how to cook quinoa

by Kristina Sloggett

in Gluten Free

I am kind of absent minded and my memory really isn’t what it used to be. However, as much as I make quinoa, you’d really think I could do so automatically. I often forget and have to look it up. Since I buy my quinoa in bulk, I store it in a glass jar. I have a piece of masking tape with ratios affixed to the jar.

Does anyone else forget these kind of things that you do all the time?

Another reason I think I can’t easily remember – there are many variations on both ratios and cooking time. There’s the ‘two parts liquid to one part quinoa’ ratio, which I have found results in a mushy quinoa. A cooking time of 15 minutes is also not for my tastes, producing a crunchier quinoa. Am I sounding like goldilocks yet?

Here is the method I settled on, and the ratio that is written on that masking tape.

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups liquid (broth or water)
pinch salt

Rinse the quinoa to remove the glycoside residue (quinoa is a seed), reducing the bitter taste. I run the water for a minute or two, flipping the colander like I still cannot do with a pan.

In medium size pot over high heat, bring the rinsed quinoa, liquid and salt to a rolling boil.

Reduce to simmer, cover with a lid and leave it alone for at least 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, fluff with fork, serve.

I often make a batch of quinoa to eat throughout the week. When I am doing this, I let it cool almost completely before storing in fridge. When I am using quinoa for savory dishes, I almost always cook it with vegetable broth.

I love quinoa – it is a versatile, gluten free grain-like seed. Quinoa is a great source of fiber and has a high protein content (a complete protein with all essential amino acids) and is packed with all kinds of nutrients. … You’d think it would help my memory.

Do you like quinoa? What are your favorite ways to use it or your grain of choice?


 

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Holly @ The Runny Egg April 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I didn’t like quinoa on its own, so usually I use cooked quinoa in bean burgers.

I wonder if I rinsed it I’d like it on its own?

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2 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm

what was the reason you didn’t like it solo? taste or texture? rinsing quinoa removes the bitter flavor, and using broth adds flavor. some people SOAK the quinoa also, which insures even cooking…

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3 Heather (Where's the Beach) April 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I really like quinoa. I need to try the black if I can find it. If I have bought something like rice, barley or quinoa in a bag or box, I have saved the directions from that and put it with the canisters because I always forget ratios.

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4 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm

so good to hear I’m not the only one who forgets…

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5 janetha @ meals & moves April 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

i love quinoa! my favorite way to eat it is in a casserole. go figure.

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6 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm

ha! I could have guessed! :D

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7 Katrina April 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Do you know how to cook sprouted quinoa/or if the cooking is the same as regular quinoa? I accidentally bought some in the bulk section so I have no instructions for it. What I find online almost seems like you just cook/bake with it “raw”, or not cooked at all.
I love quinoa!

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8 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I have never sprouted quinoa – I do think “sprouting” is a method people use instead of cooking, then using the quinoa raw, like you would bean sprouts, etc. I don’t know though – is yours dry/crunchy?

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9 Katrina April 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

It is dry. I just need to try to cook it and see how it turns out.

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10 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm

that’s what I would do I suppose! I’m imagining sprouted quinoa to be… not dry, you know? :) good luck!

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11 Katrina April 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I just made this—
http://coconutandquinoa.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/curried-sprouted-quinoa-pilaf/
with the dried sprouted quinoa. It’s really good.
And tastes and cooked just like regular quinoa. This blog also talked about how easy it is to sprout quinoa by just soaking it in water overnight. I was surprised she then still cooked the sprouted quinoa with this dish. I just cooked the dry for about 20 minutes, until the liquid was absorbed. It’s good stuff.

12 JL goes Vegan April 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I’m not 100% sure but I think dry quinoa that says sprouted indicates that it *can* sprout. (I’m taken up sprouting grains and quinoa is easy to sprout, if you buy the kind that indicates that it can sprout) Geez, hope that made sense! LOL

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13 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm

makes sense to me, I think – you mean that hers is NOT YET sprouted, but it COULD? so she can cook it normally? THANK YOU!!

