Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has seen a rapid increase in popularity over recent years as people discover that this versatile ingredient not only has a lovely delicate and nutty taste, but is a powerful superfood too. A complete protein, it is high in fiber and an excellent source of iron and magnesium. Quite simply, it is one of the healthiest pantry staples available and one of my favourite grains (although, technically it is a seed).
Much like rice or couscous, quinoa soaks up the liquid it is cooked in, be it stock or water. If you are looking to add flavour straight into the grain, stock is your best choice. There are 3 main varities of quinoa - white (or golden), red and black. Each have slightly different flavour, but are cooked the same way.
Make a large batch of quinoa on the weekend and add it to any summer salad you like. Or, serve it as a simple side with grilled chicken, fish or braised meats. It is also a great addition to casseroles and curries.
To cook perfect quinoa:
Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cold water for several minutes.
In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of stock or water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low and cover.
Simmer quinoa for 12-15 minutes, or until liquid has been soaked in completely. Remove pot from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve.
- Quinoa should be rinsed prior to cooking. Place in a fine mesh sieve and run under cool water for several minutes. This removes the outer coating which can cause bitterness.
- Once cooked, let quinoa stand covered for 5 minutes.
- Fluff quinoa gently with a fork to keep grains intact and quinoa light and fluffy. Don't mash.
- Use stock in place of water to create more of a flavour base.
- Cook quinoa in your rice cooker! Use same ratio of 2:1 and follow instructions on your rice cooker.
- Once cooled, transfer quinoa to an airtight container and store in fridge for 1-2 days.
And be sure to check out our fave recipes with quinoa:
Quinoa, Zuchinni and Avocado Salad
Dried Cherry Quinoa Breakfast Cookies by Jan Scott
For more How-to tips visit our How-To and DIY section on RecipeGeek.com!