What If You Don’t Like The Taste Of Quinoa?

It has come to my attention that not everyone likes the taste of quinoa. This is surprising considering how mild the flavour is. Quinoa takes on the flavour of the other foods that you cook it with. I have had a number of readers ask about how to make quinoa taste better.
First of all I have to say that I love the taste of quinoa. I mean, what is not to like about it. Having said that I know we are all different and have different taste buds.
There are a number of reasons why you might find the taste unpalatable.
Rinsing Quinoa
The most obvious one is that you have not rinsed your quinoa enough to get rid of the slightly bitter coating. The coating consists of something called saponins. When quinoa is grown it naturally has this coating which you need to rinse off before cooking.
You can see the saponins as a frothy foam when you rinse the quinoa.
Some suppliers pre-rinse their quinoa before packing and this might not need to be rinsed. Having eaten quinoa for 4 years I don’t rinse my quinoa at all – but I know most people do.
Using Flavoured Stock To Change The Flavour.
Once you have your rinsed quinoa you can flavour it as you cook it. First of all you can neutralise the flavour by adding a clove of garlic to the water. Just put one in the water and remove at the end of cooking. this does a good job of making the quinoa taste of not very much at all. Better than this is the option of using a vegetable stock to boil up your quinoa. The quinoa will take on the stock flavour. This is good when using quinoa to accompany a savoury dish. You can also create a sweet stock. See recipe below.

Sweet Quinoa Stock Recipe

Zest and juice from 1 Lime
Zest and Juice From 1/2 Lemon
2 Tablespoons runny honey
10 caraway seeds
2 cups water
1 cup rinsed quinoa
Serving suggestion – fresh raspberries and diced melon

Blend the Lime, lemon, honey and caraway seeds together with a small amount of the water.
Add the remaining water and bring to the boil.
Add the quinoa and bring back to the boil.
Turn down the heat to simmer until all the stock is absorbed by the quinoa.
This should take about 12 minutes.
Serve the Sweet Quinoa with fresh raspberries and diced melon

More Quinoa Recipes HERE

Recommended Reading

About Ken

My name is Ken and I am the author of The Quinoa Cookbook. My book is the top selling book worldwide on how to cook quinoa and has over 70 quinoa recipes included.
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3 Responses to What If You Don’t Like The Taste Of Quinoa?

  1. Vivian says:

    We just tried quinoa for the first time and I didn’t like it from the first sniff and it tasted just like it smelled–an off-putting musty taste that really turned my stomach. I was expecting it to taste nutty, or grainy, not musty. It didn’t say to rinse it on the box. It wasn’t that redish color I’ve seen in pictures.

    I really want to get to liking quinoa, but if I can’t get rid of that nasty taste, then that won’t happen.

  2. Michael H says:

    Hi Ken, I have recently discovered quinoa and am starting to enjoy it as the basis for many different recipes. I read on Wikipedia that you can “activate the natural enzymes and increase its vitamin content” by germinating it. This involves submerging it in water for 2-4 hours. Do you still cook it in the usual way, afterwards? i.e. Drain it, then cook it 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water?? Just wondering. Thanks.

  3. robert says:

    enjoyed the comments but not a a whole lot of answers on how to improve the taste of quinoa for my finicky wife — i of course, am not so fastidious about what i eat and remain grateful for what the good lord has given me….any further comments on how to improve the taste of quinoa are most appreciated

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