How to Properly Toast Quinoa


If you’ve never toasted quinoa, you may be surprised by the depth of flavor and delightful texture this simple step can add to your favorite gluten-free ancient grain. Whether it’s part of the process or the entire cooking method, toasting can turn your quinoa into a brand-new culinary sensation.

Sound like something you’d like to try? Here’s how to properly toast quinoa – and what to do with it, once you’ve done just that:

  • First, know that if you are using a brand other than Ancient Harvest, you may need to thoroughly rinse your quinoa to rid it of its natural coating of saponins, which is known to leave a soapy, bitter taste. At Ancient Harvest, we pre-rinse our quinoa so that you can skip this step.
  • Heat a big, heavy sauté pan on medium low.
  • Add (or leave) some water to the quinoa so that it is moist, and put a cup of the wet quinoa into the heated pan. (Make sure not to over-crowd.)
  • Using a wire whisk, quickly stir the quinoa around in the pan as it begins to toast.
  • Once the water is absorbed and the quinoa begins to pop, you will know that it is drying out. Keep whisking until the grains of quinoa start to brown. It will transform before your eyes and begin to smell nutty – and that’s when you know that your quinoa is toasted.
  • Toasted quinoa may be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container once it has cooled, so it can be helpful to toast enough at a time to use for multiple meals throughout the week.

Now, what to do with all of that delicious, fragrant toasted quinoa?

Create a versatile topping.

Adding a few simple spices turns toasted quinoa into a tasty, crunchy topping for sweet and savory dishes. Try this recipe for Crunchy Toasted Quinoa Topping from New Nostalgia.

Add it to a salad.

Try using toasted quinoa as a nutritious alternative to croutons in your next salad – à la this Roasted Carrot, Avocado and Toasted Quinoa Salad from Perpetually Chic.

Cover it in chocolate.

For a sweet treat, try making a chocolate bar filled with toasted quinoa (like these Toasted Quinoa Chocolate Crunch Bars by Something Swanky.) The unexpected textural component (not to mention the added nutrition!) turns an ordinary dessert into something special.

Keep cooking it.

Toasting can be the first in a series of steps, as shown by this recipe for Asian Toasted Quinoa with Mushrooms from The Garden Grazer. Once the quinoa is toasted, add some broth and fresh veggies to create a savory dish that perfectly complements the nutty flavor of toasted quinoa.

For even more delicious gluten-free recipes, be sure to visit the recipes page at AncientHarvest.com.