How to Grow Quinoa Microgreens

I’ll bet you’re familiar with quinoa in seed form; but did you know that you can also get quinoa microgreens? This is the small plant that looks a little like cress but offers all the nutrition of the quinoa you already know.

cooked quinoa
Quinoa as we know it

Quinoa is one of the most popular alternatives for a gluten-free diet; especially because it is high in protein, fiber, various vitamins, and a collection of minerals.

In short, it’s considered a super food.

The great thing is that you can grow your own quinoa microgreens at home. You’ll need a tray, growing media; seeds and some water. In just a small amount of time, you’ll have all the quinoa microgreens you want; and you can grow them over and over again; throughout the year. By the time you’ve read this article, you’ll know how to grow quinoa microgreens and you’ll be eager to try it!

Before you get started it’s important to note that quinoa microgreens are not the same as quinoa sprouts. Technically the sprout is when the seed has first germinated and a thin stem starts to appear.

You can continue to grow the seed in water and produce beautiful sprouts. However, once you move it to a growing medium you can encourage the growth of its first leaves. As soon as these appear it is classed as microgreens.

Sprouts can be ready in a matter of days, microgreens usually take a week or two.

Top Tip: Microgreens are the most flavorsome and nutritious period of plant growth

Quinoa Microgreens Health Benefits

You probably already know the benefits of quinoa in your diet. In fact, quinoa microgreens offer much the same array of benefits; they just offer a higher dose of the nutrients.

  • Hair & Skin

Quinoa contains the 9 essential amino acids you need to survive but can’t produce yourself. This encourages longevity and provides the protein you need for healthy muscles and glowing skin. It also nourishes your hair follicles; strengthening and protecting your hair.

  • Can Help Weight Loss

As with many microgreens, quinoa microgreens are full of fiber, which will make you feel fuller for longer and can help as part of a weight control diet.

However, quinoa microgreens also contain 20-hydroxyecdysone; research suggests that this can help you to burn more calories, improving your weight loss ratio. (1)

  • Heart Health

Some of the fiber in quinoa is soluble, this mixes with the bile in your liver to create a jelly-like compound which is subsequently excreted from your body.

The process of converting this soluble fiber requires cholesterol, if there is not enough in your body then some will be released from your bloodstream; actually lowering your cholesterol levels.

  • Bone Health

The large quantity of magnesium in quinoa is said to help ensure your bones remain strong and your metabolism works efficiently. This can help to prevent osteoporosis while maintaining your energy levels as you age!

  • Disease Prevention

Quinoa microgreens are instrumental in helping you to reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, and even hypertension.  It can even boost your iron levels to help treat anemia.

There really does seem like nothing that quinoa microgreens can’t help with!

Growing Quinoa Microgreens

  • soak: Yes; for 8-12 hours
  • rinse/drain: Yes 1-2 times a day until germination occurs
  • Time to germinate: 2-3 days
  • Time to harvest: 10-14 days

Step by step guide to growing quinoa microgreens

Step 1 – Preparation

Your seeds need to be placed into a bowl of cold water and left for between 8-12 hours. This will speed up the germination time. You may wish to change the water once during this period to ensure bacteria d not build up in the water.

sprouting jar
Typical sprouting jar

Important Note: Quinoa microgreens contain a higher than average level of saponins. These compounds can cause an allergic reaction; this can range from feeling ill to swelling in your glands.

This is why it is essential to rinse them thoroughly, making sure the water runs clear before you put them in your sprouter.

Once this is done you can transfer the seeds to a sprouter.

You’ll need to soak them with water and allow it to drain, effectively rinsing them, twice a day. It’s not necessary to keep them out of the light at this stage as they have no leaves and the light cannot damage them.

Step 2 – Planting

After 2 or 3 days of this, you’ll notice the first signs of germination; it’s now time to plant your quinoa microgreens.

growing tray
A 10×10 growing tray with holes in the bottom

You’ll need a tray, a 10×20 is a good starting point. Put 1-2 inches of sterilized soil or coconut coir into the tray. You can add some earthworm castings to boost the nutrient content.

Then sprinkle your seeds across the top; don’t let them bunch together too much as this will increase the chances of mold.

You don’t need to cover these plants, they’ll enjoy some light but preferably not direct sunlight. They also need good ventilation to prevent mold growth.

Step 3 Maintaining

Monitor your plants daily and water them as they need it. The best way of doing this is to ensure there are drainage holes in your tray and then place a water tray underneath. You can add water to the undertray and the plants will absorb what they need.

The first leaves should be green and flat between 10-14 days, this shows they are ready to harvest.

Frequently Asked Questions about Quinoa

Ready to start, or have you still got a few questions that need answering? Here are the most frequently asked ones, if you still don’t know the answer, contact me, I can help!

When to harvest quinoa microgreens

Once the first leaves have turned green and flattened you can harvest your quinoa microgreens and enjoy. If you’re not sure exactly when it is possible to try a few each day until you’re happy with the flavor.

How to eat quinoa microgreens

They are great added to salads, in sandwiches, or even in your healthy smoothie. They can also be used as a garnish, or, you may prefer to eat them by themselves.

But, it is essential that you rinse the plants before eating them; this will ensure that there are no traces of saponins left.

How to harvest quinoa microgreens

Simply cut their stems as close to the growing medium as possible. Don’t cut too close as you don’t want the soil to get on the stems; this means you’ll need to wash them and they can be too delicate for the washing process.

How to store quinoa microgreens

When you’re ready to harvest your quinoa, stop watering them for 8-12 hours beforehand. If you’re watering from underneath this doesn’t apply.

The quinoa can be laced straight into a plastic bag or container and put into your refrigerator. However, if they are wet you’ll need to dry them first by placing them between two sheets of paper towel and gently dabbing them. Click here to read how to store microgreens.

Of course, quinoa microgreens taste best fresh.

What do quinoa microgreens taste like?

They have a mild flavor with a hint of nuttiness. This makes quinoa microgreens the perfect accompaniment to any dish; especially as they are so nutritious and healthy!

If you haven’t already lined your supplies up to get started growing quinoa microgreens, what are you waiting for?

12 thoughts on “How to Grow Quinoa Microgreens”

    • I’ve been trying to sprout red quinoa, it’s been a handful of days and no activity, I’ve been rinsing and draining daily. Any advice? Is red quinoa more difficult to sprout?

      • Yes, Quinoa can be one of the harder microgreens to grow. Did you get your seeds from a reputable company? Do you have a heat mat or is the area you are germinating in warm?

      • Quinoa seeds have a bitter saponin coating that tastes bad and discourages bird predation. Most quinoa sold in the US has this coating removed either by washing or dry-polishing. Pre-washed quinoa will generally not sprout. For microgreens, use dry-polished or unwashed seed.

  1. Question… for a 10 x 20 tray, how many grams of quinoa seeds do you need to soak to get adequate coverage for the microgreens?

    • I recommend to start with 3 grams per 10×20 tray because it’s a small seed. Adjust according to your own findings and germination rate.

  2. Hi Nik, Thank you for such info; will try today.. and also I want to know that is it safe to grow micro with tissue paper instead of growing medium?

    • Yes, it is possible to grow microgreens on tissue paper. However, it’s not easy. Because the tissue paper will dry out quickly. Therefore you could be watering several times a day. For bigger microgreens, it is not possible because their roots need somewhere to hold.

    • I don’t have experience growing that variety. However, if it can be grown similarly to quinoa, then it shouldn’t be a problem.


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