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14 JL goes Vegan April 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Yes, I think that’s what I mean. LOL

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15 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm

:D

16 Katrina April 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm

With the dry stuff I got in the bulk bin at Whole Foods, you can see the little sprouts on the quinoa, but it is dry. I just left a reply on the comment above this one.

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17 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:28 am

I’m going to look for it in the bulk bins next time…

18 Christine @ Merf In Progress April 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm

LOVE quinoa. Just bought red for the first time and can’t wait to use it!

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19 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I love the red too!

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20 Lisa April 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I used to eat it a lot, then I ran out and kept forgetting to get more. Do you know how to cook it in a rice cooker?

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21 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I don’t have a rice cooker – but just did a quick google search and several results use the two parts liquid to one part quinoa ratio. Good luck!

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22 JL goes Vegan April 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I do 1 cup quinoa to 1.75 cup water in rice cooker and 1.5 cup quinoa to 2 cups water in pressure cooker.

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23 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm

thank you – I will let her know!!

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24 Trekky April 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Glad I’m not the only one who forgets how to cook quinoa! I end up looking it up on the internet everytime! :)

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25 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm

me too – EVERY TIME!! now I have that tape, or I can look here. :D

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26 JL goes Vegan April 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I LOVE QUINOA! And I *always* forget ratios! I cook quinoa stove top, in a pressure cooker and in a rice cooker. The ratios vary by cooking method so I blame that for my forgetfulness…not my age ;)

My favorite ways to enjoy quinoa:
-in soup (love it in split-pea soup!)
-a bed of quinoa, smothered in cooked beans
-scrambled with tofu for breakfast

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27 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm

oh! another reader asked about cooking in a rice cooker – how are your ratios different than stove top? :) and now I am CRAVING split pea soup – it’s been FOREVER since I had that! :D

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28 Stephanie@MyThornsHaveRoses April 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Hahaha! I love this. I have mine stored in glass containers as well and I always have to google the measurements. EVERY TIME. :) I love using it as a base for stir fried veggies. :)

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29 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm

now you can come visit ME ;) I made my first quinoa based “stir fry” recently – actually adding it like a rice, SO good!

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30 Kath (My Funny Little Life) April 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Ahh, I totally know what you —- what did you just say?!?!?!?! 8O

Seriously … Quinoa – not a fan. :(

At least, I can tell you why: (1) I don’t like the taste. (2) It is *too small*. Yes! I like big-grained things. Brown rice is my favorite. (3) It has hairs. This, alone, is kind of gross. :D

Don’t get me wrong: I WOULD LOVE TO LOVE QUINOA!!!!!!!!!!! For all of its high protein, nutritional value, complete protein qualities. But you can’t force love, no?

Next life. ;)

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31 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm

aw! nope, you cannot force it. I don’t suppose telling you those “hairs” are the GERM will help anything, hmm? ;) I love brown rice too… but you can’t beat the nutritionals with quinoa, I am glad I like it!! :D

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32 Kath (My Funny Little Life) April 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Aaaaaaaaahhh, yes yes yes. Glad *you* like it, at least! ;)

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33 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm

ha… sorry! I probably eat enough for both of us. until you come around, that is. ;)

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34 Kath (My Funny Little Life) April 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I really appreciate your careful rinsing, glass container storing, and plastic boxing, though. It’s so kind! I do the same. :)

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35 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

yes! one of the reasons I love to buy bulk – less waste! (I had typed So Much Less Waste… then my brain almost exploded from the contradiction...)

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36 Kath (My Funny Little Life) April 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh, and I don’t appreciate only because I do the same! It’s just a coincidence I do! (gah gah)

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37 spabettie April 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

nice! ;)

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38 brandi@BranAppetit April 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm

LOVE quinoa!

And I’ve found my favorite way to cook it – the microwave!

I put 1 cup quinoa, 1.5 cups water/broth, and a pinch of salt in a VERY LARGE bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave for 6-7 minutes. Let it sit in there for 1-2 minutes. Then turn the microwave back on for 1-2 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Fluff. Eat!

