What is Quinoa? { And Five Quinoa Recipes}

Last week I shared about a new series I am going to be doing on gluten free food facts. I hope this is a series that you all will enjoy. I know how overwhelming gluten free cooking can be and my goal is to help make it a little easier for you.

Today we are starting things off with quinoa.

Quinoa is one of those things that I had heard of, but not really paid attention to until going gluten free. And honestly, I really did not pay that much attention to it in my gluten free cooking until I tried to include some healthier gluten free foods and flours in our diet.

Quinoa is becoming more and more popular and you will find quinoa recipes all over. Those that eat gluten free, and those that do not eat gluten free, have both discovered the benefits and great taste of quinoa.

Here are a few facts:

  1. Quinoa is an ancient grain, native to South America. It is a grain like seed and is very high in protein and fiber.
  2. Quinoa contains more protein than most cereals and grains and it is a high quality nutritious protein.
  3. Although quinoa is an anceint grain that has been around for centuries, if not thousands of years, it is relatively new to North America.
  4. Quinoa began to be cultivated in the US in the 1980’s and has gained popularity since then.
  5. With the rise in those eating a gluten free diets, quinoa’s popularity has risen even more, but quinoa is not just for the gluten free diet alone. It’s high nutritional value is a benefit to almost anyone’s diet.
  6. Quinoa has a nutty flavor and  can be used in soups, stews, and salads in place of rice.
  7. Quinoa can also be ground into flour for use in breads, pastas, and even desserts.
  8. Quinoa cooks quickly compared to many whole grains. You can easily make quinoa in less than 20 minutes, which is much quicker than brown rice.
  9. It makes a great addition to the gluten free kitchen because it is so healthy and adaptable to so many recipes and dishes.
  10. Most quinoa should be rinsed before cooking because it contains a bitter residue. Be sure to read the directions on the package to see if the brand you use needs rinsed.

Here are a few ways my family enjoys quinoa.

Mexican Quinoa

Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa Crepes

Chocolate Quinoa Cookies

And Chocolate Quinoa Cake

The best way I have found to cook quinoa is in the rice cooker, and I will share how I do that next week.

What are your thoughts on quinoa and what are your favorite ways to serve it?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Thank you I have been wanting to try this need to order some as the stores
    in my area don’t seem to have it. Can’t wait to find out how to cook it.

  2. Lynn — what brand of Quinoa do you use? I’ve been trying to find a good source, but they are all cross-contaminated with tree nuts, it’s seems! Any tips — I’d love some. I’m itching to try quinoa.

    • I use Bob’s Red Mill. So much has cross contamination with the nuts. But they claim they always clean the lines well after using nuts, and from what I could tell when I visited there they do a good job of it. My daughter has never reacted to their products, so I figure their quinoa would be ok. This is really an issue with gluten free flours as well. So many places use nuts and nut flours and also do gluten free flours and it is hard to tell how seriously most of them deal with cross contamination.

      • I am pretty sure I remember from the tour that Bob’s uses different equipment for their nut flours. They are all in the same gluten-free part of the building, but I seem to remember they were ground separately. I have a kid with nut allergies, so I think about this stuff too. We’ve never had a problem with their products or Ancient Harvest Quinoa, which I believe only processes corn & quinoa products.

  3. I love it. We are not gluten-free but we are all diabetic and I figure that cutting back on gluten sure couldn’t hurt. I’ve never tried it like any of your recipes so I’ve got them zipped for later. My favorite is heating up left overs in the microwave while frying eggs. Top each bowl of quinoa with a couple fried eggs and rooster sauce, soo good. I also like it cooked with a little milk so it’s creamier then topped with fresh or frozen fruit for a creamy oatmeal like breakfast and just like oatmeal I prefer it WITHOUT sugar. I know my family things I’m nuts too, but I really like the taste of oatmeal, especially steel cut, and I don’t like to hide that flavor under sugar. Just a bit of salt, maybe pepper, and some milk. I don’t recommend adding cheese like you would to grits… ewwww tried that.


  1. […] Lynn is the queen of quinoa knowledge and recipes.  She’s got lots of recipes for quinoa, including this one with facts about the grain and 5 recipes (chocolate things too!). […]

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