Cooking Tri Color Quinoa

Tri-color quinoa is a blend of colors and an explosion of flavor plus this tri-color quinoa recipe complements many other dishes perfectly.

Tri-color quinoa has a unique texture and flavor profile that makes any dish beautiful and enticing. 

Tri-color quinoa is commonly known as a super grain due to its complete protein content of 9 essential amino acids plus iron, and fiber! 

Tri-color quinoa is nutrient-dense, yields a large volume for meal planning, and is ideal for vegetarians and vegans plus it only takes 20 minutes to cook this tri-color quinoa recipe.

For more on “Mother grain” quinoa in general, read A Breakdown of the Superfood Quinoa.

What is Tri-Color Quinoa?

Tri-color quinoa is a combination of the 3 different kinds of quinoa – red, white, and black.

The subtle flavors of 3 types of quinoa lend an amazing nutty and earthy scrumptiousness to any dish it’s added to or on its own.

You can eat tri-color quinoa hot or cold. Personally, I can’t get enough of it cold added to my salads.

So what are the differences between the 3 colors of quinoa?

White quinoa has a mild taste and fluffy texture while red quinoa has a chewy texture with a nuttier flavor.

Black quinoa, on the other hand, has an earthy flavor that’s more robust than red and white quinoa.

Whichever one you eat depends on your preference but I love the tri-color quinoa because of the unique flavor it gives to dishes.

How to Cook Tri Color Quinoa

Tri-Color Quinoa Nutrition

Tri-color quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The human body cannot produce amino acids therefore it must come from food sources.

Tri-color quinoa also contains loads of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. This delicious ingredient is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods available.

Additionally, tri-color quinoa has a low glycemic index and can help lower cholesterol levels in the body.

How to Cook Tri-Color Quinoa

You can cook tri-color quinoa on the stovetop, in the microwave, rice cooker, or even an Instant Pot. I cook mine on the stovetop.

For this tri-color quinoa recipe, you need 1.5 cups of toasted quinoa and 2 cups of water or chicken broth.

Toasting the quinoa elevates the taste of the quinoa but this step is optional.

Step 1 – Rinse Tri-Color Quinoa

Rinse the quinoa to remove the bitter saponin coating. If you want to toast, follow the instructions in Toasted Quinoa for Salads.

If you’re not toasting the tri-color quinoa, then move on to step 2.

Step 2 – Cook Tri-Color Quinoa

Pour the quinoa into a saucepan and cover with water or chicken broth. Turn heat to medium and cover the saucepan but leave a little gap like in the image below or leave uncovered completely.

How to Cook Tri Color Quinoa - Step 1

Uncovering prevents the quinoa from becoming clumpy or soggy. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes for the quinoa to cook.

Check after that time and if the water or broth has evaporated, remove the saucepan from the stovetop.

Cover the saucepan completely and set aside for 15 minutes. The quinoa will continue to cook at this time so don’t add any extra water or cook longer if you feel it’s still too firm.

Step 3 – Fluff Quinoa

After 15 minutes, it should be completely done. Fluff the tri-color quinoa with a fork and it’s ready to eat as is or add to other dishes. I have made some suggestions below.

How to Cook Tri Color Quinoa - Step 2

This recipe yields about 3.5 cups of perfectly fluffy quinoa. I use it over 5 – 6 days for my daily salads.

How To Use Tri-Color Quinoa

You can use cooked tri-color quinoa in so many ways. You can also use it toasted and uncooked in some of the dishes below.

  • I use tri-color quinoa in my daily salads. I either add 3 tablespoons of tri-color quinoa to the salad or have quinoa as the star of the salad with julienned carrots and a tangy chili-lime dressing.
  • You can add tri-color quinoa to soups. Very filling and adds a nice chewy texture to the soup.
  • Tri-color quinoa can be used as stuffing or for added texture in breading. Try using quinoa as a coating instead of breadcrumbs.
  • Replace bulgur wheat in tabbouleh with tri-color quinoa. You may never go back to the classic after that.
  • Do you enjoy buddha bowls? Try tri-color quinoa in them.
  • Add tri-color to an omelet or other egg dishes for an extra boost of protein.
  • You can use tri-color quinoa in a vegetarian burger.
  • You can use tri-color quinoa in addition to or in place of meat in stuffed red peppers.
  • Add tri-color quinoa to baked items like bread, muffins, cookies, etc.

Just think of dishes you use rice in and you can mostly replace it with tri-color quinoa. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Is Tri-Color Quinoa Gluten-Free?

