If you’re already a fan of our Healthy Living recipes collection, you know quinoa is an all-around awesome ingredient not just for its taste, but for its nutritive value. If you’ve never tried it before, you can learn the basics of how to cook quinoa, below. Then you’ll be ready to use your know-how to make all kinds of awesome pilafs, salads, stir-fry recipes and more. Word to the wise: It’s also good with many dishes that are traditionally served with rice or pasta.
Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Quinoa
- Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a delicious whole grain that was prized by the Incas for its nutritive value. In fact, it’s the only grain that contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
- Prepare this versatile grain as a side dish, similar to rice or pasta. Or, try it in soups or cold salads, or as the base for a meatless main dish.
- Quinoa has a nutty flavor with a slightly crunchy texture. It is actually the seed of the quinoa plant and resembles a sesame seed in appearance. The seeds are covered with a bitter resin (called saponin) that should be rinsed off before cooking. Quinoa is generally available in the rice and pasta section of supermarkets or health food stores. It can usually be found pre-washed.
- To prepare quinoa, use 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Rinse the seeds under running water while rubbing them together (even if labeled pre-washed, this step is still recommended); drain.
- Stovetop preparation: Bring quinoa and water to boil in saucepan; cover. Cook on medium-low heat 10 to 15 min. or until all liquid is absorbed. The texture will remain slightly crunchy and the quinoa will be translucent.
- Microwave preparation: Combine water and quinoa in microwaveable bowl; cover loosely. Microwave on HIGH 8 min.; stir. Let stand 10 min. Microwave2 min; stir. Let stand 1 min. before serving.
- Quinoa can also be prepared in a rice cooker. Follow manufacturer’s directions using 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa.
- Substitute chicken or vegetable broth for water, if desired.
- Toasting adds a deeper flavor and crunchier texture to quinoa. After rinsing quinoa, drain well. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add drained quinoa. Cook until quinoa dries out and becomes golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Transfer to bowl. Cook as directed on package.
- Add chopped vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, peppers) with the quinoa and water for additional flavor and color.
- Try these tasty recipes using quinoa: