What is Quinoa?
Pronounced “keen-wah,” quinoa is a nutritious, nutty-tasting seed native to the South American Andes. Quinoa has been enjoyed for thousands of years but is becoming increasingly popular here in the United States.
Quinoa is very nutritious. . It is rich in protein and surprisingly provides all the essential amino acids that we cannot make on our own. This is why quinoa has exploded among vegetarians and vegans. It may be a small seed, but it packs a nutritious punch. A 1/2 cup of raw has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
There are several types of quinoa. Here we show white (or golden) quinoa with a beige tint, but you can find quinoa in a variety of colors. Look for orange, black, red, and even purple varieties. They are all delicious and interchangeable with your favorite quinoa recipes.
Another note: Since quinoa is a wheat-free seed, it is gluten-free. That said, if you’re sensitive to gluten, it’s best to check the packaging before buying quinoa, as there may be gluten contamination during processing.
This delicious and satisfying quinoa salad recipe is packed with superfoods. It’s vegan, easy to make, and tastes great.
Read Also: What Does Tofu Taste Like & Recipes
How to prepare quinoa for baking
Quinoa is easy to prepare. Cooks in much the same way as rice, but takes a little more time. There are also different cooking methods including stove, microwave, pressure cooker, or rice cooker. We will cover all methods below.
Before that, let’s talk about how to prepare quinoa for baking. it’s okay; It’s easy!
It is best to rinse the quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponins, which can make cooked quinoa a bitter or soapy taste. Rinse well before cooking to reduce saponins and give it a delicious nutty flavor. Some packages are marked with the word “prerinse”. We rinsed anyway because we are quite sensitive to saponins.
Instead of rinsing, place the raw quinoa in a bowl of cold water and stir several times. Drain the water and repeat.
You can also take advantage of our How to Cook Dried Chickpeas tutorial.
Rinse and be ready to cook the quinoa, it’s time to cook.
Most cooking methods require two parts of liquid for one part of quinoa. This means that to cook 1 cup of quinoa, you need 2 cups of liquid. The liquid may be water, but try the broth/broth for more flavor. Although not required, you can also add a pinch of salt to the liquid as a seasoning. We love to use vegetable broth to cook quinoa.
For extra flavor, roast the quinoa in a dry skillet for a minute or two before cooking. This enhances the flavor of the nuts. You can also add fat like butter or olive oil to the pan, and it’s always a good idea to add fresh herbs to the pan. I especially like to add a little butter and bay leaves.
When deciding how much to cook, keep the following in mind: One cup of quinoa produces about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
Cooking on the stove
Cooking quinoa in a pan, In a medium-sized pot, place the rinsed quinoa and liquid (water or broth). Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat until the liquid boils.
Most packages recommend covering the pan at this point, but I’ve found quinoa to be delicious if left uncovered. You can also make it a little chewier.
Cook the quinoa over low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. It takes 10-15 minutes. Once the liquid is absorbed, remove the pan from heat and cover with lid for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a fork to puff up the cooked quinoa and use it in your favorite dishes.
Cooking Quinoa in the Microwave
The microwave takes the same time as the cooktop, but I love that you can microwave quinoa! It would have been useful in college dormitories.
To do this, mix 1 cup of rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water (or broth) in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a microwave-safe dish and microwave until about half of the liquid is absorbed. It takes about 6 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave, stir in the quinoa, cover again and leave for another 5-10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir with a fork and enjoy!
Cooking quinoa in a pressure cooker (instant pot)
As with microwaves, cooking quinoa in a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot isn’t much faster than cooking it on the stove. That said, using both of these alternatives is so convenient that you can do other things in your kitchen.
To do this, grease or wipe the bottom and sides of the pressure cooker (to prevent sticking). Then add 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and 1 cup of liquid such as water or broth. Close the lid after stirring well so that the quinoa does not stick to the bottom. Set the pressure cooker to HIGH to cook for 1 minute, then let it rest naturally for 12 minutes.
** The pressure cooker method uses less water than other methods. Because pressure cookers evaporate less, you only need one cup of water for one cup of quinoa. If you follow this method and the quinoa seems too hard, consider increasing the liquid from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.
Cooking quinoa in a rice cooker
When using a rice cooker, you can use quinoa as rice.
To do this, lightly grease or wipe the bottom and sides of the rice cooker (to prevent sticking). Then add 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of liquid such as water or broth. Close the lid after stirring well so that the quinoa does not stick to the bottom. Press the white rice cook button if possible, otherwise, press start.
How long will it last?
Cooked quinoa can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days if stored in an airtight container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
What to do with quinoa?
Quinoa can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a variety of purposes! When cooked, it has a mild nutty flavor. Here are my favorite ways to use quinoa:
Place quinoa in a fine mesh and rinse in cold water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Alternatively, place the quinoa in a bowl and cover it with cold water. Move the quinoa around the bowl, drain the water, and repeat once more to rinse the quinoa.
Shake off excess liquid quinoa. Place the rinsed quinoa and water (or broth) in a medium-sized pot and heat over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook without a lid, for 10-15 minutes, until quinoa has absorbed the liquid. If you’re making large amounts of quinoa, it can take almost 20 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and cover for 5 minutes. This extra time allows the quinoa to steam and “swell”. Spread the quinoa with a fork and then flap it.