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Toasted Quinoa: A Rich Superfood

by Snovia Ali
Toasted Quinoa A Rich Superfood

Not the biggest fan of cooked quinoa? Try toasted quinoa. It has a nutty flavor and crunchy texture that’s a great addition to salads, soups, bowls, and more.

Cooked quinoa can often taste bland and mushy. However, toasted quinoa gives this gluten-free ancient grain a whole new flavor and texture.

Toasted Quinoa: A Rich Superfood

As it toasts, it develops a golden brown flavor and has a nutty aroma similar to that of popcorn. Its crunchy texture makes it a great topper for yogurt, salads, pasta, or roasted vegetables. Toasted Quinoa also can be ground into flour and used similarly to breadcrumbs or as an apple crisp topping. So versatile.

Cinnamon Toasted Quinoa Recipe

Epic nourishing quinoa recipe featuring toasted pecans, coconut oil, cinnamon, and dried cherries or cranberries. It tastes like cinnamon toast! The recipe as written yields 1 serving; you can multiply it as necessary, as long as you use a suitably sized pot.


  • Heaping 2 tablespoons chopped raw pecans
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pre-cooked quinoa (either chilled or warm from cooking—both will work)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, more if desired

Toppings and optional accompaniments

  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • Hemp seeds, chia seeds, or flax seeds (optional), for serving
  • Milk or yogurt of choice (totally optional), for serving


  1. First, toast the pecans before we add the remaining ingredients. To do so, warm the pecans in a small saucepan (use a larger saucepan if you are making multiple servings) over medium heat, shimmying the pan often, until the pecans smell fragrant and toasty, about 4 to 6 minutes
  2. Add the coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt to the pot. While stirring constantly, cook until the cinnamon is fragrant, about 15 seconds
  3. Add the quinoa to the pot and stir to combine. Cook, while stirring constantly, just until the quinoa is warmed through, about a minute or so. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the maple syrup
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and top with dried fruit and a hefty sprinkle of hemp seeds, if using. Top with a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve promptly, with additional maple syrup and milk or yogurt on the side, if you’d like


CHANGE IT UP: Try honey instead of maple syrup, use your favorite nuts or seeds, toast unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut with the nuts, top with fresh fruit or instead of dried, add a big dollop of applesauce, etc.
MAKE IT NUT FREE: Omit the nuts or replace them with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds).

Do you love this protein-rich superfood? We’ll teach you how to cook quinoa so it turns out light and fluffy.

What’s not to love about quinoa? This nourishing grain rich in protein is not only nutty and textured, but it’s also a nutritional powerhouse and is a great way to get protein into a plant-based diet. It makes an incredible base for healthy dinner bowls, filling breakfasts, and fun salads. Plus, learning how to cook quinoa is easy!

How Much Quinoa Does 1 Cup Make?

Because the grain triples in size as it cooks, one cup of raw quinoa should yield about three cups of cooked quinoa. It’ll keep for three to five days in the fridge or the freezer for up to two months.

How to Wash Quinoa

Quinoa should always be washed before cooking. This extra step will remove the saponin (quinoa’s natural coating), which not only tastes bitter but also prevents the grain from expanding as it cooks. If the packaging for your quinoa says it’s already been pre-washed, washing it again will be up to your personal preferences.

To wash quinoa, simply rinse the grains in a fine mesh sieve under cold, running water. Using a fine mesh sieve is vital for making sure your seeds won’t fall through the holes. If you don’t have one on hand, you can get creative.

Use a straining cloth like a cheesecloth or nut milk bag by placing the quinoa on the cloth, wrapping the cloth around the seeds, and then rinsing it under cold water. Squeeze any remaining water out and you’re all done. Another alternative is using a clean coffee filter!

How Do You Make Quinoa Taste Better?

Rinsing quinoa will take care of that bitter taste, but adding more flavor to the grain takes a few extra steps.

One way to make it taste better is by toasting your quinoa after rinsing. This will help deepen its flavor. To do so, just add the quinoa to a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan from time to time. You’ll know it’s done when it starts to make popping sounds.

Another great way to add flavor to your quinoa is by using vegetable or chicken broth instead of water. You could also add spices and seasonings to the cooking liquid, or toss the cooked quinoa with dressing while it’s still warm.

How to Cook Quinoa

Step 1: Simmer the liquid first

Unlike rice, you don’t start quinoa in cold liquid. You don’t want it to absorb any cold water and throw off the water-to-grain ratio, or it will taste soggy. So bring your water or broth to a simmer before stirring in the quinoa. Then, let the mixture come back up to a simmer.

Step 2: Cover and Cook

Once the mixture is simmering, reduce the heat to low, cover it, and let it cook for 15 minutes. Resist the urge to open the lid and check on the progress! Releasing the steam too early can dry out the quinoa.

Step 3: Let it Sit

Here’s the most critical step if you want fluffy quinoa: practice a little patience before you eat it. I know you want to dig right in, but take the pot off the heat and let it sit (covered) for an additional 20 minutes. The cooked quinoa will continue to release steam during this time, which will ensure your grains are light and airy.

Step 4: Fluff With a Fork and Enjoy!

Don’t use a spoon or spatula. Using a regular old fork to fluff the quinoa keeps the individual grains separate instead of mashing them together.

Toasted Quinoa A Rich Superfood


What is the best way to cook quinoa?

You can cook quinoa in a rice cooker (or the Instant Pot ), but the best way to cook quinoa is actually on the stovetop. Start your quinoa in simmering water to kick-start its blooming and unraveling phase, making it fluffier than you thought possible. Unlike rice, you won’t want to start quinoa in cold liquid

How do you make quinoa taste good?

 It starts with rinsing the grains in a fine mesh sieve under cold, running water. The extra step removes the saponin (quinoa’s natural coating), which not only tastes bitter but also prevents the grain from expanding as it cooks.

What is the ratio of quinoa to water when cooking?

The basic ratio is 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid.

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