Often called a whole grain, quinoa is a gluten-free seed from the chard and rhubarb

family. Golden is common, but you’ll also find red and black varieties. It’s wonderfully tasty and spectacularly healthy, boasting all nine essential amino acids for a complete protein. Each tiny grain has a bitter coating, so before cooking cover with water in a bowl, massage thoroughly, drain, and repeat twice.

Easy cooking method

Combine one part quinoa with scant two parts water or broth. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Turn off heat but leave on burner another 5–10 minutes, depending on desired texture. Quinoa cooks up to about three times its original size.

Ways to use it

For a hypoallergenic baby food, purée well-cooked quinoa with banana, blueberries, or steamed sweet potato; thin with liquid. Refrigerate for up to two days, or freeze portions for up to two months.

Improve dips’ nutrient profile by puréeing cooked quinoa into hummus, bean dip, or guacamole—or simply stir in for extra texture.

Substitute cooked quinoa for rice as a bed for curry, stew, or roasted meats and vegetables. Use instead of breadcrumbs when making meatballs or veggie burgers.

Toasted Quinoa with Kale and Pine Nuts

Toasting quinoa and starting its cooking with boiling water help grains to cook up fluffy and separate. Serves 4-6. View recipe