How to Make Fluffy Quinoa (and Quinoa Tabbouleh)

October 6, 2011 7:00 am

Jackie Dodd is a California-based food blogger whose passion for local ingredients began during her years growing up on farm in Eastern Washington surrounded by apple orchards and peach trees. She is now happy to focus on California produce, and has a passion for baking. Her website is Domestic Fits, and you can also catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa) is a spectacularly impressive grain. For such a tiny little guy, he’s packed with nutrients, and it’s even been said that you can survive on nothing but quinoa, although I wouldn’t recommend trying it. Quinoa is not only a complete protein, it is also packed with iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, folate, lysine, and other essential amino acids. Along with a dose of fiber and zero saturated fat, quinoa is an incredible addition to any diet.

So, now that you are completely on board with a heaping spoonful of quinoa, how can you cook it without making a bowl of mush? I’m so glad you asked.

There are a few basic steps that, in most cases, are inexplicably left off the package directions.

For this lesson in quinoa cookery, I am making 2 cups. Quite a large amount, but in the interest of saving time throughout the week, I like to make a large batch on Sundays and have it ready to go for the next 3-5 days.

First, don’t forget to rinse your quinoa. Think of this like remembering to wash your hands before eating, you really have no idea what could be on those little grains.

Put 2 cups of quinoa in a bowl that will hold at least 6 cups.

2 Cups of QuinoaCover the quinoa with cold water, rinsing it thoroughly.

Rinsing Quinoa

Then drain through a fine mesh strainer.

Draining Quinoa
Allow to drain and dry for 20 minutes to remove all the water. Skipping this step will lead to mushy grains.

Drying Quinoa

Once your quinoa has dried, toast in a dry pan until you can smell the nutty flavor that has now been brought out in your quinoa, about 5 minutes. This also removes any additional water that may have been left behind by the rinse.

Toasting QuinoaRemove the quinoa from the pan, set aside.

Cooking quinoa with the same liquid to grain ratio as rice (1 cup grain, 2 cups water) is the biggest culprit in the battle for fluffy quinoa. It’s just too much water, and will leave you with mush. Cook instead with a 1 part grain to 1.5 parts liquid ratio. For the purposes of this post, that would be 2 cups quinoa to 3 cups liquid.

As for the liquid, you can use broth, vegetable juice, water, or any combination of those to achieve to taste you want. I use at least half broth most often, but for the sake of simplicity, I used water for this post.

Bring 3 cups of water/broth to a rapid boil in sauce pan.

Then add your toasted quinoa and cover the lid with a slight vent, allowing the steam to escape.

Reduce your heat to medium-low, and maintain a strong simmer.

Cook for 16 minutes or until all of the water is gone. Remove from heat and remove the lid.

Allow to cool and rest for ten minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Cooked Quinoa

So what can you do with that nice fluffy quinoa you just made? You can make yourself a nice bowl of quinoa tabbouleh!

4.8 from 18 reviews
Quinoa Tabbouleh
  • 1 cup fluffy, cooked Quinoa
  • ½ cup peeled Cucumbers, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped Tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped Red Onion
  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbs. chopped Chives
  • 1 cup chopped Parsley
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Enjoy.

78 Comments on "How to Make Fluffy Quinoa (and Quinoa Tabbouleh)"
  1. Comment left on:
    December 10, 2013 at 7:04 am
    Jeannie says:

    Just finished making this and this is absolutely the FIRST TIME EVER that quinoa has come out perfect!! Thank you for your fabulous formula, I do appreciate you sharing your secret with us!!!!

  2. .
    December 11, 2013 at 6:47 am

    […] ingredients to cooked quinoa (see how to make fluffy quinoa here), cover and warm while peppers finish cooking.  I heated them on a low to medium-low setting, […]

  3. Comment left on:
    January 22, 2014 at 6:23 am
    Magguie says:

    I have tried to make quinoa before but for some reason
    I never couldn’t make it to perfection but I decided to try
    one more time and it came just right .My family loved every bite
    even my 3 year old !!!!
    Thanks for posting this recepie !!!

  4. Comment left on:
    January 27, 2014 at 7:46 pm
    Tab says:

    No wonder my Quinoa looked like mush…thank you so much for sharing this; I will make sure to make it the proper way instead of what it states on the bag.

  5. .
    February 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    […] sit for 15 minutes for flavors to develop. Taste and add more dressing if desired. Notes: * ~ See Eating Rules for an excellent tutorial on what, I think, is the best way to cook quinoa. Lemon Cumin […]

  6. .
    February 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    […] Quinoa Tabbouleh  […]

  7. .
    March 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    […] room temperature.  I highly recommend that you follow the instructions for Fluffy Quinoa found on Eating Rules…trust me, you’ll be glad you did!) *I cooked my Quinoa in chicken […]

  8. Comment left on:
    April 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm
    Mercy is says:

    This is my first experience with Quinoa and thanks to you it went well. Thanks for yor time and effort.

    Mercy is

  9. .
    July 10, 2014 at 1:00 am

    […] as yummy as hers had been (not to mention totally healthy and filling!). My mother-in-law used this Fluffy Quinoa & Tabbouleh recipe from Eating Rules, but I made a few modifications to my version to suit our taste. All of […]

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