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How to cook quinoa (the best way!)

by Lorena

Knowing how to cook quinoa is as basic as knowing how to cook rice. This is because quinoa is a great replacement for rice as a side dish minus the carbs and a lot more nutritional value. It’s not hard to cook and it’s actually similar to rice! I tell you how in this post 🙂

how to cook quinoa

There are more than 100 types of quinoa, but the most common ones are white (which is the one that I use here), red and black. Many times you can also find them in a mix of the three which is usually known as “tri-colour quinoa”. The quinoa that resembles rice the most is white quinoa because it goes soft when you cook it. Red and black quinoas don’t go soft during the cooking process and add a crispy and delicious component to your dishes.

how to cook quinoa

Quinoa, as I was saying, is a really good replacement for rice as a side dish. It’s low carb and it has a high protein content as well as fibre, magnesium, vitamin B, iron, among others. That’s why many people prefer to have quinoa in their daily lives rather than rice. Here are a few recipes that you can make once you’re an expert on how to cook quinoa:

how to cook quinoa

It’s really important to rinse thoroughly the quinoa before cooking. I even rinse the ones that say that already come rinsed! The reason why we need to rinse them is that there’s a component called “saponin” that coats the quinoa. Saponin is very bitter but also can be toxic in large amounts. I like to place the quinoa in a fine colander or sieve and then under running water until the water runs clear.

how to cook quinoa
how to cook quinoa

How to Cook Quinoa

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Course: Main, Side Dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 portions as a side dish
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


  • 1 tsp olive oil or another type of oil
  • 1 garlic clove finely grated, chopped or ground (optional but highly recommended)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • cup water


  • Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water until the water runs clear. I usually place the quinoa in a colander for this with a bowl underneath it so that I can see if the water is clear.
  • Preheat a small pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, salt and stir nutil the garlic starts to become golden. Don't let the garlic burn.
  • Add the quinoa and stir constantly for one minute. This helps the quinoa stay apart once they are cooked instead of sticky.
  • Add the water still on medium heat and let it break into a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a minimum and place the lid on the pot.
  • After 15 minutes, use a fork to move the quinoa on a spot and check that there's no water left at the base of the pot. If there's still water there, let it cook for a few more minutes. If there's no more water, use a fork to mix and fluff up the quinoa and let it dry out over medium heat an extra minute with the lid off.
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how to cook quinoa

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