How to Cook Quinoa in Coconut Milk

Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is a grain-like seed native to South America. Along with corn, quinoa was a food staple for the Incan civilization and has been continuously cultivated for more than 5,000 years. Because quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, it is a complete protein high in potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. It is also gluten-free, easy to digest and an excellent source of dietary fiber. Although small packages of prepared quinoa are readily available, you can generally find a less costly, organic variety in the bulk bins of your grocery or health food store.

A bowl of quinoa on a table.
Credit: nata_vkusidey/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Place 1 cup of quinoa into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold, running water until the water runs clear. Drain well.

Step 2

Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk in a small saucepan. Bring to just below a boil, stir once and reduce the heat to low.

Step 3

Cover the saucepan with a lid, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Step 4

Remove the quinoa from the heat, and fluff with a fork.

Step 5

Top with chopped nuts, dried fruits or flaked coconut if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Quinoa

  • Unsweetened coconut milk

  • Measuring cup

  • Sauce pan with lid

  • Fine mesh strainer

  • Fork

  • Dried nuts, fruits or flaked coconut


If you are using canned coconut milk, you can dilute the contents of one can with enough water to make 2 cups of liquid.

Store quinoa in an airtight container in your refrigerator for long-term storage.

To boost its nutritional value, cover quinoa seeds with clean water and germinate them in a covered container for three or four hours. Add to salads or sandwiches for a nutritional bonus.

For a roasted flavor in your finished dish, toast quinoa in a dry skillet for five minutes before cooking.

Substitute quinoa for any recipe that calls for rice for a change in pace and an added boost in nutrients.

You can use your rice cooker to prepare quinoa. Combine 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water and cook until fluffy – approximately 15 minutes.

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