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Much to my surprise I only have one recipe for Quinoa on this site (so far). It accompanies my version of a Moroccan Chicken recipe from "Quinoa 365" by the "Quinoa Sisters", Patricia and Carolyn Hemming. Perhaps unusual for a side dish accompanying chicken, it is enhanced by the use of butter, honey, cinnamon and pistachios - almost sounds like a dessert, right? In truth, I think it would be a great breakfast!

For your convenience, I am reproducing that quinoa recipe to this page, with some more tips about quinoa. (If you ever peek at the original recipe, you'll see it serves 4, but I double the quinoa. We like it and I don't mind if there's a bit for leftovers.)

Quinoa is considered to be an ancient grain - though experts hasten to point out that it is actually a seed, and was domesticated thousands of years ago in South America. Though familiar to some, I had only begun to hear about it a year or so before the publication of "Quinoa 365" in 2010. The appeal and success of those recipes made it easy for me to adopt quinoa as a staple. It seems I was not alone. It's popularity skyrocketed and "between 2006 and 2013, quinoa crop prices tripled" [Source] affecting food security for those in indigenous regions. That they are considered to be a protein and are gluten-free adds to their popularity. There are many varieties of quinoa - white, red and black are the ones you'll find most easily at grocery stores.

Did you know there is a type of quinoa grown right here in Canada?! Read about NorQuin.

Quinoa is easy to prepare, but should be rinsed before cooking to remove the naturally occurring bitter outer coating. Lately I have been noticing that some quinoa I purchase seems to be already pre-rinsed. Often it doesn't say so on the box, but I can tell when I'm rinsing that there is not that moment of little bubbles and milky run-off. Having said that, I always rinse it before using.

Rules for making quinoa:

  • rinse first - read more about why
  • quinoa to water ratio is 1:2 - quantity of water is double the quantity of quinoa
  • FYI 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will yield about 3 cups cooked
  • the Quinoa Sisters method of cooking. 1) place quinoa and water into a saucepan at the same time; 2) bring to a boil; 3) reduce to simmer, cover with lid, and cook for 10 minutes; 4) without removing lid, take it off the stove for another 7 minutes; after cooking time, remove lid and fluff with a fork - that's a golden rule and guarantees that the quinoa will not clump together. Cooked quinoa is actually pretty and you want to keep it that way
  • what if there's a bit of water left? Put it on low heat, with the lid off until it gets absorbed / evaporates; or drain it off.
  • Variations - the Quinoa Sisters say that the step 4 "rest" can be as short as 5 minutes if using quinoa in a salad. or as high as 15 minutes if using the quinoa in baking.
  • Some advise taking step 3 (above) to 15 minutes and skipping the off heat rest period
  • the NorQuin site even has instructions for microwaving.

More recipes?

Can't explain why, but more than rice and couscous, quinoa inspires me to be creative. Whether for breakfast, or a salad or a side to a main course, almost anything in the fridge can be added, resulting in an appetizing dish. Be creative!

  • The Quinoa Sisters published a second Quinoa book, and they offer recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert.
  • The NorQuin site offers recipes.
  • Hard to top the Food52 collection of quinoa recipes.

"Moroccan" Quinoa

1 1/3 cup quinoa (rinsed)
2 2/3 cups water

2 TB butter
4 tsp honey
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup pistachios (roasted, unsalted) 

Prepare the quinoa by bringing the quinoa and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. 

Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional seven minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.

Remove the quinoa from the heat and toss with the butter, honey and salt. Stir in the cinnamon and pistachios. Salt to taste.

Notes and Tips...

<== Questions or Comments? Want to LIKE this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!

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