How to Cook Quinoa... the Right Way

by ModernMom Staff

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Quinoa is the trendy super grain that health nuts have known about for ages but that the rest of the world is just starting to get interested in.  

The bag it comes in will have instructions on how to cook it, but they might not give you the tastiest result. We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to cook up the best quinoa possible.

Some people are under the impression that quinoa is mushy and flavorless… I’ve even heard it be compared to plain oatmeal.  For the record, that is not how it should be.  Properly cooked quinoa should have a faintly nutty flavor and a firm texture.

Quinoa is a great replacement for rice or cous cous as a side dish because it packs a ton of protein and fiber and it's a powerhouse of nutrients like copper, folate, iron, lysine, magnesium, and zinc.  It is a little time intensive to prepare, though, so you might consider taking your Sunday afternoon to whip up a big batch that you can refrigerate and work with all week.

Step 1 -  Start by giving your grains a good rinse in cold water.  To get the best rinse, measure your quinoa into a measuring cup with plenty of extra room for water.  Fill with cold water and give it a swirl.  Drain through a fine mesh strainer (they have these at the Dollar Store if you don’t have one in your kitchen already).  Let it sit in the strainer for about 20 minutes or until it's dry.  Cooking quinoa's that's not completely dry will leave you with a mushy lump of grain - that's not what you want!

Step 2 - After your grain is completey dried, pour it in a pan and toast it for about 5 minutes.  This will not only draw out the excess water, but it will also warm the grain’s natural oils and produce a yummy, nutty flavor (and scent… that’s how you know when to stop toasting).

Step 3 - Remove the quinoa from the pan to cool a little and stop the toasting process.  You can use the same pot to boil water. For perfectly cooked quinoa, use 1 part grain to 1 ½ parts water.  For example, for two cups of quinoa, you’d boil three cups of water.  Another tasty option is to use vegetable or chicken broth in place of the water. 

Step 4 - When the liquid (water or broth) is boiling, add your grains to the pot.  Cover with a lid that has a vent for steam.  Reduce the boil to a simmer for 16 minutes, or until the majority of the water has cooked in.  Take it off the heat and remove the lid.  Let it rest for 10 minutes for the excess liquid to steam off or soak in.  Then fluff it up with a fork.  Easy!

What's your favorite quinoa recipe? Share it in the comment section below!

 

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