Quinoa Recipes, Nutrition Facts, Benefits & FAQ

As you’ll soon find out, Quinoa is one of the most nutritious, delicious, and versatile foods in existence. It’s been called the “Mother Grain” by the Incas and it is quickly becoming one of the most in-demand health foods on the planet. We have several resources available so you can get a debriefing on just why it should become a part of your diet, including a nutritional breakdown, a benefits list, a sampling of fantastic recipes, cooking methods, and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Quinoa- recipes, benefits & faq.

Key Nutritional Highlights:

High in Dietary Fiber – Delivers the fiber of a vegetable while not tasting like one.
High in Potassium – Gives a banana a run for its money in the potassium department.
Low in Sodium – Has almost no sodium and tastes good without adding salt.
High in Magnesium and Iron – Provides two minerals that are sometimes hard to come by.
Good Source of Protein – Packs the protein punch of meat and has all 8 amino acids.

Quinoa Links

101 Quinoa Recipes

Short on Quinoa recipes? Not anymore! Bookmark this page for an assortment of different recipes broken down by meal type and your overall objective. We’ve got recipes to keep things fast and easy, as well as catering to several different diet types include Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Diabetic. Start eating more Quinoa today!

18 Health Benefits of Quinoa

Even though Quinoa has been around for a long time, many are just finding out how good it really is. There are also studies coming in on a regular basis that show how it can help create a healthier diet and is a food that you should definitely start getting more of. We’ve outlined the top benefits it has, to really drive the point home.

How to Cook Quinoa

Here’s a briefing on how to go from uncooked Quinoa in a bag to fluffy and light Quinoa on your plate. We’ll show you why this is the go-to dish for many cooks across the country and just how easy it is to prepare. You can give your meals an instant nutritional upgrade with this simple side dish that goes well with just about anything.

Quinoa FAQ

Usage

Can Quinoa be added to soup?
Yes! Quinoa is great when added to soup, crock pot recipes, and other stews. Be sure to thoroughly rinse it before you add it. It’s best to follow a recipe that specifically says to use Quinoa because that will increase the chances of it turning out right. It’s a very versatile food, and one that adds instant nutrition and texture to soups, chilis, and stews of all types.

Can Quinoa be eaten raw?
Quinoa can be eaten raw, but you’ll want to make sure that you rinse it off thoroughly and sprout it. If you don’t rinse it off you’ll be left with the bitter outer coating, and sprouting it makes it more edible. It may also be a better bet to cook it, as you’ll still be getting a broad nutritional spectrum, and won’t have to worry if it’s OK or not.

Can Quinoa be a substitute for couscous?
Quinoa and couscous have a lot in common, both aesthetically speaking, and texture-wise. In fact those that haven’t seen a side of Quinoa before might think that’s it’s couscous when they first catch a glimpse of it. You can typically use Quinoa as a substitute for couscous, but if a recipe is calling for couscous you may have to adjust the directions because the two are not cooked in the same exact way.

Can Quinoa be fried?
Yes, many recipes that include Quinoa call for it to be fried or toasted in a little oil. One popular recipe is Quinoa Fried Rice, which is meant to be a healthier alternative to the popular fried rice, and without using any rice at all.

Can Quinoa be frozen?
Cooked Quinoa can be frozen for storage so you can make a lot of it at once and then put some away for later on in the week. To thaw it out you can take it out and let it defrost in the bag, then saute it in a saucepan until it is hot and dry.

Can Quinoa be popped?
Yes, you can pop Quinoa in a similar fashion to popping popcorn, but it doesn’t come out as big and fluffy. It’s still a great gluten-free way to get the popcorn experience, and you can top it the same way as popcorn too, with butter and salt.

Can Quinoa be refrigerated?
Cooked Quinoa stores nicely and reheats well, so you can pack up the leftovers and enjoy them the next day with no worries.

Can Quinoa be sprouted?
Yes, it can! You can sprout Quinoa seeds and then add the sprouts to salads or whatever other recipe you want. The good news is that it doesn’t take long for them to sprout, so you can simply sprout them by the serving instead of having to make a big batch of them and worrying if they’ll go bad.

Can Quinoa be used in bread?
Yes, Quinoa is often used in bread recipes, either as an additive in addition to the wheat-based flour, or as the flour itself. When using Quinoa flour instead of wheat flour you are keeping the bread gluten-free and also giving it more nutrients, minerals, protein, and fiber than ordinary bread.

