29 Different Flavors to Make Quinoa Taste Better

Arms on desk with quinoa, coffee, coffee cup, and magazine.

Quinoa is a nutritious alternative to refined grains. It also tastes bitter. Luckily, it's very easy to make cooked quinoa, red quinoa, black quinoa, or instant quinoa more flavorful. Discover the best pre-washed and pre-rinsed quinoa brands and different ways to make quinoa taste better.

Always rinse your quinoa or buy pre-rinsed quinoa.

You should always rinse quinoa because quinoa had a natural coating of saponins, which evolved as a way to deter animals and microbes from eating it. Saponins are the reason quinoa is often described as bitter.

Watch the video above for a step-by-step tutorial on how to rinse quinoa. Or if you're looking to save time you could purchase pre-washed quinoa. Here are some of the top pre-rinsed quinoa brands:

Make quinoa taste great with some basil pesto.

Pesto goes great with many different grains and quinoa is no exception. We recommend making homemade basil pesto if you have the time. It's hard to beat the taste of pesto made from fresh basil, high-quality olive oil, pine nuts, freshly ground black peppercorns, and parmesan cheese.

If you're low on time, 365 Basil Pesto or Amore Pesto Paste are convenient alternatives. Cucina & Amore also makes prepared, ultra-convenient basil pesto quinoa.

Toast your quinoa.

Toasting your quinoa before cooking is another way to make quinoa taste good. The video above shows you how to do so.

Experiment with spicy flavors like Chipotle and Jamaican Jerk.

Keen One makes a variety of already prepared quinoa with spicy flavors like Chipotle and Jamaican Jerk. Cucina & Amore makes flavors like Artichoke & Roasted Peppers along with Mango & Jalapeño.

You could also make your own spicy quinoa with fresh chili peppers, dried chiles (like ancho peppers), or spice mixes like Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning or Seasoned Salt.

Mix in some guacamole.

Like pesto, guacamole is a great addition to a variety of foods including quinoa. Also like pesto, the best guacamole is made with fresh ingredients. Guacamole is made from avocados and frequently includes other flavors like peppers, tomatoes, and onions.

Make some simple quinoa with butter, salt, and freshly ground peppercorns.

Butter, salt, and freshly ground black pepper is another combination that works great with a lot of different foods. It's also very simple to make.

If possible, try to go with grass-fed butter over regular butter as it likely has more health benefits. Also try to go with a black peppercorn grinder over pre-ground black pepper. It has much more flavor. You could also experiment with white peppercorns, which have a subtler flavor.

You could also try other salts besides plain, table salt. Salts like himalayan salt, celtic sea salt, red hawaiian salt, or black hawaiian salt provide slightly different tastes and additional nutrition due to trace minerals not found in regular table salt like phosphorus, bromine, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, copper and silicon.

Try all the different colors of quinoa.

The most common type of quinoa is white quinoa. But did you know there are variety of different colors of quinoa with slightly different tastes? Colors include:

Make sure not to cook quinoa too short or too long.

If you don't cook quinoa long enough it'll be too crunchy. This will also happen if you don't use enough water.

Alternatively, if you cook quinoa too long, it'll be mushy and soft. To find the right balance you could try tasting the quinoa while cooking. Just make sure to let the quinoa cool down a little after taking it out of the boiling or simmering water.

If you still don't like quinoa, add it to soup.

One final tip to make quinoa taste better is to add it to a strong tasting soup like tomato soup, french onion soup, or chicken noodle soup. It'll also give your soup a nice mix of slow-acting carbohydrates and fast-acting carbohydrates. Fast-acting carbohydrates (like fruits and pasta) are carbohydrates that are quick to digest and provide you energy faster than other carbs, fat, or protein. It's generally good to prefer slow-acting carbohydrates (like oats) except after a workout. Fast-acting carbohydrates help refuel glycogen fast, which helps you recover faster.

Trying to eat healthier but craving food that tastes better?

Try our free Diet Optimizer Quiz and get quick, customized ideas like:

  • Healthier options than soda that taste better than water.
  • Alternatives to french fries, potato chips, or other fried foods.
  • How to get your chocolate fix without the junk ingredients in candy bars.
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