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Learn how to cook quinoa

Updated on February 5, 2015
Spring green quinoa
Spring green quinoa

Many people are beginning to broaden their culinary horizons, adding to their diet foods they've never tried before. Quinoa is a gluten free grain that almost anyone can eat, but very few people know how to cook quinoa perfectly, or how to begin to prepare this wonderful grain.

Quinoa is a mild flavored grain, that can be used on its own or to complement other grains in a dish. There are three traditional methods of cooking this tiny grain; steaming, absorption and boiling.

One cup of dry quinoa typically makes up to three cups fully cooked. If the quinoa has not been pre-rinsed, be sure to soak it for two hours, and then rinse it vigorously. The raw grain has a waxy coating called saponin, which tastes like soap on the palette.

How to cook quinoa

How to cook quinoa:Two of the three methods

Boiling
-This may be the simplest way to cook quinoa, but much like oatmeal, it can be overcooked by this method as well.

-Pour two cups of liquid. The liquid can be water or broth (vegetable or chicken.)

-Add one cup of quinoa,once the liquid begins to boil.

-Allow the mixture to return to a boil and let it simmer for sixteen minutes.

-Be sure that the quinoa has absorbed the liquid

-Take the pan off the heat and allow it to rest for five minutes.

-Add seasonings to taste.

-Seasonings and vegetables may be added at the same time as the grain if desired.

*This cooking method is very similar to cooking oatmeal and/or Arborio rice and risotto

Steamed
-Quinoa should always be soaked to reduce the time it takes to steam cook it, preferably overnight.

-Pour a cup of the grain into a bowl along with double the amount of water or broth. If you choose to use broth, note that the finished quinoa will not be as flavorful as if it were boiled in the broth.

-Cover the bowl to keep it clean and then allow it to soak for four to six hours. It can remain in the soaking liquid overnight if necessary.

-Drain the liquid out and then rinse the grain until the water runs clear.

-Place the grain into a pan with one cup of water.

-Allow the water to boil away.

-Fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve in any dish as a replacement for rice.

* This cooking method is very similar to rice preparation and can be substituted as such

One popular dish is quinoa salad, which can be made easily with very simple ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups raw whole grain quinoa
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup lightly steamed broccoli florets
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • dash salt and pepper, to taste (sea salt tastes best)

By properly cooking the quinoa grain, you'll rid the grain of its soapy disposition and you'll have a dish to enjoy for years to come. Quinoa is so flexible, you'll be able to come up with several favorite recipes. For other great recipes, visit our crock pot accessories homepage and see how others are learning to live the slow-cookin' lifestyle...

Check below for quinoa products, such as red quinoa, quinoa flour, organic quinoa, quinoa flakes, quinoa pasta, etc.

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