Can Quinoa be used in place of rice?
As a side dish Quinoa makes a great replacement for rice. It has more protein, more fiber, fewer carbohydrates, more protein, and more amino acids than rice. Some also prefer the flavor and texture. If you are considering using it in a recipe that is calling for rice, you may be able to swap it out, or perhaps cook it on its own and then add it to the recipe later.

Can Quinoa expire?
Like any organic product Quinoa will go bad at some point, but it probably won’t become an issue because the seeds themselves can last for a year or longer in your pantry or refrigerator. Of course with any food it’s always good to eat them as soon as you can while they’re as fresh as possible.

Can Quinoa flakes be substituted for oats?
If you have your favorite oatmeal recipe and are wondering if you can sub out the oats for Quinoa flakes, the good news is that they can be used in relatively the same way. The recipe might not come out exactly right, but it will get you pretty close to the actual thing. It’s helpful when making things like oatmeal cookies and anything else that uses oats.

Can Quinoa replace meat?
Many vegetarians and vegans use Quinoa has a source of protein, and if you are trying to cut out some of the meat in your diet but still get a good dose of protein, you simply can’t go wrong with Quinoa, as it contains 8 grams of protein per serving, as well as all of your essential amino acids.

Can you cook Quinoa in a rice cooker?
It’s possible to cook Quinoa in a rice cooker, but you may have to modify the process slightly. Some are able to follow the exact directions as when cooking rice, while others change things around in order to account for the difference. It may take some trial and error for your machine, but it is worth it for a fast and easy way to make Quinoa.

Can you cook Quinoa in the microwave?
Yes, it is possible to cook Quinoa in the microwave. The directions are similar to stove top cooking, and the time is cut in half. The results may not be as good as when cooking it the traditional way, but you’ll be saving time.

Can you overcook Quinoa?
Yes, it is possible to overcook Quinoa in a few different ways. You can allow it to boil for too long, and you can allow it to sit for too long after boiling before you fluff it and serve it. Either way and you may end up with soggy or mushy Quinoa and it won’t be as light and fluffy and palate pleasing.

Does Quinoa always have to be rinsed?
There are some pre-rinsed brands of Quinoa, but you may want to consider giving those a rinse as well. The reason you’ll want to be sure to rinse Quinoa that has not been pre-rinsed is that it has a bitter outer coating that can be a real turn off flavor-wise if you forget to rinse it.

Does Quinoa expand when you cook it?
Yes, much like rice Quinoa is going to get bigger while it cooks. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a bigger pot or microwave-safe container when cooking it so that you allow extra room for the newly expanded Quinoa.

Is Quinoa supposed to be crunchy?
No, properly cooked Quinoa should be light, fluffy and pleasing to the tooth. If you are using a recipe that is has Quinoa being used as a coating it might end up with a crunch to it if you’re toasting it. Otherwise you are looking for a consistency that is easy to chew but not mushy.

Health

Can Quinoa cause acne?
There is nothing in Quinoa that would suggest it would contribute to an acne problem.

Can Quinoa cause allergies?
Quinoa is generally considered an food that has low instances of allergic reaction, but at the same time if you’ve never eaten it before there is a possibility that your body may react to it. Even though it is not considered a grain and contains no wheat, some producers of Quinoa may process it in a plant that processes grains, so those with wheat or other allergies should check the label carefully.

Can Quinoa cause bloating and gas?
As the fiber in Quinoa moves through your digestive system it may help to carry out other foods you’ve eaten, and move them along as well. This may lead to bloating and gas, but is not directly caused by the Quinoa, but by a combination of eating Quinoa and eating other foods that were not digested well by the body. Also if this is your first time eating Quinoa you might experience some side effects as your body learns to process it efficiently.

Can Quinoa cause constipation?
Quinoa contains plenty of fiber and should not be the cause of constipation. However, some people report a connection of constipation with the consumption of Quinoa. A medical explanation for this could not be found, since it is so high in fiber it may have been other foods that they were eating at or around the same time as eating Quinoa.

Can Quinoa cause heartburn?
No information that we could find indicates that Quinoa would be the cause of heartburn. It’s an alkaline food, and it’s starting to be considered an anti-inflammatory food, so if anything it may be able to help prevent heartburn.

Can Quinoa cause inflammation?
Research suggests that Quinoa is an anti-inflammatory food and that it can lead to an improvement of conditions caused or worsened by inflammation.