It takes almost no time, and it’s one less thing I really have to watch on the stovetop :)

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39 Zoe April 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm

So THAT’S the secret to making great quinoa! I didn’t know to rinse it before cooking, but I will be sure to try it next time :)

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40 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:29 am

YES! :) many people actually SOAK the quinoa, but I have had success with rinsing for a couple / few minutes. :D

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41 Lisa April 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Quinoa and buckwheat tie for my grains (pseudograins!) of choice. I am from the town where one of the two largest buckwheat producers resides, so it’s plentiful around there (free when I have a friend working at the mill!)…so I have to say buckwheat wins in my book, even though I love quinoa dearly.

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42 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:23 am

oooh, how I would LOVE that kind of hookup! Bob’s Red Mill is here locally, and I sometimes think I should apply for a job there… :D

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43 Jess@HealthyExposures April 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm

i love quinoa! i often have to google how to cook grains, too – unless it’s one i use often. (like quinoa!) usually, though, i’ll just assume it’s a 1:2 ratio of grain to water and add more water if i need to :P maybe i should add that i’m also veeery impatient and almost always cook my grains at super high heat? lol.

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44 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:22 am

I’m with ya on the impatience thang… ;) and yeah, it does usually turn out, right? :D

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45 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit April 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I love quinoa but I like it mushy or added to another grain, like millet, buckwheat, rice… anything will do the trick. I never ever use the same ratios twice. I always just eyeball it and hope for the best.

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46 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:21 am

yeah, I have done that too… if there is too much liquid after it is sufficiently cooked you CAN drain it like a pasta… :D

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47 Shirley @ gfe April 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I always have to look up proportions for quinoa, rice, etc. before cooking. But I do have my flourless PB cookie recipe memorized. ;-) I like quinoa best made with cilantro (vs minti) in a tabouli type dish. :-)

xo,
Shirley

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48 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:20 am

oh, Shirley, I LOVE this answer! :D I too have a recipe in my head for gf nut butter cookies… there are only 3 ingredients!! 4 if I add chocolate…

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49 Betty @ scrambled hen fruit April 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I love quinoa- I keep mine in a tupper and like you, I always have to look up how to cook it. :) I like it in stir fries and it’s really good with grilled veggies (or chicken) over it. I also like to put the leftovers in salads- yum!

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50 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:19 am

hi Betty! I recently made a (sort of) breakfast stir fry, with quinoa, scrambled egg, broccoli… oh it was SO good! I love quinoa in salads and bowls with beans and or veggies… I am HAPPY to see so many commenters who also cannot recall how to make it :D

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51 Lynn April 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Yes quinoa!! This may sound super weird, but I like cooked quinoa with a fried eggs (runny yolk) and wilted spinach all cut up together and then I add a tiny bit of Braggs and some nutritional yeast….it’s my hippy breakfast! It reminds me of grits and eggs but way more nutritious!

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52 Lynn April 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Oh I have to dig up the quinoa granola I made before!

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53 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

YEEESSS… find that, and then you can write a guest post for me! ;) (or I can make a post about it, crediting you!) :D

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54 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:16 am

Lynn, that does not sound weird at all… you are doing to laugh, and I am NOT joking – - that is what I had for breakfast today!! :D I have been topping spinach with runny yolked eggs lately, the yolk makes EXCELLENT salad “dressing”. today I added quinoa to the mix… it was SO good!

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55 mitzi @ my nikon eats food April 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm

omg i ALWAYS forget methods that I do all the time, or at least a lot. For example boiling eggs. Every time I boil eggs I have to look up the method again. Gah. If only our memories got better as we get older – not worse!! Wouldn’t that make more sense?

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56 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:14 am

makes SO much sense – I wish that is how things were also. I’m not even that old, but I feel like my mind REALLY isn’t what it used to be! :)

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57 Aimee April 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I’ve always heard about quinoa and seen it in some recipes but never tried it. What does it taste like?

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58 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:13 am

first thing that comes to mind is “nutty” because that is how many describe it. when I cook it with vegetable broth, it does take on that flavor. I think the red and black quinoas are better suited for savory, and if you are baking or incorporating into something sweet, use the natural or white quinoa.

