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How To Cook Quinoa Properly

Updated on February 11, 2016

Quinoa ready to eat

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Quinoa is all the rage right now for those of us who prefer to eat and live healthy, however, until recently I knew nothing about this amazing little seed from South America. I would be remiss if I did not credit my stepdaughter for educating me on quinoa and encouraging me to give it a try. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the existence of a food which is a great source of protein, fiber and carbohydrates. Quinoa is the perfect replacement for carb heavy foods like pasta and rice, neither of which do not provide much protein and fiber. Finally, this tiny seed is also high in iron and magnesium, both of which most of us are lacking in our diets.

I am always eager to try new foods so it was not long before I was cooking my first meal with quinoa. I was concerned at first it would be difficult food to cook, but I could not have been more incorrect. The most important step to remember with quinoa is actually part of the preparation. Quinoa must be thoroughly rinsed in cold water prior to cooking in order to remove the bitter tasting outer coating. If this is not done then the quinoa will not taste very good! Once rinsed and drained the quinoa is ready to be cooked. I should mention, I have learned quinoa is much like pasta, it seems to "grow" as it cooks. Most package directions suggest 1 cup of quinoa, but I ended up with way to much for two people. So, I cut the amount in half and use 1/2 cup of quinoa and this is plenty for two people. I prefer to cook my quinoa in chicken stock, but if you are vegetarian you can use vegetable stock. Finally, I add a dash of garlic powder, because I love garlic and for another layer of flavor. Once the quinoa is translucent it is done, there is no need to cook further, as this will result in overcooked mushy quinoa.

Quinoa is a very versatile food and can stand alone or be paired with fish or vegetables. I serve it most with fish. It absorbs the flavor of the food it is served with, but also adds it is own flavor to the dish. Needless to say, I have become a lover of quinoa and I was thrilled to call my stepdaughter to thank her for telling me all about this awesome food!

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • garlic powder
  • Cold water
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

You will need the following tools for this recipe:

  • 4 Quart saucepan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Fine mesh strainer

Rinsing the quinoa
Rinsing the quinoa | Source

Instructions:

1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water using a fine mesh strainer. Continue rinsing the quinoa until the water becomes clear.

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2. Keep a large mixing bowl underneath the strainer to allow you to see when the water has become clear. This will also catch any quinoa which may slip through the strainer

Quinoa being allowed to drain after rinsing
Quinoa being allowed to drain after rinsing | Source

3. Allow the quinoa to drain for several minutes after you have finished rinsing it, in order to remove excess water. Once quinoa is rinsed, place into 4 quart sauce pan.

Quinoa at the beginning of the cooking process.
Quinoa at the beginning of the cooking process. | Source

4. Add 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth to the quinoa. If you prefer less calories then use 1 cup of water. However, if you use water you may want to add some salt or garlic powder at this point to give the quinoa some flavor.

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5. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover sauce pan with the lid

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6. Allow quinoa to simmer on low heat for at least 15 mins. Most of the liquid should be absorbed into the quinoa. If you notice this is not happening then remove the lid from the saucepan.

Quinoa ready to eat!
Quinoa ready to eat! | Source

7. The quinoa is ready when it appears translucent or clear. Do not overcook your quinoa! If you cook quinoa for to long it will have a mushy texture. Use a slotted spoon to place quinoa into serving dish or onto a plate. Quinoa absorbs lots of water and if it sits in liquid it will become mushy.

8. Ready to serve. Enjoy!!

5 stars from 1 rating of How to Cook Quinoa Properly

Have you tried quinoa?

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Do you know how to cook quinoa? Do you eat quinoa? Have you heard of quinoa? Thanks for reading my lens and please leave a comment.

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    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @nuxa76: You are welcome! I am glad the lens helped you nuxa76. Thank you for the comment and the squid like!

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      nuxa76 3 years ago

      thanks. very well explained :)

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @Sundaycoffee: You are welcome Sundaycoffee! I hope your quinoa salad tastes better from now on. Thanks for stopping by my lens and for the comment!

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      Sundaycoffee 3 years ago

      Now I know why my quinoa salad tasted bitter. :) Thank you for the tips.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @Dhookraj Singh: Oh, I am so glad you found my lens helpful! I hope you both enjoy quinoa from now on. Thank you for dropping by my lens and for the comment rainingz09!

    • Dhookraj Singh profile image

      Dhookraj Singh 3 years ago

      My wife recently heard of quinoa and I bought 2packets of it.We messed up in the cooking and stopped buying it. Thanks for your clear directions.We will try it again.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @esmonaco: Awesome!!! Thanks for the squid like and the comment esmonaco!!

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      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      I have never heard of it, but will now have to try it. Thanks :)

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @JuicersandRecipes: It is great isn't it?? Thanks for the comment JuicersandRecipes!

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @Andromachi: You are most welcome! I am super excited you found the lens informative! Thank you for the comment!!

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @Lynn Klobuchar: Me too LynnKK!! Glad you liked the lens and found the information helpful. Thank you for your comment!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Thanks, I needed this! Do you like it plain, or do you usually do something else with it? I bought some to try it, but hadn't figured out what to do with it!

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      I am enjoying using quinoa as a substitute for gluten filled grains. Thanks for the information!

    • Andromachi profile image

      Andromachi 3 years ago

      I know about quinoa but I didn't know how to cook it properly. SAo thank you very much for this lens.

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      JuicersandRecipes 3 years ago

      Love quinoa :P

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @RinchenChodron: Cool! I will have to checkout your quinoa recipes! Thanks for the comment and squid like!!!

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      RinchenChodron 3 years ago

      Yes, I also have some quinoa recipes on Squidoo.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @paulahite: Cooollll!! Whoo Hoo!! I am so honored! Thank you for posting my lens on Squidoo's Tumblr page and for commenting!!

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      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      Love Quinoa! Now showing on our NEW Tumblr page today as well!

      http://whats-cooking-at-squidoo.tumblr.com/

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @katiesnow: Wonderful!! I hope you enjoy it. Many thanks for the squid like and for commenting katiesnow!!

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      katiesnow 3 years ago

      I have never tried this but your recipe sounds interesting so it's on my list!

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @DreyaB: Thanks for commenting DreyaB! I am thrilled my lens provided you with helpful information. Quinoa really is good if cooked correctly.

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      DreyaB 3 years ago from France

      I was aware of quinoa but have never tried it. This has helped to take away some of the mystery for me! It's more simple than I'd realised. Great lens and thanks for sharing. :0)