Can Quinoa cause stomach cramps?
If you are not used to eating Quinoa or a have a diet that is low in fiber you may notice stomach cramps when you first start eating it. This can be said about any high-fiber food, and is not specific to Quinoa.

Can Quinoa cause vomiting?
If you do not properly rinse off the Quinoa your body may not respond well to the saponins left on it. These are bitter tasting coating on Quinoa that can be used in detergents and antiseptics. Consuming them may make you nauseous and trigger vomiting as an allergic reaction.

Can Quinoa give you diarrhea?
Any food can give you diarrhea if you eat too much of it and it upsets your stomach. That’s why it’s a good idea to eat a smaller sized portion of Quinoa if you’ve never had it before to see how your body responds to it. You can increase your portion size the next time you have it if everything goes well. You should also rinse it thoroughly in order to prevent stomach upset.

Can Quinoa lower cholesterol?
The fiber in Quinoa is what gives it its cholesterol-lowering properties. Fiber is known to lower cholesterol levels, and Quinoa has a decent amount of it. You can use Quinoa as part of a cholesterol conscious diet to help keep your levels good and your doctor happy.

Does Quinoa affect gout?
Since Quinoa is an alkaline food it is said to be able to help those suffering from gout. An alkaline diet is said to help prevent the increase of uric acid, which is the cause of gout. By avoiding foods that spike uric acid levels you decrease the chance of a gout attack. Consult your doctor for the best strategy on how to control your condition.

Does Quinoa increase breast milk?
There is anecdotal evidence that eating Quinoa will increase your breast milk production. The high levels of protein and the complete group of essential amino acids is likely the cause of this increased production.

Does Quinoa increase triglycerides?
The fiber in Quinoa actually helps to reduce the amount of triglycerides that are taken into the bloodstream. So rather than increasing triglycerides it would act to lessen the amount that your body takes in. This makes Quinoa a helpful tool for trying to avoid having a stroke and heart disease.

Does Quinoa lower blood pressure?
Yes, one of the benefits of Quinoa is that it helps to lower blood pressure in a number of ways. First, the fiber helps to keep the body regular, which research suggests helps to lower blood pressure. It also contains high amounts of quality protein which also aids in lowering blood pressure. It also contains essential elements the body needs, like magnesium which relaxes blood vessels in the body and helps the blood to flow more freely, thereby decreasing blood pressure.

Is Quinoa OK for diabetics?
Yes, Quinoa makes a great choice for diabetics due to its relatively low rank on the Glycemic Index, as well as its other properties such as being high in fiber and a good source of protein. It also contains a host of other important vitamins and minerals, and can be the perfect complement to a diabetic-friendly diet.

Is Quinoa IBS friendly?
Quinoa is suggested as a suitable replacement for wheat when following an IBS-friendly diet. This should help to reduce the likelihood of an IBS attack, especially when compared to eating what products that you know tend to trigger an attack.

Can kids eat Quinoa?
Yes, but the trouble is that many kids will not want to eat it. That’s why it’s best to use it in a recipe that will be appealing to them. There are ways that you can make items like buffalo chicken poppers that are stuffed with quinoa, and even make pizza flavored Quinoa dishes that will have them asking for it again. Check out our exhaustive list of Quinoa recipes for ideas and inspiration.

Diets

Can you eat Quinoa on a low carb diet?
It’s likely not recommended that you have Quinoa if you are keeping your carbs to a minimum. In a one cup serving you’re looking at 34 grams net carbs. So while it does have a ton of nutritional benefits and your body would benefit greatly from eating it, you’d be using up a lot of your allotted carbs for the day in just one meal containing Quinoa. Check with your specific diet to see if it’s something you can budget into your daily carb quota.

Is Quinoa allowed on the Zone Diet?
The official status for the Zone Diet is that Quinoa is an “unfavorable grain” even though it’s a seed and not a grain. They came to this conclusion because of its carbohydrate makeup.

Can you eat Quinoa on the Dukan diet?
Quinoa would only be suitable if you are in the Consolidation phase of the diet. You would want to avoid it during both the Attack phase and the Cruise phase.

Is Quinoa Whole30 approved?
No. You are not supposed to eat any grains and Quinoa is lumped into this category. They refer to it as a pseudo-grain, and even acknowledge that it’s gluten-free. We’re guessing that they’ve also considered all of the health benefits that it provides, and still gave it the no-go.

