You've Been Cooking Quinoa Wrong. Here's the Right Way.
Here's how to cook this seed and keep all the nutrients and flavors.
In general, quinoa is a great alternative for rice or any other starchy food. Additionally, quinoa has fewer calories and contains more protein and fiber than the same amount of cooked rice would.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that 1 cup of cooked quinoa amounts to:
- 222 calories.
- 39 grams of carbs.
- 8 grams of protein.
- 6 grams of fat.
- 5 grams of fiber.
- 1 gram of sugar
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, and contains all 9 essential amino acids that you should be getting in your diet. It is also a fantastic source of fiber, magnesium, B and E vitamins, iron, calcium, and several antioxidants.
This versatile seed has certainly taken the food world by storm. Unfortunately, it’s also a deceptively tricky dish to master in the kitchen. There are a few key steps that you should be taking when making quinoa in order to achieve maximum flavor and nutrition value in each and every bite.
It is especially important that you don’t overcook this quinoa. Not only will you end up with an unpleasant texture, but when you overcook your food you are losing nutrients. Quinoa should be light and fluffy when you serve it. The easiest way to achieve this is by combining 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. This ratio is ideal for achieving nutritious and delicious, fluffy goodness.
The number one mistake that most people make when cooking quinoa is forgetting to rinse it first. You should place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cold water before you toast it and boil it. This step helps refine the flavor, but it also preps the seeds for cooking in a way that helps it hold onto its nutrients. This key step also gets rid of the natural coating of saponins (chemical compounds found in many plants) on the quinoa which could irritate your stomach.
Here are some easy steps for preparing the perfect pot of quinoa every time:
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water.
- Toast the quinoa in a saucepan, without oil in order to achieve optimum nutty-flavor. Toasting also helps your quinoa seed open up so that it can absorb the liquid better. Thus, cooking more evenly and for less time which helps keep nutrients intact.
- Add in liquid (2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa) and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Lower heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, but leave the quinoa covered for 5 minutes. Drain any extra water if necessary.
- Fluff and serve!
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Chef Tips and Tricks
Do you put the pasta in without waiting for the water to boil? Add oil? Forget the salt?