One of the most sacred foods of the ancient Incas of South America was
quinoa, a plant so nourishing and vital they called it chesiya mama, the Mother
Grain. Each year the Incan emperor, using a golden spade, planted the first
quinoa seeds of the season, and at the solstice, priests bearing golden vessels
filled with quinoa made offerings to Inti, The Sun.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a broad-leafed, annual herb that has been
cultivated for thousands of years in the Andes. When mature, the plant is topped
with large plume-like seed heads that range in color from vivid red, orange or
yellow to black or white. Before being eaten, quinoa seeds must be processed to
remove their bitter coating of saponin. After washing or dry polishing, the
seeds are white or beige in color.  Quinoa seeds are rich in protein, high
in fiber, and particularly rich in the amino acid Iysine. Quinoa seeds are also
good sources of calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamins B and E.

Quinoa must be washed thoroughly before cooking to
remove the saponin.  Unwashed quinoa is very bitter tasting.

Here are a few great quinoa recipes:

Chilean Quinoa Tabouleh

  • 2 cups quinoa, washed and drained
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, cooked
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 4 plum tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup diced cucumbers
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Transfer the quinoa to a large
bowl and cool to room temperature.

Sprinkle the grains with the salt and pepper and stir, folding from underneath
the grains. Fold 4 tbsp of the lemon juice and the oil. Gently fold in the
cilantro and garlic.

Fold the corn, onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado into the quinoa. Adjust
the seasonings to taste. Best served at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.

ApricotQuinoa Cereal

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  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
  • 1 cup apricot nectar
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the water, apricot nectar, apricots, cinnamon, and
nutmeg to a boil. Rinse the Quinoa according to the package instructions. Add
the Quinoa to the saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Partially cover the pan
and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender, 15 to 20
minutes. Press the cottage cheese through a sieve into a small bowl. Stir in the quinoa and serve.

Fluffy Eggs with Quinoa

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  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced into 1/4-inch round
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Heat an 8-inch skillet and add the butter. Over a medium heat sauté the
mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the scallions and quinoa. Cook, stirring
occasionally, for 3 minutes or until quinoa is evenly heated. In a small bowl
mix the eggs, salt and soy sauce.

Add the egg mixture to the skillet. Stir
briskly with a fork and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or just until the
eggs set. Do not overcook.

Quinoa Basmati Rice Salad

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  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup cooked peas

Mix all the above ingredients together. Store in fridge. Serve chilled and

Quinoa Chili

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  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 28oz canned tomatoes, broken up
  • 1 pkg Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • 2 cans kidney or pinto beans (or any canned beans or mixture of your choice)
  • 1 cup quinoa

Sauté onion until translucent. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and, if
desired, other spices of your choice (cayenne pepper, etc.).

Mix in soup and canned tomatoes. Add beans and simmer for 15 minutes. Add
uncooked Quinoa to chili and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every few

Sicilian Style Toasted Quinoa

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  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups shredded fresh spinach (1 pound)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup salted dry-roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a small bowl, combine sun-dried tomatoes and boiling water. Let stand
until softened, about 20 minutes. When softened, thinly slice.

2. In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic,
and cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add
spinach, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, 2 to
3 minutes or until spinach is tender.

3. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add
drained quinoa and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until lightly golden.
Add 4 cups water, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

4. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Stir in sunflower seeds, raisins, Parmesan,
spinach mixture, and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss with a fork to combine.

Quinoa Pilaf

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  • 3/4 cup quinoa, washed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries (1-1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (1 ounce)

1. Place quinoa in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and
cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until scallions are tender. Stir in
quinoa and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly toasted.

3. Add boiling water, salt, and pepper. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15
to 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in cherries and pecans.

Quinoa con Quesso

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  • 1-½ cup quinoa, washed and drained
  • 1 cup½&½
  • 1 pound potatoes, preferably gold, purple, and red varieties
  • 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 – 3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
  • 8-ounces (about 2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

Cook quinoa in 3 cups of cold water following basic recipe. When done, stir in ½
& ½ and set aside. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan boil potatoes in lightly
salted water until just tender. Cut into 1-inch chunks. In a large deep skillet
over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden,
3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in tomato sauce, hot sauce, and cilantro. Add quinoa mixture and diced
potatoes to skillet and fold together gently. Season to taste with salt and

Either fold in all of cheese and heat and serve quinoa directly from skillet, or
fold in half of cheese, transfer mixture to a shallow buttered 8-cup baking dish
and top with remaining cheese. If serving in a baking dish, heat in preheated
350 F. oven for about 20 minutes until casserole is bubbling and cheese on top
is melted.


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  • 1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 6 scallions, minced
  • 1/4 cup cooked corn
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (or cilantro)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Bring water to a boil in a 2-3 quart saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce to a
simmer, and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, until all the water is
absorbed. Fluff with a fork, replace cover, and let sit off of heat for
5 minutes. Place quinoa in a large mixing bowl to cool.

Sauté the garlic in sauté liquid of choice for 2 minutes. Add the cumin
and sauté another minute. Add sweetener, stir to melt, remove from heat,
and allow to cool. Add lemon juice and vinegars. Mix well and pour onto
quinoa, along with the vegetables, parsley, and currants. Mix gently but

Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator to chill.

Hot Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

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Add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5
minutes. Add

  • 1/2 cup apples, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

and simmer until water is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Serve with milk or cream
and sweeten to taste with honey or brown sugar.

Postre de Quinoa (Quinoa Pudding))

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  • 1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds or coarsely ground walnuts, or a mixture
  • ¼ cup dried currants or raisins
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Accompaniment: honey or miel de chancaca* (brown sugar syrup)

Bring quinoa and 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan, then reduce heat
and simmer, uncovered, until grains are translucent, 13 to 15 minutes. Drain
well in a sieve.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl
until just combined. Stir in quinoa, bread crumbs, nuts, and currants and pour
into a buttered 9-inch square metal baking pan.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining tablespoon sugar and sprinkle over top of
pudding. Bake in middle of oven until a knife inserted in center comes out
clean, about 40 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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