How to Prepare Quinoa
The process of preparing and cooking quinoa is easy but needs someone who is able to understand it. Quinoa is not just a seed that needs to be cooked in order to create a dish out there or be added as a side dish to another, but first it should go through the process of rinsing it thoroughly enough in order for that bitter taste that always comes with it to disappear. Quinoa, this plant seed that is different from all the others, could be transformed into milk and flour but it should be washed no matter how you are going to use it later on and no matter what kind of meals you will be adding it to. Quinoa is a famous seed out there that comes in different shades and all of them should still be rinsed before being used.
How to Prepare Quinoa for Cooking?
There are those seeds which you just take out of their package and directly start the cooking process, and then there is the quinoa which you have to wash it thoroughly first, let it drain, and then give yourself the chance to cook it. Quinoa is unique and different from all the other plants out there because it has complete protein profile and this means that it has the ability to provide the body with the nine essential amino acids needed by it, and this is just one of the different advantages that it can offer.
There are several nutrients and minerals in quinoa that help in putting it as one of the superfoods out there and which people are always trying to find and add it to their meals. These nutrients and minerals deliver several benefits to the body and from them you will find that quinoa is a good seed when you are trying to maintain your blood sugar level, when you are trying to handle both the glucose and cholesterol levels, when you are trying to lose some weight, when you are trying to deal with some skin and hair problems, and most importantly it offers some benefits for those who are dealing with problems related to the heart.
All these benefits should trigger you to search for the ways you should follow in order to prepare these seeds and be able to cook them easily without facing any problems. In order to prepare quinoa for cooking, you have to:
- Rinse it Well Enough
The first advice you might hear once you utter the word “quinoa” is to rinse it well enough in order to be able to eat it without facing any problems. Quinoa usually comes coated with a chemical coat that is known as saponin, this coat is the reason behind the bitter taste that you might get when eating it without being rinsed and is also the reason behind some of the digestion problems that some people face after eating this unwashed seeds.
In order to wash them correctly and get rid of the bitterness completely; you have to place the seeds in a fine-mesh strainer and leave them under cold water for some time before rubbing them between your both hands. After you get finished; you have to taste one seed in order to make sure that they have been washed completely. There are some manufacturers who tend to wash the seeds before packing and selling them but it is usually preferred to repeat the process or taste one seed before going any further with the cooking process. And finally, before putting the seeds to boil; make sure that they have drained from this rinsing part which you have just finished.
Now you have a prepared quinoa and should move along through some other steps in order to get it cooked.
- Toast the Quinoa before Cooking it
This step is not usually followed, it actually depends more on the person and his/her likes and dislikes. The toasting process is always preferred because it gives a stronger and nuttier taste to the seeds and this should happen by adding the seeds to a skillet with drops of olive oil and putting it over low heat, and during this process the stirring technique should be always present in order to avoid the seeds from getting burned. This toasting thing should not take more than one or two minutes until you start realizing the seeds are becoming brown.
- Now it is the Time to Cook Your Quinoa
The last step in this preparation and cooking process is bringing the quinoa to boil in order to give it the chance to be cooked and thus eaten. First of all, you have to add the quinoa to some water and put it in a saucepan then bring it to medium-high heat then leave it to boil (you could add some salt to taste as well). Once the seeds are boiled, you should cover them and reduce the heat to low then let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the seeds become translucent, the water is absorbed by the seeds, and the white germ forms a visible spiral on the exterior of the quinoa grain.
One of the questions that are always asked about the process of cooking quinoa is the cooking quinoa water ratio; how much people are supposed to add water to their quinoa? This usually happens by adding double the amount of water with quinoa; for example, for every one cup of quinoa seeds, there must be two cups of water.
There are some important steps to keep in your mind after you finish cooking the quinoa;
- First, you have to leave it to cool down for about 5 minutes before serving it or adding it to other dishes that you are preparing.
- Second, you should put the quinoa back to the skillet in order to give it the chance to drain and not turn out to be watery and ruin the other side dishes it might be added to.
- And third, you have to make sure that you fluff the seeds by using a fork after finishing the cooking process in order to separate them from one another.
Cooking Light Quinoa
There are numerous recipes out there to be prepared with quinoa but in order to eat something that is going to fill you up and help you get some energy without gaining weight, you should depend on those light recipes related to it. Quinoa is considered a good source of iron, protein, vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and fiber and these are all beneficial and needed by the body. From the recipes that you could try:
- Quinoa Salad and Artichokes and Parsley
Quinoa is a famous ingredient in some of the salads being prepared out there, even in the Middle Eastern famous one known as Tabbouleh. The quinoa salad with artichokes and parsley can tell from its name more about the dominant ingredients that it is using, but here is the rest of the list:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped spring or sweet onion
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
- 1 cup fat free, lower sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 5 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat the oil over medium heat then add the onion and the thyme, and then sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Now add the artichokes and sauté again for 2 minutes or until it is thoroughly heated. Add the broth and the quinoa and bring them to simmer. Cover and cook for 18 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley, rind, juice, and salt. This salad should be served warm or with room temperature.
You could consider salads one of the best ways to prepare quinoa because everything that is green will be able to give you several benefits.
- Colorful Quick Quinoa Grecian Salad
It is not only about the green factor and that vegetables are one of the best sources for vitamins, but another good and different thing about them is the ability they have to be placed next to any other dish you are preparing for dinner or lunch. The colorful quick quinoa Grecian salad includes different ingredients, such as:
- 2 cups of uncooked quinoa
- 3 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
- ½ cup of chopped yellow bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped English cucumber
- 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- Go through the important rinsing step that is related to quinoa before doing this salad.
- Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan, and then stir in the quinoa seeds that you have rinsed and prepared. Cover, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed (this is the same step of cooking but instead of adding water, you will add the chicken broth).
- Uncover the saucepan, fluff the seeds in order to separate them, and then let them stand to cool down for a few minutes.
- Now combine the olive oil, the fresh mint, the lemon rind, the lemon juice, the cherry vinegar, and the sea salt in another large bowl then add to it the cooled quinoa, the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients that we have stated above and toss them all well.
Now the salad should be ready for you to eat it and be able to gain all the different benefits delivered to you through quinoa as well as the other ingredients added to the salad.
The best way to prepare quinoa out there is when you create different salad recipes out of it; make it a healthy side dish, or even substitute rice with it (especially the white one). Quinoa with all the different benefits it could deliver, along with all the different ways it could be added to other dishes and recipes, is considered one important grain or seed to use out there.