For many of you, back-to-school time coincides with meal preparation season. When you’re getting used to a time table at work, home, or school, having meals ready to eat on hand can be helpful. Keeping a cooked grain on hand to bulk up salad or add to bowls is one of my go-to meal prep tricks. One of my all-time favorite foods is quinoa since it cooks quickly, is incredibly healthful, and goes well with a variety of cuisines.
Quinoa can be prepared in a variety of ways, but I’ve used this one for years and it never fails to deliver flawless results. The grains are airy, light, and soft without being mushy.
Make a large batch and keep it in the fridge for simple lunches and dinners to get a head start on the upcoming week! Later, you’ll appreciate yourself.
What is quinoa?
Although I frequently confuse quinoa with rice, millet, farro, and other grains, it is truly a seed from South America that resembles a grain. It is nutritious in addition to having a lovely nutty flavor. Compared to brown rice’s 5 grams, 1 cup of quinoa has almost 8 grams of protein. Additionally, it is a good supplier of minerals like copper, magnesium, and manganese.
It comes in a range of hues, including black, red, white, and combinations of all three, but they all cook in the same way. The lighter varieties have a softer flavor, so if you’re trying it for the first time, I consider going with white before going on to red or black.
And one last thing before you start cooking: Quinoa is covered in saponins, which are organic pesticides. Make sure to wash quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before adding it to the heat because they can give the grain a bitter flavor and make it challenging to digest. After rinsing everything, you’re ready to start cooking!
Quinoa Cooking Method
I use salt and oil to cook rice, but quinoa is far easier to prepare. Only quinoa and water are required! There are a variety of water ratios used for cooking quinoa according to various techniques. In certain recipes, the water to grain ratio can be as high as 2:1, while in others it can be as low as 1 1/2:1. I believe the middle is the best place for fluffy, delicate quinoa. I use 1 and 3/4 cups of water for every cup of quinoa. The more water you add, the mushier the quinoa gets.Anything less makes it overly dry.
After measuring both, take these quick actions:
- In a medium pot, combine the quinoa and water. Boil, reduce heat, and then cover. Spend 15 minutes simmering.
- After turning off the heat, leave the pot covered for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid after that, and fluff with a fork.
Your quinoa is now fluffy and well cooked, but it is bland on its own. Season it first if you’re serving it as a straightforward side dish. Add some salt, lemon, olive oil, and pepper at the absolute least. Use it in one of the quinoa dishes below, or add minced garlic, chopped herbs, roasted almonds, or crumbled feta cheese to it to take it to the next level!