Great video! It was pretty informative. I have really been enjoying quinoa lately.

  6. I love to make cold salads with quinoa. One of my favorites is a mexican salad mixed with quinoa, all kinds of great veggies, and a spicy dressing.

  7. I have been incorporating barley into my rice dishes, but think I’ll try Quinoa too.

  8. My favorite way to use quinoa right now is as a gluten free replacement for bulgar in tabouleh. I also love your recipe for Spring in’ Quinoa. I’ve made it many times.

  9. Kevin – Thanks!

    Amy – That sounds deeelicous!!

    Jennifer – Oh..I LOVE barley!! Totally different texture then Quinoa though, barley is much heartier! Have you ever tried barley with peas and walnuts…it is a texture explosion!!

    Jason – I have done that before too…it is SO good! I think I’ll have to post that recipe this month. Thanks for stopping by:)!

  10. Dani, thanks for introducing me to Quinoa! I was inspired by your recipes and created my own dish. :)

  11. Kaman – You’re welcome!!

  12. I’m giving this a try tonight with dinner, I can’t wait to taste Quinoa for the first time. Considering it’s nutritional punch I hope I like it! Plus that was a very informative video, thanks.

  13. Sheddingpounds – Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

  14. Is there any difference between the varieties other than colour?

    Thanks so much for all the nutritional information – I was so excited to learn that Quinoa is a complete protein on top of all the other nutrients it provides.

  15. Krista – Nope! The red is simply an “heirloom” variety. Taste, texture, and nutritional value are all the same!

  16. There is a great vegan restaurant here in Fort Worth that uses quinoa in everything. My favorite is as a filler for a mega borrito filled with quinoa, black beans, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla….YUM. Great video and suggestions! Love you!

  17. I’m new to Quinoa but after seeing these recipies I’m anxious to try it! I think I’m going to start with a Quinoa breakfast and work my way through your recipies. Thanks for sharing these with us. I’m impressed with the nutritional value and am excited to trying something that tastes good and is actually good for me!!

  18. We mixed some prepared quinoa with a Mexican corn blend (frozen), added salsa and put that mixture on a heated tortilla sprinkled with cheese… our quinoa quesadilla.

  19. I always do quinoa simple: mix it with a little soy sauce. It’s great.

  20. Dani
    I am so glad I found your site!! I just made quinoa for the very first time and so far have thrown three things in it for three different tastes. I think I finally found a food I love that will love me back.

  21. My favourite way to eat Quinoa is warm with a little stevia, cinnamon, blueberries and pecans – best breakfast ever!

  22. After making the Quinoa and storing it in a container as a go to, how long does it usually last in the refrigerator? I would like to replace my morning oatmeal with Quinoa since I bought so much of it thanks to Costco!

  23. Dani,

    Ann Gentry from “Naturally Delicious” on Veria TV recommends bring the water to a boil first before adding small grains like quinoa and amaranth. I am not sure what her basis is. Do you think it makes a difference?


    • Paul – I’m not sure why she suggests that – at the end of the day, I’m sure both will yield deliciously cooked quinoa!

  24. Dani–I have tried quinoa several different times and find that it really plays havoc with my stomach?!? Does your system ever adjust to that or do u have any suggestions?? Thanks–

    • Wendee – I’ve never had issues with quinoa myself so I don’t have any personal advice – but I have heard that sprouting grains can hep with this. With that being said, I don’t know a lot about it, but it might be worth a google:)

  25. Dani, I’ve recently been experimenting more with soaking and sprouting, and I have to say that quinoa is awesome sprouted and also delicious if you soak and/or toast it before cooking. I sometimes throw a handful into eggs or stuff some into omelets! I’ve also been making these awesome bars lately
    but reserving half of the recipe (before adding liquid), freezing it and grabbing those containers as breakfast quinoa bowls to-go! As usual, a great 101 :)

    • Thanks for sharing the recipe link Jaya – I LOVE stuff like this and will be sure to try them. As for sprouting, I haven’y ventured into that world yet, but its on my radar. Do you sprout for nutritional reasons or for culinary reasons (i.e. flavor/texture)? sending you lots of love!

  26. Thanks very much–never heard of the sprouting of grains?! I will check into it!! Have a great weekend??

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