Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has really gained traction among foodies in the last few years. Once upon a time, quinoa was only found in health and specialty stores. Now you can find it in most local grocery stores. Quinoa rose in popularity due to it’s high protein content and easy preparation. It is a complete protein source – meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. It is also high in iron, magnesium, and fiber.
When introducing quinoa into your diet, think of it as a substitute for rice. It’s a nutritional rockstar. Check out this awesome chart I found on Prevention.com – brown rice vs. quinoa.
You cook and eat quinoa like many other grains, but it’s actually a seed and naturally gluten-free. I like to make a big batch of quinoa on the weekends and eat on it throughout the week. I’ll add it to salads, use as a side dish to dinners, or even make a breakfast cereal out of it! It’s so versatile! When making a big batch like this I make it with water so I can use it for both savory and sweet dishes.
I have tried SO MANY different methods of cooking quinoa – soaking overnight, cooking 20 minutes, using a paper towel to soak up excess moisture, the list goes on. Here’s how I make my quinoa perfectly every time – not bitter, and NOT mushy.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water (or broth) – Be careful to not use more than 2 cups, if anything measure slightly under. Too much moisture = mush.
- Fine mesh strainer
- Large saucepan with lid
Measure quinoa and rinse. Measure out 1 cup quinoa. Place in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Rinse for at least 2 minutes under the running water. Drain.DO NOT SKIP ON THE RINSE: Quinoa is coated in a natural compound that can make your quinoa taste bitter if you fail to wash it off first. No one wants bitter quinoa – yuck!
Dry and toast quinoa in saucepan. Add drained quinoa to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, for about 1-2 minutes while letting the residual water evaporate.
Add liquid and bring to a boil. Stir in the liquid and bring to a rolling boil.
Lower heat and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Let stand covered for 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, covered.
Fluff and eat! After 5 minutes, remove the lid, fluff the quinoa gently with a fork and serve.
- One cup of dried quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked.
- Quinoa is exceptionally delicious when cooked in vegetable or chicken broth. Also, add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to each cup of dried quinoa when cooking. Try adding other spices and aromatics during cooking as well: A clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a dash of black pepper.
My favorite ways to eat quinoa:
- Southwest Quinoa
- Add it to a stir-fry!
- Top it with your favorite marinara, veggies, and a protein.
- Eat it as cereal!
It’s so versatile, get creative with it!