This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may get a small commission from that sale, at no extra cost to you.
And that means FEATURE time.
Every Friday (or almost every Friday), we try to feature a vegan product, brand, mission, ecttt that we think will bring some value to your life!
- For previous Friday Features you can check this link out: FRIDAY FEATURES -
Today we're talking all about QUINOA - what it is, what are the benefits of eating this, and most importantly, how to cook it... because it can be tricky!
what is quinoa and why is it good for me?
If you are not familiar with what quinoa is already, let me fill you in.
Quinoa kinda looks like a grain, is cooked like a grain, and is served like a grain usually replacing rice in dishes. But here's the thing - it's not actually a grain at all. It's a seed! I know, I can't keep up either. 😛
Anyway, the point is - since it's not reallyyy a grain... it's gluten free, and a great alternative for those who are A. gluten intolerant, and/or B. have a sensitivity to grains or simply want to avoid grains all together.
quinoa is highly nutritious
Quinoa is also highly nutritious and it's no surprise that it has become a popular superfood in the last few years with this new wave of wellness consciousness. It has a ton of fiber which helps us stay regular, and it's a great source of protein (around 24 grams of protein per 1 uncooked cup) .. so, next time someone asks you 'where do you get your protein from' - you can say from QUINOA!
Quinoa also contains nine essential amino acids - but what does that even mean right?
You might have heard this saying before: Amino Acids are the building blocks of life. Our cells, muscles and tissues are made up of amino acids. They help our cells, muscles and tissues do all sorts of stuff like transport and store nutrients, repair damaged tissue, and assist in many other bodily functions.
We can all agree that amino acids are prettyyy important right? Okay, so here's the thing... there are nine ESSENTIAL amino acids, essential meaning that we absolutely need them in our body, yet the body doesn't produce them naturally... so we must get them from our food.
And that's where quinoa shines - because it contains ALL nine essential amino acids! SCORE!
How to eat quinoa
I like to treat quinoa as if it was rice. I usually include it in dishes as an alternative to rice. You can serve it with beans. It goes great with vegan garbanzos or red kidney beans. You can make a 'bliss' bowl using quinoa.. you can stuff your vegan sushi with quinoa.. you can add quinoa to your favorite soup for a heartier and more filling meal. Lotssss of options with this little magical not-a-grain-but-a-seed food.
how to cook quinoa stove top method:
Quinoa may seem a bit tricky at first and straight up intimidating. When I first bought quinoa I think I kept the bag in my pantry for weeks before I finally decided to face my fears and cook some up.
There are several ways to cook quinoa including a very easy method using your instant pot (affiliate link) if you have one. If you'd like to learn more on how to cook quinoa in your instant pot - you can check out this detailed guide by Becky from Glue and Glitter.
If you'd rather stick to a basic stove top method this is all you need to do:
- Add 1 cup of dry quinoa to a pot
- Add 1 cup of water or vegetable broth to the pot
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and let simmer until all the water has evaporated and you are left with a fluffy and light quinoa.
Here's the deal - many quinoa recipes call for a 1 to 2 ratio, meaning 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of liquid. You can definitely do it that way, but based on my experience (and my preference) I like the texture of quinoa cooked with only 1 cup of liquid. It's drier, fluffier, and less 'mushy' and wet.
Feel free to experiment and use 1 or 2 cups, whatever works for you. 🙂
white, red, black + sprouted quinoa
The most common type of quinoa is white, and it may be the one you are familiar with already but did you know there is also red and black quinoa?!
And then there is also the 'sprouted' kind which means that the seeds have been soaked and allowed to 'sprout' or grow, become alive. It is believed that anything that has been allowed to sprout has more nutrition and contains more energy than 'not sprouted'.
where to buy quinoa
Today it is very easy to find quinoa in your nearest grocery store due to it's popularity. You can definitely find some in your nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe's store. I have only seen the sprouted kind in Trader Joe's (pictured above). You can even find a variety of brands and types of quinoa on amazon!
Are you a quinoa fan? What's your favorite way to eat it? Share with me below.
Want to see more Friday Features?
with love + gratitude,
Want More Vegan Eats? Make sure to subscribe to get our newsletter directly to your inbox, just *one* email, once a week. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you come say hi! <3
Watch how to cook quinoa on the stovetop:
How To Cook Quinoa On The Stove Top Easy
An easy and fool proof way to cook quinoa on the stove top.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups cooked
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth (or water)
- dash of salt
- Add 1 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of vegetable broth or water and a dash of salt to a pot and bring to a boil on the stove-top.
- Once it begins to boil, bring down heat to low/medium, cover and let simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes or until all water has evaporated and quinoa is soft and fluffy.
- Quinoa recipes usually call for 2 cups of liquid, but based on my experience I have found that using a 1:1 ratio really leaves you with the driest and ‘fluffiest’ quinoa, vs a mushy and wet quinoa. Feel free to experiment, and if your quinoa still seems uncooked feel free to add a bit more water or veggie broth.