It seems cooking Quinoa can be problematic, and that led to what seems to be ever increasingly complicated methods to get Quinoa light and fluffy. Trust me, Quinoa doesn’t have to be so hard…
Start with a good rinse. Although many brands of Quinoa are rinsed before they are packaged, it never hurts to rinse again, and if it isn’t rinsed the Quinoa will have a bitter taste left from its natural coating. It can be tossed in a large bowl or pan of clean water and swished around, then strained or placed in a strainer under strongly running water while swishing it around and agitating. It’s been my experience that this process doesn’t have to include multiple changes of water or a long time, especially if your container is large. Just a minute or two is all it needs.
Add Water, Bring to a Boil
Place Quinoa in a saucepan with twice as much water and a bit of salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. While some like to saute their quinoa in a bit of oil first or toast in a dry pan, I haven’t found that this step is necessary for fluffiness, but will add a bit of a “nutty” taste.
Turn Down and Simmer
Simmer Quinoa for about 15 minutes, covered, to desired doneness, at a very low setting. Much like rice. Quinoa can be cooked to desired doneness, much like pasta. Al Dente is generally when the little rings turn a slight color. I prefer mine done just a bit more, when the quinoa forms little tails.
Cover with a towel and Lid
Here’s the secret to a fluffy quinoa – Remove pan from heat, place an absorbent and clean kitchen towel over the top of the pan and cover with the lid. Let rest for about five minutes, then fluff with a fork. Excess moisture in the Quinoa will be absorbed by the towel.
Options for Flavor
Consider cooking Quinoa in broth to add a little extra flavor. Much like rice, it can be flavored with herbs and spices, vegetables, etc.
Why is Quinoa considered to be so great?
Touted as a superfood, read more about Quinoa and the special nutrients it brings to the table, check out the posting by The World’s Healthiest Foods. When reading about Quinoa, you may see it listed as a “complete” protein, and Quinoa has about 8 grams of protein per 3/4 cup serving. It also as about 32 grams of carbohydrates.
A complete protein, in simplistic terms, simply means that of the 20 amino acids needed for your body to utilize protein, humans produce some and the rest is supplied by the food you eat. Since there are nine we don’t produce, essential amino acids, when a food contains all nine, it is a “complete” protein.
Some of my favorite ways to use Quinoa is in Salads and Salad Bowls:
- Wilted Kale Salad with Acorn Squash and a Warm Cranberry Viniagrette
- Southwestern Quinoa Salad
- Spinach Quinoa Salad with Candied Pecans