If you’ve read my pantry page you know what a big fan I am of quinoa. It’s an ancient grain that’s full of protein, gluten-free, easy to prepare, delicious, and so versatile. It can be a main dish or a side dish. I love bringing quinoa to the table and amazing my guests with how yummy it is. They almost always leave saying that they look forward to making it themselves. I then take off my super-food cape and tights and put them away for their next appearance!
How much cooked quinoa does 1 cup dry quinoa yield?
1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa.
How much liquid do I need to cook quinoa?
To cook 1 cup quinoa, you need about 2 cups liquid.
How long does it take to cook quinoa?
1 cup quinoa will cook in about 20 minutes.
How do I make quinoa less bitter?
Nearly, if not all, of the natural bitterness of quinoa’s outer coating can be removed by a vigorous rinsing in a mesh strainer.
How do I make better-tasting quinoa?
Quinoa is really excellent when cooked in vegetable or chicken broth. Also, add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to each cup dried quinoa when cooking. Try adding other spices or aromatics during cooking as well: A clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a dash of black pepper.
Basic Quinoa Recipe
1 cup quinoa (white, red or black)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups liquid (broth or water)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
2 tsp all purpose vegetable seasoning (optional)
It is important to rinse the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing, and rinse for at least 2 minutes under the running water. Drain.
Why rinse quinoa? Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called “saponin”, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home. I have read some recipes that suggest soaking the quinoa but, in my experience, this is not necessary.
Dry and toast quinoa in a 2 quart saucepan. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, letting the water evaporate. I have omitted this step for the sake of time and while it doesn’t taste a lot different, the quinoa definitely does have a wetter heavier consistency to it when cooked. Toasting it will make a fluffier quinoa. That’s a long way of saying, I’d toast it!
Add liquid, salt and seasoning if using and bring to a rolling boil.
Turn heat down to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and you see tiny spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds
Remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, covered.
Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, add your add-in ingredients (or not) and serve.
Here are some ideas for add-in ingredients to make your quinoa into a festive side dish…
roasted red peppers, chopped
crumbled feta cheese
canned/jarred artichokes cut in half
toasted pine nuts (place pine nuts in a single layer in a non-stick pan over medium heat and cook until fragrant and slightly browned)
Served over a bed of arugula.
Try drizzling your favorite balsamic, Caesar or Italian vinaigrette over the top before serving.
Red and yellow heirloom tomatoes
balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over the top
sautéed green pepper and onion
roasted red pepper
frozen roasted corn cooked per package directions