Today we’re gonna learn how to cook quinoa that is fluffy, delicious and the perfect base for the easy and healthy quinoa recipes you’ll find below. Find out the best quinoa to water ratio, how long to boil your quinoa and how to make your quinoa taste really good!
How To Cook Quinoa: The Basic Recipe
Follow these steps to turn a cup of dry quinoa into 3 cups of cooked quinoa!
Step 1: Rinse your quinoa. Always, always, always rinse your quinoa. I have made the mistake of skipping this step a few times in the past and the result is – having a bitter meal with quinoa for dinner or lunch. Apparently, it’s because of certain phytochemicals called saponins, which act as natural pest control and are produced by the quinoa plant in order to keep humans and animals from eating it. Well, that didn’t work. We figured it out, again. Simply rinse those saponins out. I also find that rinsing quinoa with hot water rather than cold water works much better in removing those saponins and their bitterness.
To do this I simply boil some water in a kettle, pour it over the quinoa, stir for a few seconds with a fork so that the water gets to each and every single quinoa seed. That water will change the color and look pretty dirty. Discard it and move on to the next step.
Step 2: Cooking your quinoa. Once you rinse and drain your quinoa, add it to a cooking pot and then add filtered water to it*. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat once the quinoa is boiling. Let it simmer with the lid on for around 7-8 more minutes.
*You could also add salt or other ingredients to your quinoa, but I like to keep mine neutral in order to use it in sweet and savory dishes.
Step 3: Let sit. This is the step that will make your quinoa fluffy and delicious. Once there’s no more water in the pot, turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit with the lid on for around 10 minutes. This will help the quinoa steam and absorb more of the water and really get that fluffy texture.
Step 4: Fluff it. Use a fork to fluff up your quinoa. Then use it in your favorite dishes.
The Perfect Quinoa To Water Ratio
I’ve cooked quinoa many many times by now and I found it needs a bit less water than rice. Most recipes say the perfect ratio is 1:2, but in my experience, you need a little less than 2 cups of water to cook 1 cup of quinoa. Following the steps above, use 1 3/4 cup of water per cup of quinoa.
How Long To Boil Your Quinoa
Cooking quinoa usually takes me around 20 minutes. 5 minutes to boil, 5-6 more minutes to simmer and the rest to let the quinoa sit and think about the purpose of life. Of course this can vary with different varieties of quinoa and with the equipment you use. In general, the rule is: bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until you don’t have any more water in the pot, then turn off the heat and let sit to get fluffy.
Storing Cooked Quinoa
Whenever I cook quinoa, I usually cook more of it using the very basic recipe I shared above and then store it in the fridge in an airtight container – a large glass jar or or meal prep containers work perfectly here. I usually use it within the next 3-4 days – first 2 days for salads and then in one pot meals.
Quinoa Recipes To Try
Quinoa is the perfect ingredient for healthy, balanced meals. It is also very versatile and it can pretty much be used just like rice (exception in my experience: sushi, as it doesn’t stick together). You can use quinoa in salads, one-pot meals or for breakfast. Here are some of my favorite recipes using quinoa for you to try as well:
- Quinoa Fried Rice
- Tomato Basil Quinoa Risotto
- 15-Minute Garlicky Quinoa With Chicken
- The Best Avocado Quinoa Salad
- One-Pan Seafood Quinoa Recipe
- Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Ground Beef and Broccoli Fried Quinoa
- Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
- Quinoa & Ground Beef Dinner Skillet
- Healthy Egg Scramble With Quinoa
- Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
How To Make Quinoa Taste Good
As I mentioned, when cooked right, quinoa is pretty neutral and therefore quite versatile. You can use it for breakfast bowls with some dairy-free milk, almond butter and fruit for a dairy-free and gluten-free breakfast option. Or you can use it to make a recipe very similar to fried rice (check out this vegetarian version and this version with chicken) or cook it with some cheese, garlic and herbs to make it more like risotto (check out this vegetarian and this chicken recipe).
Another very tasty and super healthy option is to add it to your salads. Quinoa makes them more filling and perfect for lunch, no need for fancy dressings. Simply add some fresh herbs, olives, feta cheese (or none if dairy-free), some avocado and you’ll be surprised at how fresh and good a salad can taste!
Is Quinoa Healthier Than Rice • Quinoa Nutrition
Just like rice, quinoa is a great food to eat on a gluten-free diet. Quinoa is more nutritious than white rice, similar nutrition-wise to brown rice, but it cooks faster than brown rice. Which in my opinion makes it a better option than both for a quick healthy meal on busy weeknights. Although they all do have their benefits as you can read in this article. Quinoa is a great source of fiber, minerals, plant protein and some antioxidants.