Back to basics with quinoa and learn how to cook your favorite healthy food. Quinoa is one of the most versatile gluten-free seeds, easy to prepare, is a great carb side dish, or even as the main protein, and you can add to any meal.
As you know from my last recipe, I am taking it back to basics to help you get started with simplifying your diet and improving your eating habits. For my second post in this new series, I wanted to share how easy it is to cook quinoa, a staple in my pantry that I always have on hand.
So What is Quinoa?
One question I get asked all the time- “What is quinoa and is it a grain?”
Quinoa is technically a seed and treated as part of the whole grain family. Quinoa comes in many colors; white, black, and red are the three most popular, and you can find them at the grocery store.
Once you know how to make quinoa, you can make a big batch on Sunday night and have it ready for the week. Add to salads, soups, serve as a side dish with any protein or even have with breakfast in place of oatmeal.
Nutritional Value of Quinoa
Quinoa is considered a superfood and is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Quinoa is gluten-free and extremely popular with health-conscious folks. Because it is so nutrient-dense, quinoa is a perfect choice for vegans, gluten-free, or any healthy diet.
One cup of quinoa is 222 calories and contains a little over 8 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of fiber.
If you want to learn more about this superfood, check out this article.
Ingredients Needed to Make Quinoa
Two simple ingredients are needed to make quinoa- quinoa and water or broth. Yep, that’s all you need.
- Quinoa: you can choose white, black, red, or even tri-color that contains all three. White seems to be the most popular where you will find it in most stores. White quinoa has a fluffier texture and a lighter taste. Red quinoa is richer in taste, slightly chewier, and heartier texture. Black quinoa has a slightly sweeter taste and earthy flavor. I honestly can’t tell the difference in taste and prefer to use the tri-color in most recipes.
- Water or broth: either can be used. I like to cook quinoa in broth if I’m adding in a savory meal.
How to Make Quinoa
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a mesh colander to remove the saponin, the natural coating which can taste bitter.
2. On medium-high heat, add quinoa and water (the ratio is always two cups liquid to one cup quinoa) to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork, let sit for five minutes.
What to serve with Quinoa
Instead of serving rice or a baked potato, try this the next time. Drizzle some olive oil on top with fresh herbs like basil and parsley, a dash of salt and pepper, and some crumbled goat or feta cheese on top. You can also add chopped nuts, minced garlic, and lemon juice.
Here are a few favorite quinoa recipes:
- Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- Quinoa Raspberry Salad
- Easy Sesame Chicken
- Healthy Oven Baked Salmon
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