As with all other types of quinoa, tri-color quinoa is vegan-friendly and naturally gluten-free.

Is Tri-Color Quinoa Better?

Red, black and white quinoa all have similar nutritional profiles with slightly different tastes.

Whichever one you choose depends on your taste buds’ preference. When you get tri-color quinoa, you get the best of all three types of quinoa with a unique nutrition profile.

The only thing I’ve noticed is that tri-color quinoa has a chewier al dente texture which works fabulously in salads and other cold dishes.

Can You Freeze Tri-Color Quinoa?

Cooked tri-color quinoa will keep very well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days.

You can freeze in an airtight container as well for up to 3 months. Let it cool down before you put it in the fridge or freeze.

Here’s mine poured into the container ready to go in the fridge for the week.

Quinoa Meal Prep

How to Reheat Tri-Color Quinoa

When you’re ready to reheat tri-color quinoa, remove it from the freezer and thaw completely then pour it into a microwave-safe bowl.

Break up the quinoa and place the bowl in the microwave. Reheat on medium for 30 – 50 seconds.

Check after 30 seconds and maybe stir then heat for another 20 – 30 seconds.

To reheat on the stovetop, pour the quinoa into a saucepan and break up with a spatula.

Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of water or chicken stock, cover the saucepan and reheat on medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes but keep an eye on it.

The microwave method produces the best results when reheating quinoa but you can use the stovetop if you don’t have access to a microwave.

Where to Buy Tri-Color Quinoa?

You can find tri-color quinoa in your local grocery store or online HERE.  You can also order it on Wholefoods Market through Amazon Fresh

Some great organic tri-color quinoa brands include:-

NorQuin Tri-Color Organic Quinoa

NorQuin Tri-Color Quinoa

This is my favorite brand and the one I use most of the time. NorQuin Tri-Color Organic Quinoa is grown in the Canadian Prairies and has a deep earthy flavor.

This tri-color quinoa has a higher amylopectin starch profile which delivers an even more satisfying texture.

NorQuin Tri-Color Organic Quinoa is gluten-free certified, kosher certified, and non-GMO project verified. BUY HERE.

Lundberg Family Farms Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

Lundberg Family Farms Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

Lundberg Family Farms Organic Tri-Color Quinoa is grown in Humboldt County, California.

This tri-color quinoa brand is certified USDA Organic, certified organic by CCOF, non-GMO project verified, certified gluten-free, vegan and kosher. BUY HERE.

Wellsley Farms Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

Wellsley Farms Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

Wellsley Farms Organic Tri-Color Quinoa is manufactured in Peru and distributed by BJ’s wholesale club.

The tri-color quinoa is certified organic by MOSA and available in a 2.5 pound resealable bag. BUY HERE.

Elan Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

How to Cook Tri Color Quinoa

Elan Organic Tri-Color Quinoa is grown in Canada. It’s certified organic, gluten-free, and kosher.

Their tri-color quinoa is packed in BPA-free resealable bags, which are also recyclable. BUY HERE.

Equipment Used for this Recipe

Quinoa is one of the best foods you can add to a healthy diet so go ahead and toast up a cup of tri-color quinoa today.

I will be sharing my various quinoa salad recipes in the next few weeks so be sure to sign up HERE if you want to be notified whenever a new article is uploaded.

Subscribers also get access to some awesome fitness freebies.

How to Cook Tri Color Quinoa - Step 2

How to Cook Tri-Color Quinoa

Yield: 3.5 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Tri-color quinoa is nutrient-dense, yields a large volume for meal planning and is ideal for vegetarians and vegans plus it only takes 20 minutes to cook this delicious tri-color quinoa recipe.


  1. Measure the quinoa into a bowl and soak in lukewarm water for 15 minutes then swish the quinoa around vigorously with a whisk until foam rises to the surface. 
  2. Strain and rinse the quinoa then toast according to the instructions in Toasted Quinoa for Salads.
  3. After toasting, pour the quinoa into a saucepan and add the water or stock plus salt if using.
  4. Cover partially and cook for 15 minutes or until water or stock has evaporated from the quinoa.
  5. Remove tri-color quinoa from the stove, cover completely, and set aside for 15 minutes then fluff with a fork for perfectly cooked quinoa.

How to Cook Tri Color Quinoa - Step 2


  • You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Toasting the quinoa before cooking is optional but it adds great texture to it.
  • Other seasonings you can add to this tri-color quinoa recipe include cumin, paprika, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, parsley, or ginger. Experiment with a 1/4 teaspoon seasoning at a time.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 7 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

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