Curious about quinoa but just don’t know how to make it just right? Follow the easy steps of this tutorial on how to make quinoa, and become an expert in no time!
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a strange beast. Even though it seems like a grain, it is actually a seed. Unassuming in appearance in its raw form, once cooked you will see a tiny spiral (the germ) that separates and curls around the quinoa seed. It boasts superfood qualities: high in protein, iron, fiber and magnesium.
Unwashed quinoa [KEEN-wah] can be a little bitter right out of the bag, so a vigorous rinse with water in a fine mesh strainer before cooking is a good idea. The rinse gets rid of the outer coating (called saponin) and removes any bitter or soapy flavors that might have been on board with the raw seed.
What’s great about quinoa is its versatility. For example, you don’t have to use water when cooking. A great way to include some depth to quinoa is with chicken broth or vegetable stock. It will be sure to pack a natural punch of flavor into the mix.
Want to get even more fancy? Add some rosemary or basil to the cooking pot. There are also different types of quinoa that come in a variety of beautiful colors too. There’s red quinoa, white quinoa, black quinoa, and more. And it goes with everything too (check out my quinoa with roasted vegetables). You can even use it to make a quinoa salad!
For those who wish to cook quinoa in a rice cooker or instant pot, follow the instructions on your machine, but the same measurements used in the stovetop preparation should do the trick.
Ingredients to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa: Quinoa is known to hold onto a slightly nutty flavor but otherwise mild. It can easily take on the flavors of other stock, sauces, or seasonings around it.
Water or stock: You can either use stock or water to cook quinoa and give it its fluffy texture. I personally prefer my quinoa to be quite plain so I always choose water over broth.
Salt: If you are using water to cook quinoa, adding a pinch of salt will help bring out the natural flavors of these seeds.
How To Cook Quinoa
Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- Gather all of your ingredients and cooking tools.
- Start by rinsing your quinoa thoroughly in cold water and through a fine mesh sieve, rubbing, and swishing for about a minute or two. Pro tip: cooking with rinsed quinoa is the only way to go!
- Then drain your quinoa of extra water that still might be hanging on and place the quinoa into a small saucepan.
- Add the exact water ratio (whether that be water or broth—your choice) and salt and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the burner and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. There shouldn’t be any liquid at the bottom now—and it definitely shouldn’t be clumpy
- Now, fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, then drizzle with olive oil over your fluffy quinoa, and season with salt and pepper until your heart’s content.
Where is Quinoa From?
Quinoa is a plant that has been cultivated for roughly 5000 years. This ancient grain originates from the Andean region of South America. Within South America, Quinoa was most commonly found in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. It was a staple crop in these regions even before Columbian civilization. Eventually its gained popularity meant it was distributed outside of Inca territory as well.
However, it was then replaced by cereals in this region once the Spanish invaded in the early 1500s. Luckily, its popularity still thrives to this day and it can be found in all major grocery stores. There are countless dishes that call for delicious quinoa seeds for you to enjoy!
Delicious and Easy Quinoa Recipes
If you’re looking to explore quinoa more, there are plenty of different ways to prepare it. Check out some of my favorite quinoa recipes below!
- Salmon Tikka Over Quinoa
- One Pot Quinoa Enchilada
- Quinoa Edamame Salad
- Crunchy Quinoa and Kale Salad with Peach Dressing
As you can see, there are a variety of ways to dress up quinoa that make for great recipes. What are some of your favorite ways to spice it up and give it some extra flavor? I’d love to learn more about your favorite recipes. Are there other unique cooking methods you’d found to be helpful?
Did you like this how to make quinoa tutorial? Are there changes you made that you would like to share?Print
How To Cook Quinoa
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: Mediterannean
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 3/4 cup water or broth
- Pinch of salt
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer, rubbing and swishing for about a minute and a half.
- Drain and place quinoa in a small saucepan.
- Add the water or broth, and salt, and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5-10 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and serve.
- Serving Size: about 1/2 cup
- Calories: 156
- Sugar: 0g
- Sodium: 2.1mg
- Fat: 2.6g
- Saturated Fat: 0.3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1.4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 27.3g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 6g
- Cholesterol: 0mg