How to make puffed quinoa in minutes in a hot dry pan. This high-protein alternative to puffed rice is also called popped quinoa, and the crunchy treat can be sprinkled on salads, yogurt, ice cream and used in no bake snacks and granola.
Puffed quinoa pops puff up into small nutty kernels that crunch between your teeth, and are a blank canvas for flavorful seasonings and spices much like flavored popcorn. They are also a great way to increase the protein in your favorite recipes. I use it in salads such as my chickpea salad or in snacks such as my chocolate quinoa scotcheroos, or my homemade protein bars.
Why You'll Love This
Easy to puff quinoa. No rinsing of quinoa is needed, and popping the kernels is faster than making popcorn. You don't even dirty the pan, no grease or water involved.
A single ingredient. Puffed quinoa is made from only one ingredient, quinoa. Popping it doesn't even count as cooking it, so you are still eating it raw which means you get the full benefit of quinoa's nutritional make up. The result is a protein-rich snack that is airy and nutty, and can be stored for weeks.
Nutritional benefits. Quinoa is part of the amaranth family, and is available year round, typically sold dry in the area where rice is sold. It's known for being high in protein, as well as higher in micronutrients than other grains. Quinoa is considered a superfood because it is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce. One cup of quinoa provides about 8 grams of protein.
1.Quinoa. All you need to make puffed quinoa is raw quinoa found on the shelf in the whole grain aisle, usually where rice is found. Quinoa comes in several colors such as red, white, tan or tricolor. Any color will pop nicely. You can also buy commercially popped quinoa online here.
1.Saute pan. Popping quinoa is a process that needs as shallow pan to provide the correct air flow to encourage the quinoa kernels to pop. A Dutch oven or other deep pan won't work well, the popping will go slowly and the kernels might burn before they pop.
How to Puff Quinoa
Here are general steps to explain how to make puffed quinoa. For more detail, visit the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1. Add pan to stove. Put a dry sauté pan on the stove and turn on the heat to medium high. Do not oil the pan.
Step 2. Test the pan. When the pan seems hot, toss in a few kernels of dry quinoa onto the pan. If the temperature is correct to puff quinoa, the kernels will jump, snap and pop immediately.
Step 3. Add the quinoa. Add the rest of the dry quinoa to the pan and shake it around so it is only a single layer, about 1 kernel deep. Keep shaking the pan as it pops, and after a minute or less the popping will slow and the smell will be nutty. It's time to stop.
Step 3. Cool quinoa. Remove the pan from the stove, and allow the quinoa to cool enough to be able to be transferred to a storage container.
Store puffed quinoa in a sealed container for a week or longer. It can be frozen but might need to be re-sautéed to return the crunchy texture.
Do not rinse the quinoa. Although freshly grown quinoa has a gut-irritating substance called saponins nature provided to help it avoid insects. It used to be that quinoa needed to be rinsed before eating, but now the commercial packaging process removes it so rinsing is not necessary, making the popping process even faster.
Do not coat the pan in oil. Any oil or water in the pan will prevent the quinoa from popping.
Use a shallow sauté pan as the air flow in a deeper pan or a dutch oven will prevent popping.
How do you puff quinoa without burning it?
To be sure you don't burn your quinoa while it pops in the pan, add only enough quinoa to your pan to create a single layer, and keep the pan moving, shaking it back and forth while it pops. Remove it from heat as soon as the sound of popping goes away which is typically within under a minute.
How To Use
- Add spices to puffed quinoa. Add seasonings and salts to flavor puffed quinoa as you would flavor popcorn, then eat it with a spoon in front of a movie.
- Add to no baked recipes. Puffed quinoa works well being added to my cookie dough bites, energy bites, my protein bar, my chocolate quinoa scotcheroos recipe, and to my chocolate rice cakes recipe.
- Add as a topping to cakes and cupcakes.
- Use on yogurt and ice cream.
Here are a few ways to flavor quinoa with spices and seasonings.
Gingerbread Popped Quinoa: Toss with 1 teaspoon of butter, cinnamon, coconut sugar and all spice.
Italian Herb Popped Quinoa: Toss with 1 teaspoon of butter, italian seasoning, chopped fresh oregano, and a pinch of nutritional yeast.
Chili Pepper Popped Quinoa: Toss with 1 teaspoon of butter, chili powder, cumin, a pinch of cayenne.
How to puff quinoa in pan?
Heat a dry saute pan on the stove. Add a few kernels to test. If hot enough, those kernels will pop and snap. Add the rest of the quinoa, about 1 cup, or so a single layer of quinoa covers the pan and keep shaking for about a minute until it is all popped.
Let it cool and store in a cool dry place.
What is puffed quinoa?
Puffed quinoa is whole grain raw quinoa heated so it pops like popcorn.
How do you eat puffed quinoa?
Use it in place of puffed rice in any recipe that calls for it. This is usually cereals, granolas, energy bites, protein snacks, and even in salads.
What does puffed quinoa taste like?
Puffed quinoa has a bland, nutty flavor, and a light airy texture like puffed rice.
Can you buy puffed quinoa?
Yes, there are a few online vendors, however commercially puffed quinoa is much larger than homemade puffed quinoa as the factory process of expanding the kernel is different and uses heavy machinery. The size of a commercially puffed quinoa is more like a round rice krispie.
Other Quinoa Recipes
- Chocolate Quinoa Scotcheroos
- Quinoa Paella
- Chocolate Quinoa Bark (in my first dessert book)
- Homemade Protein Bar (with quinoa)
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How to Make Puffed Quinoa
- sauté pan
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked, dry, any color
- Put a dry sauté pan on the stove and turn on the heat to medium high. Do not oil the pan.
- Toss in a few kernels of dry quinoa and if the pan is hot enough, the kernels will begin snapping and popping almost immediately. Add the rest of the dry quinoa to the pan and shake it around so it is only 1 kernel of quinoa deep.1 cup quinoa
- Keep shaking the pan as it pops, and after just under a minute the popping will slow and the smell will be nutty.* It's time to stop.
- Remove the pan from the stove, and allow the quinoa to cool enough to be able to be transferred to a storage container.
- Store puffed quinoa in a sealed container for a week or longer. It can be frozen but might need to be re-sautéed to return the crunchy texture.