Quinoa: Queen of the Grainary

Complete Protein Grain

Quinoa, Broccoli-Mushroom Stir Fry, Steamed Fish with Veggie Melange

What if you could plant one seed in an arid mountain region and it yielded 1,000 seeds? A great return for this hardy grain borne in the Andes. Unlike common Western grains, which have a partial complement of proteins, quinoa [KEENWAH] has them all!

It’s a grain [actually a fruit] that is nutritiously delicious. I discovered it gets sweeter if you optionally soak it for about 24 hours, if you have the time.

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS: Once the quinoa is cooked, just like other grains you can build a dish out to include veggies and sauces

Red Quinoa [Note the White Rings that have Detached from the Grain. That Indicates it is Cooked Properly.]
Served with Sautéed Eggplant Topped and with Welsh Rarebit, then Broiled


  • OPTION 1: Unsoaked— 1 cup quinoa to 1-1/2 cups liquid: Rinse well and bring to a simmer with 1/2 tsp salt, then reduce to bare simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. It’s done when the germ [a thin band about the center] detaches and there is a slight chewy texture
  • OPTION 2: Soaked— 1 cup quinoa soaked for 8 – 24 hours, then repeat above for about 13-15 minutes
  • OPTION 3: Simmered—1 cup quinoa in several cups of water uncovered and simmered until grains are al denté, then drained with a sieve

Dinner: Quinoa, Broccoli-Mushroom Stir Fry, and Steamed Fish


Scrambled Eggs with Quinoa and Japanese Pickled Onions [My Favorite]

One of my favorite quinoa centric dishes was created by my friend, Russ Shulman—my first cooking assistant. Add cooked quinoa to scrambled eggs and then top with Japanese Pickled Onions—a triangulation of flavors that is heavenly

Quinoa Español

This is a tasty rendition which amps up flavor with raisins and saffron and mushrooms. A class favorite!

Quinoa Español with Poached Scallops and Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS: Cook’s choice> If I have time, I soak the quinoa for 24 hours at room temperature. This sweetens and makes for a fluffy texture. This is my go-to option

  • water – 3 cups
  • raisins – 1/2 cup, [or currants, or dried cranberries]
  • quinoa – 2 cups, well rinsed
  • salt – 1 tsp
  • saffron – 6 threads [avoid using powdered saffron]
  • nuts – toasted, 1/2 cup, pine nuts or other
  • olive oil – 2 TBS, plus a drizzle at the table
  • garlic – fresh, 1 tsp
  • shiitake mushrooms – dried, 1/4 cup [optional]
  • fresh herbs or chives


  1. If using dried mushrooms, add them to the 3 cups of water in a 2 quart pot and bring to a simmer; let them soften for 15-20 minutes, then remove stems and slice thinly. Use this soaking water to cook the quinoa
  2. Toast the nuts at 325º for about 6-7 minutes, until fragrant
  3. Bring water, raisins, quinoa, and salt to a boil, then reduce to bare simmer and cover
  4. Meanwhile sauté the garlic, and saffron in olive oil, until the garlic turns golden; a few minutes
  5. Cook quinoa till al denté, about 18-20 minutes; if wet consistency strain in a sieve
  6. Add a couple cups of quinoa to the sautéed garlic, along with the toasted nuts—combine, reserving extra quinoa for a planned over dish later in the week
  7. Taste for seasoning and top with chopped fresh minced herb or chives
Served with Roasted Seminole Pumpkin, Teriyaki Salmon, and Roasted Daikon

2022 Recipes by B. Hettig

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