Effortless & Wholesome Grains, Part 3: Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has become famous in the last decade as a superfood, because of its high levels of protein and dense nutrition. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, more than any other grain. Technically its actually not a grain, but a tiny seed from South America, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. To the Incas, quinoa was a sacred food they called it the “mother of all grains.”

quinoa (uncooked)As a vegetarian, I’m always conscious of making sure to get enough protein in my diet. Quinoa is a great food to incorporate into your meals because, unlike most grains, it contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. This means that you don’t have to pair quinoa with beans to make sure you are getting adequate protein.

Quinoa has a mild, nutty taste, and works well in place of couscous or rice. I like to make it as a base for a veggie bowl, topping it with roasted vegetables, tofu and sesame ginger sauce.

Like I mentioned in the Brown Rice blog post, I generally like soaking my grains. This is especially important with quinoa because the tiny seeds are naturally coated with a protective, bitter substance. Soaking the seeds for a few hours, or at least giving them a thorough rinse, will remove the bitterness.

Here’s how to make a basic pot of quinoa:


  • 1 cup quinoa, soaked or well-rinsed
  • 2 cups water


  1. Optional: Soak the quinoa overnight, or for a few hours at room temperature. When ready to use, strain the quinoa.
  2. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a sieve. Place it in a pot with fresh water.
  3. Bring water to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. You can tell when the quinoa is done when little white tails appear around each slightly translucent seed.
  4. Remove from head, and set aside, covered, for about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork when ready to serve


By Chloe Bolton