Friday, September 12, 2014

Quinoa Recipes

This post is inspired by a request from my friend to make quinoa in several different ways so that it can be easily incorporated in our daily diet. So here are five recipes using quinoa as the main ingredient but each with completely different flavors. This one is for you Virender.

According to the whole grains council, Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal. This potent little seed gets an A+ for protein quality and so holds an important position in Vegetarian cooking. The protein profile of quinoa is impressive because it is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids (The best source though is soy). This fact is specially important for vegetarians and vegans since most other complete protein foods are meat or dairy-based. Being a whole-grain seed, it is also naturally a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E and potassium. You can find quinoa at any grocery stores or specialty food stores.

1. Quinoa pulao
Ingredients: serves 2-3
1 cup quinoa (I used red and white quinoa blend here)
1 cup chopped veggies (beans, carrots, peas, lima beans)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp Ginger julienne
1/2 medium Onion julienne
2 Bay leaves
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
3-4 Cloves
1/2 inch cinnamon
2 Green cardamoms crushed
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
2 cups water

  1. Rinse quinoa in running cold water and let it drain. 
  2. Heat oil in a large pan. Add bay leaves, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Saute for 10 seconds. Add onion. 
  3. Cook on medium high till onions turn golden brown. Add the chopped veggies. Saute for a minute and add the rinsed quinoa. Stir fry for a minute to incorporate the flavor of the spices into the veggies and quinoa. Add salt, red chili powder and garam masala and ginger. 
  4. While veggies are frying heat 2 cups of water in a separate pan till it starts boiling. Add the boiling water to the veggies and give it a quick stir. When it starts to boil again, simmer and cover for 20 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and fluff up with fork before digging in.

2. Quinoa upma
Upma is a hot breakfast food originally from southern India made with semolina. This recipe is inspired by upma and uses quinoa instead. Upma can be eaten for breakfast or lunch(as we do) and is a wholesome dish full of tonnes of veggies.

Ingredients: serves 2-3
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup each peas and beans
1 cup shredded carrot
2 tbsp oil
Pinch asafoetida
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
2-3 Red whole chilli
1 tsp Ginger julienne
2-3 green chilies chopped
1 tsp each chana dal and dhuli urad dal
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
  1. Rinse quinoa in running cold water and let it drain. 
  2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds. 
  3. Once they crackle, stir in the asafoetida, red chili, chana dal, urad dal and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. 
  4. Add the vegetables and rinsed quinoa and fry on high for 2-3 minutes. Add ginger, green chili and salt and continue frying for 3 to 4 minutes. 
  5. Add about 2 cups of water to the mixture, bring to a rolling boil and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. 

3. Lemon quinoa
Inspired by the chitra anna (or lemon rice) recipe, the quinoa is tinted yellow with turmeric and flavored with lemon, fried peanuts and spices.
Ingredients: serves 2
1 cup quinoa (I used white quinoa here)
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Pinch asafoetida(hing)
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp peanuts
2-3 whole red chilies
2 green chilies finely chopped
1 tsp ginger grated (traditionally not used, i use it, gives a great flavor)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Red chili powder to taste
Lemon juice as per taste

  1. Wash quinoa in cold running water, drain. 
  2. Place it in a pan with 2 cups water and salt. 
  3. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 18-20 minutes till translucent and all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and keep aside to cool. 
  4. For good results always advisable to cook quinoa a few hours in advance. 
  5. In a large pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. Let them roast for 5-7 seconds, then add hing, urad dal, peanuts and whole red chilies. Roast till dal turns golden. 
  6. Add the cooked quinoa, green chilies and ginger and stir to combine. Keeping the heat at medium, add turmeric and chili powder. Saute well to combine everything for about 3-4 minutes. 
  7. Finally add the lemon juice as per taste and adjust any seasoning. Serve hot.
Red quinoa salad (Find the recipe here.)

4. Red Quinoa salad
Quinoa can be mixed with any combination of veggies, beans, nuts and cheese to give a unique dish every time. Makes for an excellent lunch or side dish for BBQ.
Moroccan quinoa salad(Find the recipe here)
5. Moroccan Quinoa salad
This recipe here has a great blend of flavors with mint and lime juice. The sweet and tart cranberries add the perfect punch and color.


  1. awesome!Loved it alot. very healthy and tasty collection of quinoa recipes.