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59 Christin@purplebirdblog April 21, 2011 at 5:47 am

I like it kind smushy, and I definitely prefer the beige colored quinoa to the red… for the mush factor! ;)

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60 spabettie April 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm

yep – I think that gets the mushiest! :D

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61 lynne April 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

huh, I didn’t know rinsing the quinoa gets rid of the bitterness. Hm, maybe that’s why sometimes it’s bitter, and sometimes it’s not!

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62 spabettie April 24, 2011 at 8:48 pm

yes, it does! some people actually soak it, but I find running the water a couple minutes does the trick :)

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63 Heather @ kissmybroccoli April 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I always cook my quinoa with the 2:1 ratio at 15 minutes…or well, whenever I remember to go back and check on it (forgetful cook much?)! I love how quick it cooks! Because of this, it’s pretty much taken the place of rice in all my dishes. Why go with just a carby grain when you can have a carby grain chocked full of protein?! :)

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64 spabettie April 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I am the same way – we still eat brown rice and some pasta, but my favorite is quinoa and the protein is a plus!

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65 Melissa April 25, 2011 at 10:18 am

I used to prepare my quinoa the evening before in a thermos. First add boiling water to thermos and close lid to heat up container. After a few minutes dump out the water add the quinoa and boiling liquid of choice and close lid tight. In the AM you have a lovely somewhat warm mass of quinoa goodness.

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66 spabettie April 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

interesting technique! you just leave it out on the counter and in the morning it is done? sounds good to me!

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67 katie May 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Spabettie – I’m do the exact same thing. I go bat crazy sometimes with bulk grains at my grocery store. I had a blank on quinoa ratios and discovered your blog. I’m giving it a shot as I type! Fingers crossed!

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68 Tom August 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I love Quinoa! I never rinse it and can’t tell a difference. I just mad a batch today and it was the BEST! I always make mine a 1cup to 1 cup ratio, bring it to a boil, cover and then simmer for 15 minuets….done. If I need it more moist I can add a liquid after the fact. Today I added 1 Tbl. Braggs to the simmering pot along with a roasted Jalapeno pepper and after I added 1 cup of nutritional yeast and 1 can of rinsed black beans.

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69 spabettie August 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

wow, today’s quinoa sounds good – I often add flavor to the water, I’ve never tried Braggs – I’ll try that next time! and anything with jalapeno is good to me! :)

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70 Monica P September 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

great post, thanks. I’m the same way, I can never recall the ratios!

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71 Val September 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

great post, thanks. I’m always needing measurements too.

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72 Shelley October 7, 2011 at 12:22 am

thanks for this! love your website!

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73 Curt October 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

thank you for this, I too am forgetful when cooking most any grain. bookmarked!! :)

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74 Chip November 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I am the same, I never remember the ratios. (and how I found you just now…) :) glad I did, your site looks nice!

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75 Paz February 22, 2012 at 4:40 am

ha ha, I am the same way, I never remember!!

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76 sara March 28, 2012 at 3:19 am

I always google “spabettie quinoa” when I can’t remember LOL ;)

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77 Hitsugi January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I just started using Quinoa but 1st to ease myself into it I mixed it with med. grain rice. it was so nice, it tasted like flaxseed oil a bit which i love….then I tried just quinoa on its own, with flaxseed oil and a sprinkling of LSA and a pinch of salt.

Tomorow I am gonna try Roast pumkin Salad using rocket and quinoa, I use the Tri Colour version . I think i will even use it to replace cous cous……Wah the possibilites are endless.

Though I have one question, I use a rice cooker actually a pressure cooker and my quinoa sprouted whilst cooking, is that ok?

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78 Kristina Sloggett January 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm

that’s interesting! you can definitely eat sprouted quinoa – people sprout it on purpose to eat it raw :) you have some delicious ideas planned – I love it!

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79 spabettie April 21, 2011 at 12:28 am

interesting info! thanks for sharing – the recipe you made looks SO good, and I love the photos of the sprouted quinoa! that is exactly what I was picturing, much like a bean sprout! after your initial question, then doing a google search, this is the first time I heard of someone cooking it after sprouting – glad it worked out, I may have to try it sometime! thank you Katrina!

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