Can you eat Quinoa on the Slow Carb diet?
Quinoa can only be eaten on your Cheat Day when following the Slow Carb Diet. Therefore it’s not considered a “slow carb” and should not be eaten on the other 6 days when you’re trying to eat carbs from sources like beans and lentils. The Slow Carb diet overlooks plenty of superfoods like all fruit that contain antioxidants and other healthy benefits, so it’s not surprising that it ignores the benefits that Quinoa provides.

Is Quinoa OK for the Paleo diet?
There is no official guide on what is Paleo and what isn’t. That’s why there’s debate and confusion regarding Quinoa and how it fits into the Paleo way of eating. You can either subscribe to the idea that it’s not like other processed grains and very much a natural food that our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten, or you would reject the idea that they would have been able to incorporate it into their diet and avoid it.

Can you eat Quinoa on the Wheat Belly diet?
It’s not recommended as they claim it acts to increase blood sugar levels. They do acknowledge that it does not contain many of the things that wheat does, but their stance is that it still is not something that is suitable while on the diet.

Can you have Quinoa on the South Beach Diet?
If you are on Phase 2 or further of the SBD then you can eat whole grains and they put Quinoa in this category. You’d want to avoid it in Phase 1, and only eat the recommended foods for that phase.

Does Quinoa build muscle?
Yes. Not only does Quinoa contain a respectable amount of protein for not being an animal source, it also contains all 9 of your essential amino acids, the building blocks for muscle. If you are looking to build leaner muscle you’ll do well to eat Quinoa on a regular basis.

Does Quinoa burn fat?
Quinoa has been shown to provide a substantial amount of fiber, which can help flush fat from your system if you typically have a sluggish digestion. As part of a healthy diet Quinoa can help to build muscle, making you more leaner and contributing to even more fat loss and weight loss.

Can Quinoa make you fat?
There’s nothing in Quinoa that would contribute to making you fat. In fact, it is often cited as a food you can eat to aid in weight loss efforts and slim you down. You’ll want to keep your portion sizes to reasonable levels, as eating too much of anything is not a good idea. Eat regular portions on a regular basis and all else being equal you should lose weight, not gain it.

Does Quinoa boost metabolism?
By helping to build lean muscle, Quinoa acts as a metabolism booster, although it would take time and effort to also lift weights on a regular basis while eating it. When you increase the amount of lean muscle mass your body has you are getting it to burn fat and calories around the clock, even while you’re sleeping, resulting in an increased metabolic rate.

Does Quinoa fill you up?
One of the properties of Quinoa is that it contains a good amount of dietary fiber, which helps you to feel full when you eat it. That’s why it’s great as a side dish, or even as the main dish for a meal when mixed with other ingredients in a Quinoa recipe.

Is Quinoa vegetarian and vegan?
Yes, Quinoa is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans as it does not contain any meat, or animal byproducts of any kind. It’s a very desirable item for these diets as it provides a great deal of protein and amino acids, which are sometimes hard to come by when you’re avoiding meat and other protein-rich foods.

Is Quinoa wheat and gluten free?
Yes, Quinoa is not a grain, it is a seed, and it is devoid of any wheat or gluten.

Is Quinoa raw?
If you are following a raw diet and are looking to eat only raw foods, Quinoa might not be right for you. It should be sprouted or cooked before being eaten.

Is Quinoa low FODMAP?
Yes, Quinoa can be used as part of a low-FODMAP diet plan.

Is Quinoa low glycemic?
Quinoa scores a 53 on the Glycemic Index. Depending on what diet strategy you are going with, this is either good or bad. Anything less than 55 is considered low, but some diets like the Paleo Diet consider this rather high.

Is Quinoa macrobiotic?
Quinoa can be used as part of a macrobiotic diet in most instances. Since there are different philosophies when it comes to this diet plan it will depend on which one you are following.

Contents

Does Quinoa contain arsenic?
If you’re trying to avoid rice because of its arsenic content, you can use Quinoa instead as it contains far less, if any at all.

Does Quinoa contain Iodine?
Quinoa ranks low in Iodine and is recommended for those following a low-iodine diet.

Does Quinoa contain phytic acid?
Yes. All grains, nuts, and seeds contain phytic acid.

Does Quinoa contain Vitamin K?
No, it does not contain any Vitamin K.

Does Quinoa contain Zinc?
Yes, it contains roughly 7% of your RDA of Zinc per 100 gram serving.

Does Quinoa have a lot of carbs?
This depends on what you consider lots. The net carbs it contains per cup is 34. That may be lots for some diets, but suitable for others. It can’t really be considered a low-carb food, but it has fewer carbs than rice, both white and brown.

