If you don’t know quinoa (keen-wah), you should. It is a seed that is widely regarded as a grain—and can be used in place of rice or oats in recipes. It’s an excellent source of gluten-free fiber and a complete protein—one-quarter cup of uncooked quinoa has about six grams of protein, about as much as one egg. Easy to prepare and digest, quinoa can be added to a range of recipes from pancakes to stews. Natural foods nutritionist Patti Tveit Milligan, RD, CNS, in Phoenix, who developed the delicious recipes below with Gregory Anne Cox, a chef in Hampton Bays, New York, shows us how to introduce quinoa into the kitchen! Many people love quinoa’s chewy texture the first time they try it.

But if you are still acquiring a taste for this remarkable seed, try mixing it with more familiar foods. Example: Add one or two tablespoons of uncooked quinoa to uncooked oatmeal or rice—and cook them together. Quinoa makes a great addition to homemade energy bars in place of oats.


The following recipes demonstrate two ways to prepare quinoa as a side dish or as a main course.

Lime-Scented Quinoa with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro

Serves four as a main course

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1½ cups uncooked quinoa

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup finely chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Zest of one lime

1 Tablespoon hot sauce

1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup diced red or yellow tomatoes

1 cup diced red bell pepper

Bring stock to a boil, and add quinoa. Stir, and bring back to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes or until the quinoa is fluffy and tender. Strain and let cool. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper, zest and hot sauce. Place quinoa, beans tomatoes and red pepper in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil mixture, and toss. Suggestion: Serve with sautéed kale or spinach lightly tossed with olive oil and garlic.


Quinoa with Roasted Walnuts, Leeks and Apples

Serves four to six as a side dish

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (Water may be used instead, but stock adds more flavor.)

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 Tablespoons walnut oil

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 cup cleaned leeks, white part only, thinly sliced into half moons

1 cup chopped green or red apple with peel

½ cup chopped roasted walnuts

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring stock (or water) to a boil, and add quinoa. Stir, and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes or until the quinoa is fluffy and tender. Strain, and let cool. Heat a medium-sized sauté pan, and add the oils. When oil is fragrant, add leeks, apple and walnuts, and sauté until leeks are tender. Mix all ingredients. Can be served warm or chilled.


Quinoa is available in the grain section of your grocery or health-food store. When you purchase prewashed quinoa, there is no need to rinse it, but when you buy quinoa in bulk, rinse it well and drain before using. This rinsing removes a bitter taste associated with naturally occurring trace resins called saponins that coat unwashed quinoa.