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How to Cook Quinoa—The Superfood Grain You're Not Eating Enough Of

Got a bag of quinoa in your pantry, but don't know how to tackle it? Try these chef-approved tips.
Cooked Quinoa

Quinoa is one of our favorite whole grains because it's flavorful, full of nutrients, and a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids vital for building and maintaining muscles—a rarity in the plant kingdom. That's not all though: The gluten-free grain contains over 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked), and it's an excellent source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and folate. If you have a bag of this superfood grain stocked in your pantry but are not exactly sure how to cook quinoa, don't fret. We've got you covered with a simple, step-by-step recipe from Claudia Sidoti, the Head Chef and Recipe Developer at HelloFresh, on how to cook quinoa over the stovetop. Use her tips and tricks below to perfect the ancient grain every time.

How to cook quinoa


Yield: 4 servings

  1. Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, drain, and transfer to a medium-sized pot.
  2. Add 2 cups of water and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until all of the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

Creative ways to use quinoa

Breakfast quinoa bowl with bananas and blueberries

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"Quinoa is light and fluffy in texture and can go with almost any dish," Sidoti says. "Its whole-grain composition helps fill you up quickly and stay satisfied until your next meal. There are so many ways to dress it up, and it's super easy to double or even triple your recipe for large batches." Talk about a savvy meal prep idea!

While quinoa is usually served as a side dish, there are plenty of versatile ways to jazz up the grain. Next time you cook the complex carb, consider trying some of Sidoti's go-to ideas below. This superfood is more versatile than you think!

  • Add quinoa to a breakfast bowl with some fiber-rich berries, honey, and ginger.
  • Try a breakfast scramble with scrambled eggs, avocado, and quinoa.
  • Toss it into a soup for a heartier meal.
  • Top off a salad with quinoa for a more filling lunch.
  • Try stirring in toasted nuts, dried fruit, and roasted veggies for a balanced meal. You can also add edamame and drizzle it with some toasted sesame oil for an Asian twist.

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