Black Beans and Quinoa {recipe} – White vs. Red vs. Black Quinoa

Black Beans, Black Quinoa

We are eating 30 Days of Quinoa this month. This is no. 18. See the rest of the quinoa dishes >> here <<

Up until now, we’ve been cooking and eating white quinoa, which seems to be the most common. However, quinoa also comes in red and black.

We’re can’t seem to figure out if there are significant nutritional differences among the different colored quinoa (though based on quick research, it seems red and black are slightly higher in protein and thus calories). However, we do know that there are taste and texture variations that makes one better than the other for certain types of dishes…

Black quinoa seems to be the hardest to find, and both it and the red quinoa are slightly more expensive than the regular white quinoa. Dishes that are usually made with rice work well with the white quinoa because the texture is softer than that of the black or red. The black and red variations seem to be “crunchier,” with a texture more like its family, a seed, and retain their “individual” integrity rather than clumping together. Of course, if you cook the quinoa long enough, no matter what color, it will get mushy.

Making cakes or forming balls or other shapes with red or black quinoa doesn’t work as well because the seeds don’t stick together as well. The black and red quinoa for us, so far, has been best in salads when the quinoa is tossed with other ingredients against which it may have to stand up. Of course, this dish is not a salad, and as a variation of beans and rice, would have seemed more logical to do with white quinoa, but black on black is so striking that we did it this way.
Black Beans, Black Quinoa
There is nothing special about this dish that requires a recipe. Simply cook black quinoa with a pinch of salt in chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian). Top with cooked black beans and garnish with lime juice, chopped jalapeno, scallions, and cilantro.

by Sarah J. Gim on May 21, 2012 · 4 comments

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Thyme (Sarah) May 21, 2012 at 5:03 am

We love quinoa but honestly I didn’t know the difference between the three. Thanks for separating the three and providing a lovely dish.


Zoe May 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Mmmm, would be great to use epazote in the broth and crumbled dried oregano on top.


ne-la April 30, 2013 at 8:24 am

I love quinoa (quinua) I make quinoa-roni with “orso pasta” try it is so good.


yogipete August 11, 2013 at 12:58 am

Hey thanks for this clarification. I’ve been looking for the difference on a few sites and you explained it really well. My partner and I had been disagreeing over whether the black quinoa was meant to be a little crunchier or whether we had been cooking it incorrectly. You cleared this up and more. Thank you.


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