Cooking Brown Rice, Millet and Quinoa

by | Handouts

For all of these, the method is described as “cook like rice.” This means:

  • use twice the amount of water as dry grain (2 cups water to 1 cup dry grain)
  • use about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. salt per cup of dry grain
  • put water, grain and salt into a pan and bring it to a rolling boil
  • turn the heat down to low or medium-low and put the lid on the pan
  • in a minute, be sure the water is simmering, not boiling or motionless
  • cook for the recommended time or until liquid has evaporated
  • let it sit uncovered for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork, and serve or store

Grains are high in carbohydrate and low in protein. They contain only traces of fat. To slow down the uptake of the carbohydrate and keep blood sugar more stable, add fats and fibers. Nuts or vegetables are some of the best foods to combine or serve with grains for fiber. Butter, coconut oil or olive oil are delicious fats to add. I suggest you add the fat and a little more salt just before serving.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a grain wherein the starch breaks down to sugar rather quickly. Its glycemic index (how fast the starch turns to sugar and hits your bloodstream) is close to that of white rice, but it has more nutrients and some good fiber. It has a sweet flavor and goes well with almost any other food. Use short- or medium-grain brown rice. Cook for 50-60 minutes.


Millet is a hearty seed grain with a nutty flavor that goes well with nuts, meats and vegetables. Many online recipes and even cookbooks call for cooking millet 40-50 minutes. This turns the grain to mush. The correct cooking time leaves the grain cooked but firm and chewy, just like properly cooked brown rice. Its faster cooking time and lower glycemic index are big advantages over rice. Cook for 20-25 minutes.


(Pronounced KEEN-wah) Quinoa is a soft, light seed grain, so it’s noticeably less filling than rice or millet. It has a unique flavor that grows on you but may taste a little bitter at first. It goes especially well with nuts and well-browned meats. Cook 15 minutes.

For a firmer, chewier texture, use only 1-1/2 cups water to 1 cup of dry grain and cook 12 minutes.