How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly

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Cooked quinoa in a bowl

We love that this recipe works beautifully alongside lemon asparagus recipe, or even these classic roasted brussels sprouts recipe. 

Why Should I Know How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly

What is the hype about this little round grain? Why is it so popular with foodies and families? Quinoa is one of the most popular grains these days, and for good reason. It is a healthy option, a superfood to be exact, that adapts to flavors easily.

This is one of the reasons everyone, including us, are raving over adding it to our cupboards!

Once you’ve had quinoa cooked perfectly, you will understand what the hype is all about! This is one of the most versatile grains out there – plus it is a perfect source of amino acids. As a grain option, it is healthy, versatile, and affordable.

The hype really is valid, and, if not already, then you should be considering it as a new pantry staple so you can put it on your meal plan week after week.

Related: Quinoa Pizza Bites

Some Top Quinoa Health Benefits

  • A gluten-free grain is a great substitute for other glutenous grains in celiac patients
  • 8 grams protein per 1 cup
  • Includes all 9 essential amino acids
  • High in magnesium and Iron
  • 5 grams fiber per 1 cup
  • Is low on the glycemic index so perfect for diabetics
sample of cooked and uncooked quinoa

What Type of Quinoa is the Best?

There are a few popular types of quinoa, but there is no one specific type that is better than another. However, there are some people that prefer one type of quinoa over another.

With white, red, and black quinoa most commonly found in the grocery store, it really is about your preferences. Most recipes will include white quinoa because it is most often the easiest and most readily available. We have success with all types of quinoa in a variety of recipes.

White quinoa has the mildest flavor and holds up best after cooking, and it is the most common to find in any grocery store or market. This is why you see it in salads and cold dishes more often than the other types of quinoa. Both red and black quinoa are often better used in soups, casseroles, or hot dishes that blend with other ingredients and flavors.

Three different types of quinoa.

Why Do You Have to Rinse Quinoa?

While many packaged quinoas have been pre-rinsed, it is worth rinsing any quinoa you purchase before cooking. The main reason you need to rinse quinoa is that it has a natural coating that can be bitter when cooked.

This, is, in fact, the main reason people say they don’t like the flavor of quinoa.

That bitterness can be offputting. Rinsing your quinoa first can help remove that coating and make the quinoa taste better. Better flavor means it’s easier to begin including this grain in your regular meal plan.

How Do You Make Quinoa Taste Good?

Since quinoa, like many grains, absorbs the flavors it is cooked with, it is easy to add any flavor you prefer. Using a broth or a seasoned cooking liquid is important to add flavor in your dish. If you want to know how to cook quinoa perfectly, then it is vital to season your cooking liquid well.

For this recipe, we use a simple addition of salt to the cooking water. This, like many grains, really needs a salted liquid to absorb that flavor. Some other ideas for imparting flavor are below:

  • Try different broths instead of water – vegetable, beef, chicken, or bone broths
  • Add fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or marjoram to the broth
  • Add soy sauce or liquid amino’s to the cooking liquid
  • Mix quinoa with sauces like hot sauce (siracha), enchilada sauce, or salsa
  • Stir in browned butter before serving
Here's how to Cook Quinoa Perfectly every time! Fluffy, nutty and never bitter, this recipe is simple and easy and makes a wonderful side dish in about 20 minutes.

 What Can I Serve Quinoa With?

Since quinoa is truly versatile, you can add it to almost any meal. It even goes well with your breakfast bacon and eggs!

For a healthy and protein-packed meal, you can serve this as a side with our baked chicken tenders. Add a dash of seasoning or some browned butter to the quinoa for extra yummy flavor!

If you want a recipe with more spice, then slow cooker taco soup would be a great choice to pour over quinoa. This adds more texture and protein to a favorite recipe without sacrificing health.  

How to Cook Quinoa – Printable Recipe & Tutorial

Below you can grab this favorite basic recipe for how to cook quinoa, plus a personal favorite way to cook quinoa. This is a very basic, but effective recipe that can be adapted to your flavor preferences.

It only requires 3 ingredients!

Step 1

Rinse your quinoa by placing the uncooked quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and running under cool water for 2 minutes. This helps wash away the natural coating that can produce a bitter flavor.

quinoa being poured into pot
uncooked quinoa being added to liquid

Step 2

In a medium saucepan, place your rinsed quinoa, water or broth, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed.

salt being added to pot to make quinoa
salt being added to liquid

Step 3

Remove your quinoa from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Now, it’s ready to eat or store for meal planning!

cooked quinoa in a pot
cooked quinoa

Tips for Making Quinoa

  • Even if the package says the quinoa is pre-rinsed, to avoid any bitterness, give it a quick rinse anyway to make sure the natural outer coating called saponin is removed.
  • If you want to bring out the nutty flavor in the quinoa, place it in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Cooked quinoa keeps in the refrigerator 3-5 days.  

If you try this Quinoa Recipe or any other recipe on Suburban Simplicity, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let us know how it went in the comments below, we love hearing from you! Better yet, use the hashtag  #suburbansimplicity if you make the recipe.

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Cooked quinoa in a bowl

How to Cook Quinoa

Learn how to cook quinoa perfectly every time with this simple tutorial!  This recipe results in quinoa that is fluffy, nutty, and never bitter every time.

Print Pin Rate

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Servings: 4
Calories: 156kcal
Author: Erin Henry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Rinse the quinoa by placing the uncooked quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and running under cool water for 2 minutes.
  • In a medium sauce pan, place rinsed quinoa, water or broth, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Notes

  • Even if the package says the quinoa is pre-rinsed, to avoid any bitterness, give it a quick rinse anyway to make sure the natural outer coating called saponin is removed.
  • If you want to bring out the nutty flavor in the quinoa, place it in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Cooked quinoa keeps in the refrigerator 3-5 days.  

Nutritional information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.

★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition

Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean

Tried this recipe?Mention @Suburban_Simplicity or tag #suburbansimplicity!

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