This Article is About
essential amino acids
frozen vegetables
nutty flavour
starchy foods
vegans
How Do You Cook Quinoa?
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How Do You Cook Quinoa?

I first learned of quinoa (KEEN-wah) from a woman who was a personal chef. She was from South America and we got chatting about food, one of my favourite topics.

She told me that quinoa was a very popular food and especially amongst those concerned about health and in particular, about eating healthy grains. Quinoa was very popular among the Incas and is known as the only whole grain that contains all the essential amino acids. It is often referred to as the complete protein.

It is a very good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium and fibre and many vegans and vegetarians choose to eat quinoa because it is gluten-free and relatively low in carbs compared to rice, pastas, millet and other starchy foods.

She told me that there were a few different types of quinoa including white, black, and red. She told me that red quinoa is considered the easiest for the body to absorb.

Think of cooking quinoa like you would rice. Although plain in taste, most people cook quinoa using the boil and simmer method using a broth to add flavour. Using a ratio of 1:2 quinoa to liquid, it will take about 25-30 minutes to cook. The quinoa can be pre-soaked or rinsed to clean and soften before cooking although most varieties sold in stores have undergone a cleaning process already.

To cook quinoa quickly, use less water, bring to a steady boil, and cook for fifteen minutes on high heat while keeping an eye on it so as not to burn as the water evaporates.

To bring out some of the nutty flavour, you might try toasting the quinoa. In a pan, bring to heat then add a small amount of oil. Add the quinoa and cook for a few minutes only then boil like normal.

Quinoa is often eaten cold as a salad, mixed with lentils, chick peas, or any other legume or bean. I’ve even added frozen vegetables to the the last 5 minutes of cooking time to add flavour. Because it is quite plain, sometimes lemon juice, tangy vinaigrette, or a sweet sauce can add life to the quinoa.

One of my favourite ways to eat quinoa is to add a tin of salmon to it, thereby adding another texture to the otherwise crunchy dish.

If you want to discover something different to eat and the rice, pastas, and other starches have run their course, give quinoa a try! Another grain in the pantry can’t hurt!


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