Beginner’s Guide to Quinoa

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From the backseat, my 5-year-old asked me, “Mommy, do we speak quinoa?”  After bursting out laughing, I realized two things.  First, I may be taking this healthy food thing too far if my daughter thinks quinoa is not only dinner but also a language.  Second, you may have heard of this so-called superfood and even eaten it.  However, most of us don’t know how to cook it or why they should. What makes quinoa so great?

    • Protein – One serving has 5 grams of protein, it is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein and comprised of all essential amino acids.
    • Fiber – One serving has 4 grams of fiber.  Fiber normalizes bowel movements, reduces cholesterol and even helps with weight loss because it makes you feel full longer.  Most of don’t get enough fiber.
    • Iron – One serving has 15% of daily recommended iron. We need iron to transport oxygen in the blood and body.  Without it, we become anemic and fatigued.
    • Magnesium – 118 mg of Magnesium in just one serving.  Magnesium is considered by many to be the wonder mineral.  It is known to alleviate migraines, bring balance to the body, improve sleep and reduce Type 2 diabetes.
    • EASY – Quinoa is super easy to make and very quick!

That’s alot for a tiny little seed!

Easy Quinoa Recipe

Just follow the instructions on the package and make this easy quinoa recipe.

1. Combine 1 ½ cup of quinoa with 2 ¼ water in a pot.

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to medium heat – low and simmer for 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

4. Let cool for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.

I like to experiment and add my favorite foods:

  • 1 cup of chopped kale or spinach
  • ½ chopped avocado
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 diced beet or ½  red pepper
  • small handful of broken cashews
  • season with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and sea salt

5 Simple Ingredients for Mediterranean Quinoa With Broccoli

If you prefer a tried and true easy quinoa recipe, follow this one I adapted from the Washington Post.  I have been making it since it first appeared in 2009.  It is a simple, delicious, one-pot meal.


Servings: 6

Prep Time: 5 min

Total Time: 20


  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli
  • 1 to 2 medium lemons
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and cook uncovered for 6 minutes.

2. Cut the broccoli stalks into 3/4-inch pieces and cut the broccoli tops into small florets. Add to the pot; reduce the heat to medium-high and return to a boil. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the quinoa has no opaque dot of uncooked starch in the center.

3. While the broccoli is cooking, juice the lemons. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and place in a large bowl.

4.Drain the quinoa and broccoli well. Transfer to the bowl and stir. Add the lemon juice, oil and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

One-Pot Meal in 20 Minutes

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  1. Molly on May 1, 2014 at 3:25 am said:

    Thanks for these recipes! Once I figured out how to cook it – and say it! – I realized quinoa is like yummier, crunchier rice 🙂

    • Susana Hill on May 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm said:

      Molly you are so right, it really is yummier than rice but a little bit harder to pronounce, keen-wah:)

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