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How to cook quinoa

Maris Callahan is the author of "In Good Taste," and, as an avid self-taught home cook, is widely knowledgeable about all things culinary. She is especially passionate about helping women on-the-go cook healthy, delicious meals and snack...

Tips and tricks for quick quinoa prep

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a creamy, slightly crunchy texture and somewhat of a nutty flavor once cooked. While many people think quinoa is a grain, it is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa was originally cultivated in South America and was once considered a sacred food to native Indians. Quinoa is gluten-free and a source of vegetable protein which is essential for vegans and vegetarians.Versatile, healthy and delicious, quinoa is a great pantry staple, but a lot of cooks are unsure of how exactly to prepare quinoa.

quinoaRinse quinoa seeds

Quinoa seeds are coated with a natural, soapy substance known as saponin. While the majority of it is rinsed off during processing, home cooks should wash them thoroughly to remove residue. Ideally, you should place quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer and rinse with cold water, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. If saponins have not been removed, quinoa will taste bitter.

 

>>>Fall quinoa recipes

 

Consider ratios

To cook the quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. The grains will expand during cooking. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover. One cup of quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, the grains will be translucent an the white germ will be partially detached.

 

>>>Avocado quinoa salad

 

Go nuts!

If you like the rich, nutty flavor that quinoa brings to the table, you might prefer to dry roast it prior to cooking. Place on a skillet over medium-high heat and stir constantly for five minutes.

 

>>>Southwest quinoa pilaf

 

Treat quinoa like rice

Karina Allrich, of the popular blog Gluten-Free Goddess, cooks her quinoa in a rice cooker. For every one cup of quinoa, add two cups of water, follow the instructions on your machine and you can go about dinner as you normally would. How is that for easy?

 

>>>Turkey and Quinoa Picadillo

 

Think outside the box

Quinoa can be eaten plain but I can't imagine why you would when there are so many fantastic recipes to choose from. Think of quinoa as breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Creative recipes with quinoa

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