Quinoa (it is pronounced “keen wah”) is a delicious and protein packed addition to your meals.
While Quinoa has been eaten for thousands of years, it’s recently become popular and fairly easily available, found in most grocery stores.
It is a wheat-free seed that can be cooked and enjoyed hot or cold and can be used in place of other grains in recipes including rice, barley or even noodles.
I love to have quinoa for breakfast with a bit of honey and nuts, or with brown sugar and raisins. You can add your “mix ins” during cooking or simply add them after. It is a great way to have a “cereal like” breakfast only super packed with protein to help you start your day!
Quinoa is so versatile, tender and delicious I know you will incorporate it into your weekly menu plan! Use it in salads, soups or simply by itself!
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is often thought to be a grain however in truth it is a seed (also known as a pseudo-cereal).
You can get traditional (also known as white or golden) quinoa (pictured above) or red, black, or tricolor quinoa.
With a mild, slightly nutty flavor, all varieties can be used interchangeably in recipes and there is no difference in flavor.
Quinoa can be found in grocery stores most often in the rice/grains aisle or it can be purchased online.
Is Quinoa Gluten Free?
In short, yes, quinoa is gluten free if it is truly 100% quinoa.
Although quinoa is gluten free as grown, according to Gluten Free Watchdog, it is a grain that has a risk of gluten contamination during processing.
In order to be certain your quinoa is truly gluten-free, be sure to check your packaging to confirm that it certified.
How do you Prepare Quinoa?
Preparation is very similar to cooking rice, only slightly faster, quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook in a covered saucepan.
The ratio of quinoa:water is generally 1:2 and the water can be substituted with either stock or broth for extra flavor!
I often toast the quinoa in a bit of olive oil until lightly browned to add an extra dimension of flavor.
Why Do You Have to Rinse Quinoa?
Rinsing quinoa, it will help remove the saponin (a natural coating) which can make it taste bitter or soapy (and also cause it to foam).
Rinsing this delicious seed will create a milder flavor and a slightly softer texture.
How to Rinse Quinoa
Because the seeds are so small, you will need a fine sieve to rinse your quinoa.
An alternate method is to pour water over the quinoa in a bowl, swirl it around, then slowly drain off the water and repeat several times. If all the water does not drain off don’t worry because more water needs to be added before cooking. Check the package first as some quinoa is already pre-rinsed and you may not have to rinse it yourself
How to Cook Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water or stock
- Rinse the quinoa to remove any debris or dust.
- Combine quinoa and stock or water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed.
- Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Quinoa is a superfood loaded with protein and fiber (and contains more fiber than most grains). It has more antioxidants than any other grain and is full of vitamins!
The one thing that quinoa is most known for is being high in protein. With 8g of protein per cup, quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids making it a real powerhouse food!
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