How to Cook Quinoa (plus a favorite breakfast recipe)

A few friends have asked me recently, “What do I do with quinoa?!” Even quinoa’s name is intimidating, right? (It’s pronounced “keen-wah,” if you’re wondering) But, in reality, it’s not that difficult to make and is well worth the effort.

Quinoa is a good source of protein; one cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein. This makes it a great substitute for pasta, as well as a good supplement to help other more expensive proteins (like meat) stretch further.

how to cook quinoa, plus an easy breakfast recipe

The most important thing to know about cooking quinoa is that you need to rinse it before cooking it in order to remove the natural and bitter-flavored coating, saponin. It tastes much better if you rinse first!

So, rinse it and then cook it similarly to how you’d make rice:

  • Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water into a saucepan.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook about 10-15 minutes until all water is absorbed.
  • When quinoa is done cooking, it looks soft and translucent with the outer ring of the grain separated.

The options are nearly endless for quinoa — you can use this as a side to your favorite meat, a topping for salads, or just add some olive oil and parmesan as a healthier (and more filling) pasta substitute.

One of our favorite quinoa recipes is quinoa-oatmeal, inspired by a Trader Joe’s frozen breakfast option. Their version is frozen in single servings with maple syrup mixed in. You could freeze your version in muffin tins and then transfer them to a ziploc bag. But, we go through a lot in one week, so I just mix up a big batch at the beginning of the week and eat it a few mornings throughout.  To make this:

  • Cook up one batch of quinoa as above.
  • Cook a double batch of Irish steel cut oats according to package directions (For our package, that means 8 cups water and 2 cups of steel cut oats. About 5 minutes after the water and oats start boiling, the oats will thicken. Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s your desired consistency.)
  • Mix the cooked quinoa and oats together. Top with maple syrup, brown sugar, or whatever other favorite oatmeal toppings. Enjoy!

What are your favorite easy and healthy breakfast options?


Spinach Salad Dressing

recipe for spinach

We’ve been enjoying this spinach salad dressing this week. It took under 5 minutes to make and even the girls are eating spinach with this yummy dressing!

The recipe is originally from here, but I halved it and decreased the amount of sugar.  This amount made enough for 2 bags of spinach.

Spinach Salad Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • about 3 Tbsp. of chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • shake of salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and drizzle over fresh spinach.  I like to serve it with chunks of apple, but it’d be good with raisins, craisins, and/or bleu cheese too.

Do you have any good salad dressing recipes?


I’m linking up to: Hey Mommy Chocolate Milk.

Pumpkiny Goodness

pumpkin muffin recipeIt doesn’t feel much like fall here in Charleston.  Our daily highs are still in the 80s and I’m loving it! I’m sure I’ll miss a true fall someday, but for now, I’m just thinking of it as an endless summer and hoping we still have a few good beach weekends left. Even though it doesn’t feel much like fall outside, I’ve been enjoying yummy tastes of fall like mulled apple cider and pumpkin-everything. Yesterday, we made this delicious pumpkin muffin recipe:

Pumpkin Muffins: 

  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin

Combine raisins and 2 Tablespoons of flour; stir well and set aside.

Mix together remaining flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Beat egg in a separate bowl.

Make a well in center of dry mixture and add egg, pumpkin, and milk.

Stir dry and wet ingredients together just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon into muffin tins and cook at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

I have such fond memories of making and eating these pumpkin muffins with my mom and am glad to pass on the legacy to my own daughters. They would have eaten the whole batch tonight if we’d let them!

If that’s not enough pumpkiny goodness for you, Beach Dad and I’ve also been enjoying this pumpkin beer – Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale. Yum!

pumpkin beer

What’s your favorite pumpkin flavored food or drink?

I linked up to homemade ginger and Nap Time Crafters.