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From Our Pantry: Quinoa

This January, we are focusing on stocking your pantry for healthier meals and a healthier budget.

If you haven’t entered to Win Pantry Staples for a Year, head over to that blog post now and then come right back. When you pick up the items on our $50 Pantry Stock Up list (see below), you’ll be ready to add a few fresh ingredients, herbs and spices to be able to cook 14 of our favorite recipes.

We’ll feature all of these recipes individually in these “From Our Pantry” posts throughout this month. This time we’re talking quinoa. (You can see our earlier posts on Oats, Soup, Chili and Stew and Brown Rice.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has all the goodness of whole grains — the B vitamins, the fiber, the minerals — and it’s actually a small dried seed that’s been cultivated for thousands of years in South America. This little powerhouse has the highest protein content of any other grain. And since it contains all eight essential amino acids, quinoa is considered a complete protein.

Quinoa’s light and fluffy in texture but has that whole grain ability to fill people up. It’s so versatile it can be substituted for rice, pasta, couscous, bulgur or millet in just about any recipe. And it’s gluten free – excellent news for anyone with a gluten allergy or sensitivity.

First things first, you need to learn how simple and quick it is to cook quinoa. Here’s our step by step instructional recipe called Learn to Cook: Quinoa.

Whether you choose brown, red or black quinoa, cooking is similar. Now that you’ve got the basics down, try these:

Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews

Serve this side dish alongside baked tofu chunks or your favorite lean protein.

In addition to your pantry staples of quinoa, sundried tomatoes and vegetable broth, you’ll add broccoli (frozen will work), lemon juice, onions, cashews and a bit of wine for a carnival of flavors and textures.

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Sneak whole grains and veggies into crowd-pleasing meatballs with this easy recipe that will stretch your food dollar, too.

You’ll add ground beef, chopped veggies and seasonings to your cooked quinoa.

Serve with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce or on a hoagie with cheese for a dynamite meatball sub sandwich.

Here’s the complete Pantry Stock Up List (download the pdf) that gives you all the pantry ingredients needed for these three recipes and 11 more.

  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 lb lentils
  • 1 lb quinoa
  • 2 lbs brown rice
  • 3 (32-oz) boxes vegetable broth
  • 1 (32-oz) box chicken broth
  • 1 lb rolled oats
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 lb orechiette pasta
  • 1 lb pasta, your favorite kind
  • 1 jar unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened almondmilk
  • 1 (5-oz) can tuna
  • 3 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 package no-oil sundried tomatoes
  • 1 jar pasta sauce

We priced these in our 365 Everyday Value® line and the list came in around $50. We encourage you to visit our bulk department and keep an eye out for sales for even more value. Do you have a favorite recipe using quinoa that comes together easily with help from a well-stocked pantry?

Please share in the comments.

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Vered says …

I love quinoa. I usually cook it in salted water, then simply drizzle with a little olive oil. But here's a delicious, easy recipe that dresses the cooked quinoa a little more: http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2012/01/25/easy-quinoa-recipe/

Sue Braden says …

I love Quinoa! I usually just add some diced tomatoes and basil and some olive oil! Now I have Quinoa pasta available I will use it in all my old pasta recipes...like pasta with bacon, garlic, cauliflower,and brussels sprouts!

Patti says …

saute some crushed / minced garlic (I like 3-4 large cloves, but I really like garlic) and red pepper flakes (to taste) in some olive oil until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add a can of drained cannellini beans, some chopped sun-dried (oil-packed) tomatoes (about a 1/4 cup or so) and saute everything until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add toasted nuts of your choice (pine nuts are awesome, toasted chopped walnuts or almonds also great choices) and serve over a bed of quinoa. Serve with a little extra olive oil if it seems dry. If you have fresh herbs, add them as you see fit. Lots of room for variation with flavors / other vegetables. This will probably serve 3 comfortably; I double when I'm feeding my family.

Vered says …

Sue and Patti, I'm loving your suggestions!

Marjorie says …

Quinoa is sooo delicious, and it can be sooo tasty by adding a few ingredients. I usually add lemon juice, salt, olive oil, cilantro, tomatoes and mango! Now, I am definitely going to try your recipe:)

Ev says …

I usually make a batch that lasts me for days. I don't think it even needs oil. I cook it and let it cool. I add my favorite sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, bell peppers (sometimes tofu) and of course sriracha sauce for kick. Its a delicious cold salad that I can pull out anytime. Yum!!

Jen B says …

Quinoa stuffed peppers Cut innards out of peppers. Cut bottom a bit to help pepper stay upright. Boil 1 c. Chicken broth with 2 tsp. Cumin. Add 3/4 c. Quinoa. Turn off stovetop and let cook. Combine 1/4 c. Currants/dates/raisins, 1c. Rinsed and drained garbanzo or black beans, 1c. Spinach, chopped, and 2-3 T. Olive oil. Add quinoa to mixture. Stuff peppers. Drizzle with olive oil. Add 1/2 c. Water to pan to steam peppers. Cook at 400 for 45-60 min.

Alyssa says …

I absolutely adore quinoa. As someone who eats gluten-free quinoa has become a staple of my diet. I even write a blog that is dedicated primarily to quinoa recipes: http://queenofquinoa.blogspot.com

Karen Andrew says …

SUPERBOWL QUINOA: One of my favorites ways to prepare quinoa is as a dip, add cooked and cooled quinoa to a mixture of 1/2 c olive oil, 3-4 tbl balsamic vinegar, 3-4 tomatoes chopped, 2-4 cloves of garlic minced, a bunch of basil chopped, a squeeze of lemon.( you can add feta or goat cheese as well) I serve with falafel chips or homemade corn chips. This is a crowd favorite and will be at my superbowl party.

Becka says …

I have Quinoa for breakfast. I used 1 part of quinoa to four parts of water and one cinnamon stick. It makes enough for four days.

Deanna says …

I like lightly (dry) toasting quinoa before cooking it. I let it cool then add chopped dried figs (or any dried fruit), finely diced shallots, finely diced bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow), toasted almonds, and chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro or mint). Toss with EVOO & fig balsamic. Good served chilled or at room temperature. Red qinoa makes the dish especially pretty.

Olive oil says …

Thanks for sharing this great content,I really enjoyed the insign you bring to the topic,awesome stuff!