Quinoa is a grain-like food crop grown for its edible seeds. A wonderful source of nutrition, quinoa can provide 12% – 18% of your daily protein needs. This makes it an ideal food for vegetarians and vegans.
Other vitamins and minerals found in quinoa include vitamin B, niacin, thiamin, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, copper, magnesium, vitamin E and folic acid. It also provides all essential amino acids. As you can see, it’s unrivaled as a healthy food source.
How to Cook Quinoa Step #1 – Remove Saponins
If you’re buying the grain and cooking from scratch, the first step in you’ll take when learning how to cook quinoa will be removing the bitter saponins. If you’ve purchased a box of instant quinoa, it will probably have the saponins removed already, saving you a little work.
If removal of saponins is required before you cook the quinoa, simply soak the grains in water for two hours. Then, change the water and soak again for another 1-2 hours.
How to Cook Quinoa Step #2 – Bring to a Boil
The next step you’ll take when learning how to cook quinoa is to boil your water. You might want to add ½ teaspoon of salt at this point. Make sure the water comes to a rolling boil before adding the grains. The amount of water need to cook quinoa depends on the amount of grain you’re using.
A general rule of thumb is to use two parts water to each one part of quinoa. For example, if you use one cup of grains you’ll need two cups of water.
How to Cook Quinoa Step #3 – Cover and Simmer
Once you have added the quinoa to the boiling water, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer the grains for 15 – 18 minutes. When you cook quinoa, it’s similar to cooking rice. Keep it covered to absorb the most liquid.
How to Cook Quinoa Step #3 – Let it Stand….or Not
After about 18 minutes, remove the quinoa from the heat and let it stand for about five minutes. You can taste a piece first to make sure it’s done to your liking. If it needs more simmer time, return it to the heat.
How to Cook Quinoa Step #4 – Fluff and Serve
When learning how to cook quinoa, you’ll know it’s properly cooked when it’s light and fluffy. You’ll just need to fluff it with your fork and serve! If this is a bit too bland for you, I’ve included some ideas to spice up your cooked quinoa.
How to Cook Quinoa for Breakfast
Quinoa can make a delicious high-protein breakfast if served with honey, fruit and/or nuts. Try adding a bit of cinnamon, maple syrup and dried apples. Or, try it with cranberries, almonds and honey. The possibilities are endless.
How to Cook Quinoa with More Flavor
Try substituting vegetable stock for water or adding herbs and/or spices to the water before cooking. This will add considerable flavor to your quinoa. Don’t forget the salt and pepper! Pepper works especially well with quinoa.
How to Cook Quinoa – Other Ideas
You can also add various veggies such as carrots, celery and onions to your quinoa to make a delicious, flavorful dish. Try fresh peas, cucumber, tomatoes, walnuts, lemon juice and oil to make a quinoa salad.
Now that you’ve learned how to cook quinoa, use your imagination and you can come up with all kinds of wonderful dishes with this highly nutritious and easily digested food.