Healthy Recipes

The Foolproof Guide to Cooking Quinoa

By Molly Cornfield
April 15, 2016

Quinoa, the super-grain seed whose name no one knows how to pronounce. Is it KEEN-wah or kee-NO-wah? (For the record, both are correct.)quinoa

However you say it, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. At only 222 calories per serving, it packs a punch with eight grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and significant amounts of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, iron, zinc, and potassium. Compare that to white rice, and you’ll see that not only is it less calories, but one-fifteenth the carbs, more fiber, and double the protein.

Yet quinoa’s strange name and counterintuitive categorization are only the beginning of quinoa-caused confusion. Cooking quinoa is another headache entirely. Luckily, we’re here to lay it all out for you, so you can be sure to avoid all the common quinoa-cooking mistakes.

  1. Rinse. This is a vital step in the quinoa-cooking process that so many of us (including yours truly) often forget. But it’s important: it gets rid of an bitter outer film. Use a thin, mesh strainer to wash your quinoa–otherwise you may struggle to keep your dinner from swirling down the drain.

  2. Cook to perfection. It’s far too easy to overcook your quinoa. Instead, add a 2-1 water-quinoa ratio to a pot, and turn the heat on high. Once the water boils, dial the heat back down to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Set a timer and keep an eye on the stove–the last thing you want is a pot full of charred quinoa (I personally learned the hard way).

  3. Drain it. Do you like soggy food? No? I didn’t think so. To avoid serving a waterlogged meal, drain the pot thoroughly. This is a great opportunity to use your mesh strainer again.

  4. Let it rest. After 15 minutes in boiling water, your quinoa is bound to be tired. (Excuse the dad joke.) Letting it sit for an additional 15 minutes will allow your quinoa to dry out and fluff up.

So now that you’re a quinoa cooking expert, you can cook, bake, and make all the quinoa salads that your heart desires.

*Individual Results May Vary