Oh, quinoa. It’s been replacing rice on menus across the globe for the better part of the last two years and no one’s really sure why. It’s good for you? And the new chia and quinoa granola bars at your favorite cafe are, indeed, scrumptious. But quinoa is intimidating, both in pronunciation and pre-cooked in that reduced-fare packet sitting in the back of your cupboard. Never fear! We’re here to introduce you, softly and deliciously, to cooking with quinoa.
What is It?
Quinoa comes as flakes, flour, and seeds. For purposes of a gentle introduction, let us focus on quinoa seeds. (These are also less expensive.) There are also both white and red quinoa seeds. These can be used interchangeably and have very subtle flavor differences.
How Doth One Cook It?
Think rice. Use double the amount of water to quinoa seeds. For example, 1 cup of quinoa can be boiled in 2 cups of water. After water reaches a boil, turn down the heat and cover the pot to simmer for 12-15 minutes. That’s it.
Can One Mess It Up?
Of course you can. But it’s difficult. Just be sure to let the quinoa absorb all of the water it’s cooked with. Otherwise you’ll wind up with crunchy stuff.
I Have Cooked Quinoa! Now What?
Save it! Quinoa can be frozen for up to a month and reheats in a microwave fabulously. If you’re new to meal prep, welcome to a bright new world. Getting home and saving yourself 20 minutes of cooking time is a beautiful thing.
I’m Hungry Right Now!
Then it’s time for the fun part. Throw quinoa in salads like this one:
Quinoa Salad or create your own. The key to any great salad is the formula: lettuce-type base + chopped fruit/vegetables + vinaigrette + protein + crunchy stuff (nuts/seeds) + grain (quinoa).
Not Feeling a Salad Tonight
Two words: veggie burgers. Meatless mondays are a beautiful thing, but be a rebel. If you’re in the mood for veggie food on a Tuesday, by all means. Here’s a decent place to start for veggie burgers, but the trick is in the spices. Use this recipe as a base and get creative!