Quinoa is a seed with a slightly nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture. Sautéing quinoa prior to cooking brings out a toasty flavor and makes the quinoa fluffier and less likely to clump together.
White, red and black are the most common varieties of quinoa. Red quinoa has a nuttier flavor than white quinoa, and black quinoa is crunchier than the red and white varieties. Quinoa is coated with a natural substance called saponin, which causes it to taste bitter. Fortunately, saponin is easily removed by thoroughly rinsing quinoa under cold water prior to cooking. To cook, simmer 1 cup of quinoa in 1 1/2 cups of liquid in a covered pan for about 20 minutes.