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How To Cook Delicious And Nutritious Meals With Quinoa

Quinoa had a surge in popularity a few years ago. Everyone wanted to try the South American grain, seeing it as a superfood because of its high protein content and the story about how warriors ate it before battle to give them lasting energy. 

Unfortunately, despite the hype, the quinoa craze calmed down significantly in the latter years. People seem less interested in it than before, partly because it’s no longer novel. However, the main reason is that we never really learned how to cook with it. Quinoa was supposed to be a new superfood, but people couldn’t get it to taste right, spurring the return to pasta and other regular carbs. 

The trick, of course, is to learn how to prepare it properly in meals you actually want to eat. And that’s the topic of this post. We explore how to make delightful recipes with quinoa. 

Quinoa is a gluten-free seed that can be used as a substitute for starchy grains like rice or couscous. It has a nutty flavor and a fluffy texture, and it is rich in protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also versatile and easy to cook, making it a great ingredient for healthy and tasty meals.

Getting the latter part right, of course, is more challenging than you might think. Cooking quinoa can be challenging, especially if you’ve never tackled the grain before. 

Here are some tips for preparing it properly and getting the flavor and texture right. 

Rinse It Thoroughly Before Cooking

Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that can make it taste bitter or soapy. To remove it, rinse the quinoa under cold water for a few minutes, rubbing it gently with your fingers. You should notice that the water running off the dry quinoa looks a little bit cloudy and yellow. That’s what happens when the saponins slough. 

Once you finish rinsing, drain well and transfer to a pot or a rice cooker. You can then boil it or cook it in the usual way. 

Cook Quinoa In Broth

You can cook quinoa with water, but it is much better to prepare it in broth. That’s because the saltiness and flavors of the broth get into the quinoa grains, giving them a superior flavor. 

For every cup of quinoa, you will need about 2 cups of liquid. You can use vegetable broth, chicken broth, or any other flavored liquid to add more taste to the grain. 

Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa is tender and fluffy about 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs or spices.

Use Quinoa As A Base

It’s critical to view quinoa as a base for your dishes, not a side. Like pasta, it’s not great on its own but works well in combination with other ingredients.

For instance, once you learn the trick for baking juicy chicken thighs, you can then place them on a quinoa pilaf for a healthy meal. Quinoa is a good base for salads and meals in general because it can absorb the flavors of other ingredients and dressings.

You can also mix it with other ingredients, such as tofu, herbs, spices, vegetables, seeds, and cheese to balance out your meal. Popular options include:-

  • Seafood quinoa bowls with prawns, tuna, avocado and lime
  • Greek fusion quinoa bowls with orange, pistachio, feta, and mind
  • Quinoa pilaf with sun-dried and roasted tomatoes

Use Quinoa At Breakfast

Another cool way to use quinoa is to use it for breakfast dishes. It works for:-

  • Pancakes
  • Porridge 
  • Muffins
  • Granola

It’s also possible to put cooked quinoa in smoothies for extra calories and nutrition. Just mix it with your usual fruit, berries, and veggies. 

Quinoa porridge with cardamom and peach is popular. You can also make quinoa muffins with blueberries and lemon. If you’re really clever, you might also want to try making it into granola with honey and almonds. Use plant-based milks for a healthy touch. 

Make It Into Vegetarian Patties

Lastly, you can use quinoa to make vegetarian patties or burgers. Quinoa is a great ingredient for vegetarian patties or burgers because it can bind well with other ingredients like eggs, cheese, beans, or vegetables. It also retains its structure, meaning it gives you a better mouth feel than other grains you have to grind up. Cook it first and then mix it with other ingredients you put in the food processor, like beans, veggies, and spices. 


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Edel Alon
Edel Alon
Edel-Ryan Alon is a starving musician, failed artist, connoisseur of fine foods, aspiring entrepreneur, husband, father of two, geek by day, cook by night, and an all around great guy.


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