Does Quinoa have a lot of fiber?
Yes, Quinoa has a very good amount of dietary fiber in each serving. It has a full 5 grams per one cup serving, which represents one-fifth of what you need each day.

Does Quinoa have a lot of protein?
Compared to many other grains, seeds, and plants, Quinoa has plenty of protein, clocking in at 8 grams per one cup serving. The other impressive thing is that it contains all 9 essential amino acids that the body needs, and are generally hard to come by in other foods.

Does Quinoa have Iron?
Yes, Quinoa has a comparatively large amount of iron when compared to other foods.You’re getting 15% of the amount of Iron you need each day in a one cup serving of Quinoa.

Does Quinoa have vitamin B12?
Yes, Quinoa contains adequate amounts of Vitamin B12, an important member of the B Vitamin family.

What is It?

Is Quinoa a complete protein?
Yes, quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids the body needs, and contains a substantial amount of protein as well. It is considered a complete non-animal source of protein and contains 8 grams of it per serving.

Is Quinoa a complex carb?
Quinoa is considered a complex carb because it is digested slowly by the body and does not cause spikes in blood glucose levels. It does contain a substantial amount of protein, but it should not be counted as a protein if you are trying to determine how to classify it.

Is Quinoa a grain or seed?
Quinoa is considered a seed, not a grain.

Is Quinoa a superfood?
Yes, Quinoa made it onto our list of 66 Superfoods and is one of the most nutrient-packed foods you can eat. The highlights are that it’s high in fiber, high in protein, and contains an assortment of vitamins and minerals.

Is Quinoa bitter?
There is an outer coating on Quinoa that should be thoroughly rinsed off before cooking it. This would take away the bitter taste. If you notice that your Quinoa tastes a bit bitter be sure to rinse it twice as much next time, or consider buying a pre-rinsed variety.

Is Quinoa cheap or expensive?
By most accounts Quinoa is considered expensive, especially when compared to what and other grains.

Is Quinoa dairy-free?
Yes, there is no dairy in Quinoa whatsoever.

Is Quinoa fat free?
Quinoa contains 3.6 total grams of fat in a one-cup serving. 0.4 grams of that is Saturated Fat, 2 grams is Polyunsaturated Fat, and 1 gram is Monounsaturated, so you’re getting a bit of bad fat, as well as some healthy fats. It can be used as part of a low fat or fat-conscious diet.

Is Quinoa insoluble fiber?
Roughly two-thirds of the fiber in Quinoa is insoluble, the rest of course is soluble.

Is Quinoa non-GMO?
You’ll want to check the brand of the Quinoa that you are considering. You’ll see an emblem or it will be stated on the package if it it non-GMO. Most of the Quinoa we’ve seen being sold is non-GMO, but it’s always good to double check.

Is Quinoa nut-free?
Quinoa itself is nut-free, but those with nut allergies should check the packaging to confirm that the brand they are considering does not process the Quinoa in a facility that also processes nuts.

General

Does Quinoa feed candida?
No, Quinoa can actually help the body rid itself of candida when eaten as part of a candida diet. The fiber in it helps keep the body regulated and helps carry out the candida being purged by the diet.

Does Quinoa lose nutrients when cooked?
Yes, it loses a considerable amount of nutrients when it is cooked, but what it contains after being cooked is still enough to make it a Superfood. For example, it loses a lot of its protein value and fiber during the cooking process, as well as the amount of minerals like Iron and Magnesium. But these levels are still very high in cooked Quinoa, and it’s not recommended to eat it raw.

Does Quinoa need to be organic?
Like any food it’s better to buy organic because you’re missing out on all of the chemicals that conventional agriculture uses. Quinoa doesn’t need to be organic, but it doesn’t hurt to use organic brands.

Does Quinoa reheat well?
Quinoa is a great dish when reheated, and retains much of its texture and flavor.

Is white Quinoa better than the red?
No, they both have the same nutritional value, it is merely a difference in color. There are some differences in how they cook up, so if you have a particular recipe you’re following be sure to use the recommended color to duplicate the results.


   

2 Comments

  1. Barbara Kennedy says:

    Just started eating this. Cutting back on meat. Thanks for all this info. Looking forward to some good recipes.

  2. J D says:

    “Packs the protein punch of meat and has all 8 amino acids.”

    Did you mean to say “essential amino acids”? As there are 20 amino acids and depending upon the source 8-11 are considered essential (the one our bodies cannot produce).

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