If you’re still wondering what the buzz around quinoa is all about, you’ve come to the right place. From its origin, how to pronounce it, cooking tips and how to incorporate this so-called super food into your diet, here’s the Introductory Class everyone should be taking to become a quinoa-expert and enjoy all its goodness.

Lesson 1: Quinoa Basics – 3 FACTS

For a quinoa newbie, it can be hard to sift through all of the myths and information out there regarding this mysterious and so-called superfood. So, to start on the right path, this first lesson includes a list of 3 basic facts that everyone should know about quinoa

1. It is pronounced /keen-wah/

Finally an answer to one of the most puzzling questions out there: how do you pronounce quinoa? Keen-wah.  Mystery solved and, if you’re still curious about the origin of the word quinoa – we also have the answer to that.

Aloha Quinoa Power Balls on a tray

Quinoa Power Balls

Although nowadays it’s enjoyed all over the world, quinoa is primarily grown in Bolivia and Peru. In fact, quinoa originated in the foothills of the Andean region in South American, making it quite an ancient food – we’re talking around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. As it was first cultivated by the people of the Andean region, the name of this internationally served food has its roots in the Quechua language.

2. Quinoa is not a grain

You read that right! Quinoa isn’t a grain, it’s a seed. Although this pseudo-grain can be cooked and eaten in every way that rice can, technically it is not a grain.

This seed, found within the beets and spinach family, constitutes a hearty and filling addition to your family table. Although not a true cereal grain, it is as versatile as rice and also comes in different varieties, the most common being: red, black and white quinoa.

3. What does it taste like?

Now you know that quinoa is a seed that originated in South America and comes in three different colors, but let’s talk about flavor. These pseudo-grains have a nutty undertone and an earthy aftertaste similar to brown rice. However, it has a soft yet slightly chewy texture.

Quinoa Green Bean Casserole with Mushrooms and Parmesan Cheese

Quinoa Green Bean Casserole

The truth is, meal possibilities are endless as quinoa also absorbs the flavor of any dressing or extra ingredients you toss it with. It’s also great on its own, simply drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and you’ve got yourself a filling side.

Lesson 2: Why you should be eating Quinoa

Whether you’re a quinoa fanatic, skeptic or anything in between, there’s more to these tiny morsels than you might think. As it continues to grow in popularity and with it, your foodie curiosity into how to eat these seeds, your second lesson includes the “whys” of preparing and enjoying quinoa.

Reasons to eat quinoa:

  • It’s naturally Gluten Free.
  • It’s a fiber dense, plant-based source of protein: 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein, plus half the daily recommended amount of fiber intake.
  • Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own.
  • These seeds are filled with vitamins and minerals: quinoa is high in vitamins B-6 and C.
  • It’s a versatile pseudo grain that can be enjoyed for a sweet breakfast, savory lunch, crunchy snack, filling dinner and even dessert. 
  • It makes a great meal-prep staple that can be paired with almost anything.

Lesson 3: How to cook Quinoa

If you’ve ever made quinoa before, in any of its varieties, you’ll know it might be tricky to get that perfect fluffy texture each time – not to mention, figuring out the accurate quinoa-to-water ratio.

Asparagus and Orange Quinoa Salad

Asparagus and Orange Quinoa Salad

For your third lesson, from stovetop to microwave, we’ll show you how cooking quinoa is made simple with the perfectly portioned Success® Boil-in-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa. Forget worrying about the water-to-quinoa ratio or trying to find out how to make chewy yet fluffy quinoa.

With these two easy cooking methods, you’ll never have to worry about undercooked, overcooked, crunchy or mushy quinoa again.

Stove Method

  1. Start with 4 cups (1 quart) of your preferred liquid – use broth, plant-based milk or juice, instead of water, to switch up the flavor! 
  2. Place one bag of Success® Quinoa and bring the liquid to a boil. 
  3. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes and voilà. 
  4. Empty quinoa out of the bag, fluff with a fork and you’re bound to cook successful quinoa recipes.

Microwave Method

Want to know how to cook quinoa in a microwave? Here’s how! 

  1. In a microwave-safe dish, submerge 1 bag of Success® Quinoa in about 4 cups (1 quart) of water or other liquid of choice.
  2. Microwave on HIGH for 15 minutes. 
  3. Remove the bag from the microwave and as simple as that, you’re ready to enjoy it as a side or in a more complex meal.

Remember, microwave ovens vary so keep an eye on yours during the cooking duration.

Here is a video-tutorial on how to cook quinoa following the stovetop method, just in case you find yourself in trouble when cooking your new favorite quinoa blend.