Preparing Basic Quinoa 101
Love, love, love me some quinoa! It’s the top go-to “grain” in the Yogitrition diet plan. Although technically a seed and not a grain, this “pseudo grain” is mild and slightly nutty, with a pillowy texture. Quinoa is extremely versatile and easy to prepare. It requires little soak time and cooks within 15-20 minutes.
Gluten-free, and easy to digest, quinoa has all the goods (and more) that grains and seeds are supposed to have, including a ton of fiber, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, B vitamins (especially B6), calcium, and protein. In fact, quinoa provides a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids, yielding the highest protein level (up to 20%) of all the cereal grains — pseudo or otherwise. For vegans/vegetarians, the next time you encounter an inquisition as to “where you get your protein,” please feel free to mention quinoa!
There are several varieties of quinoa: red and white are the common types you find in health food stores. Use the organic varieties only please.
1. Measuring, soaking and rinsing your Quinoa. One cup of dried quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked. Measure out quinoa, place in a ceramic or glass bowl (never use plastic) and soak with purified water for 3-4 hours. After soaking, use a fine-mesh strainer to rinse quinoa thoroughly. Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy.
2. Place quinoa in a small saucepan with liquid. Quinoa may be cooked with purified water or vegetable broth. I actually prefer to use vegetable broth, because it gives the quinoa a heartier texture. I use a 1½ to 1 ratio – 1½ cups liquid to 1 cup quinoa.
3. Bring to a boil, turn to low and simmer. Simmer under a low boil for about 15-20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. You will know the quinoa is done when you see tiny white spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds (see image at below). To make quinoa a little more fluffy, add little more liquid, cover with a lid and allow to cook on very low for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
5. Serving your quinoa. Cooked quinoa is perfect for pilafs, stir-fry, cold salads, breakfast porridge, and more.
Cooking quinoa has never been so simple! If you have any nifty ways to prepare quinoa other than what you see here, or any fabulous recipes, by all means please do share in the comments sections below. If you’d like to spread the word about nutritious quinoa and how easy it is to prepare, please post to FB or tweet about it!