How-To | Cook Quinoa

For my first how-to tutorial, I have chosen to school you in how to make quinoa. First we will start with the common question:


What exactly is quinoa?!

Pronounced kee-wah, this little grain-like seed with a squiggle in the middle is becoming increasingly more present in the healthy eating world. Reason being, it is relatively low in calories, extremely high in protein, and it's a complex carb!!  Which is great, because we are all trying our hardest to incorporate complex carbs into as much of our diets as possible, right?! It has all the essential amino acids your body needs, and has a slew of other vitamins and minerals. It's also gluten free, which is very important to those folks with wheat allergies. Really, it's sounding like a super food if you ask me. 

Now, why am I choosing to do this as my first "How-to" ? I really don't know. I haven't quite mastered it... in the umpteen times I have attempted, I probably get it right two out of three times. I guess that's not too bad... so I will share with you my process for making it. Of course if there is anything you can add, if there is anything you do that I don't do that works like a charm, please leave a comment for me. I love learning! 

How to | Cook Quinoa
You will need:
Quinoa - 1 part
Cooking Liquid - 2 parts
Salt
Olive Oil - a drizzle for toasting purposes
Strainer - you'll need a fine-mesh one, not one with big holes in it
Pot with cover

What you do:
  1. Rinse your quinoa well by putting it into the strainer and running it under water. This is a very important step because the outer part of the seed is very bitter. If you have time, soaking it is even better than rinsing, but as long as you do it thoroughly, rinsing will do the trick. 
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil in your pot, and put your quinoa in there. Toast it over high heat for about a minute until the liquid burns off. 
  3. Add your cooking liquid {remember, 2x the amount of quinoa you are using!} and bring it to a boil. 
  4. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. During this time, leave the cover on the pot and don't touch it!!! This is similar to cooking a pilaf or couscous. 
  5. When 15 minutes is up, remove from heat, but do not uncover. Let it sit for another 5 mins. 
  6. Next, you can fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, like you would do with couscous. 


Notes:
  • You can use any color of quinoa you like- just make sure it is not out of a box kit or anything
  • You will always need 2x the amount of liquid - i.e. 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups liquid. Keep in mind that 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will yield appx 3 cups cooked. 
  • Salted water works well for your cooking liquid. Personally, I think if you have never made {or tasted} quinoa I would recommend cooking it in water the first time, so that you know ultimately what you are working with. There isn't much flavor, but you can doctor it up with salt and pepper and a little butter if need be. 
  • Other than plain water, you can use chicken or veggie stock, or flavor your water with garlic or herbs. {My next try is going to be throwing mint and basil right into the water}
  • There are all sorts of recipes out there- you can eat it as a simple side during dinner, or make it the main focus of the meal. The possibilities are endless, and because it's very mild in taste to begin with, you can use it with many different flavors. 





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