This Is the Definitive Guide on How to Cook Quinoa Like a Chef – 2017 Edition (And 15 Best Quinoa Recipes)

Do you want to learn about ways on how to cook quinoa? Quinoa is a tiny, nutty tasting super food, which is gluten-free, high in fiber and loaded with protein. According to health experts, it is the only plant-based food that contains complete protein, providing the body with nine essential amino acids. To give you an idea, half a cup of its serving contains 0 mg cholesterol, 111 calories, and 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Aside from being loaded with nutrition, it is versatile for serving with meat cooked in pellet barbecue smokers.

In today's guide, we'll talk about the best ways on how to prepare it. Here, you will discover the different methods of cooking it and learn of cooking tips that will help you make it easier and faster in your copper cookware, let's say. You will also learn of the common problems and fixes when cooking it. Before going any further, let's define what quinoa is.

What is quinoa, anyway? The plant is cultivated in the Andes for more than 5000 years. It is called the gold of the Incas or the Mother Grain, although it is a type of seed. It is a heavyweight in nutrition, and it is used in the same ways that people use and cook grains. Some of them serve it with their favorite meat dishes sliced thinly or thickly by a home meat slicer.

Ways to Make Quinoa

1. Using A Stovetop

Using A Stovetop

If you're looking to substitute rice when serving your favorite roasted meat cooked in a propane smoker, then cook quinoa using this method that will make you a delicious rice substitute.

Step 1

Prepare your ingredients, including a cup of quinoa and two cups of broth or water, salt and olive oil.

Step 2

Rinse the quinoa grains. To rinse it, you can just put in it the strainer and then under running water. However, if you have bought pre-rinsed quinoa, you don't have to wash it. Washing will remove the excess saponins, which can give out a bitter flavor.

Step 3

Toast it in the nonstick cookware pan. Drizzle it with some olive oil and turn the heat to medium.

Step 4

Cook for one minute for the nutty flavor in your quinoa.

Step 5    

Put two parts of stock or water to a part of the quinoa and bring it to a boil.

Step 6

Simmer it for about 15 minutes or when white germ forms and its color becomes translucent.

Step 7

Remove the pan from heat and set your quinoa aside for five minutes to allow for some moisture absorption.

Step 8

Fluff the quinoa using a fork, and you will see the germ separating from the seeds.

Step 9

Serve it while hot to keep its excellent flavor and nutritional value.

Step 10                   

You can use it as a substitute for rice by stir-frying it.


2. Using A Rice Cooker

Using A Rice Cooker

If you don't want to use an induction cooktop or a gas stove for cooking, you can use a rice cooker instead. Using this method, you will also be able to prepare perfect quinoa. The procedure is almost the same with the first method. You will still have to rinse the seeds if you're not using a pre-rinsed variant.

Step 1

Pour your quinoa into your rice cooker, and an option is to toast it before putting it in the appliance.

Step 2

Add two cups of broth or water and then a pinch of salt in your rice cooker. You can also use vegetable stock if you have it.

Step 3

Cook the seeds for about 15 minutes or until it is tender. However, rice cookers aren't created with the same settings. Thus, you may want to read the label, and in most cases, you may have to use the white rice cooking option.

Step 4             

When cooked, set it aside for five minutes, fluff it with a fork and then serve. You can serve it with spaghetti squash, which you have the option to cut using a veggetti.


3. Using An Oven

Using An Oven

Before serving your favorite meat that you can slice with steak knives, you can cook the seeds and serve it with the grilled meat if you want to replace rice. The process is easy, and it is done in almost the same initial steps as cooking in the stove or rice cooker. You should rinse the seeds to remove excess saponins that can give out a bitter taste in your quinoa later.

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2

Use the middle rack of your oven.

Step 3

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium to low heat.

Step 4

Add in some peppers, onions, and mushrooms. You can also add your choice herbs and vegetables if you like. Start sautéing the onion until they become translucent and not burned. Cook until all the other ingredients are done.

Step 5    

Add the salt and then the quinoa in your ceramic cookware but keep stirring it until they are incorporated well. Do it for 30 seconds.

Step 6

Add a cup of water and a cup of broth to the cookware or pan and boil it.

Step 7

When boiled, transfer the seeds to a baking dish while spreading it out. Finally, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

Step 8

Bake it for 20 minutes or until the water and stock are absorbed.

Step 9             

Remove the foil and then add cheese and your choice seasonings. You should keep baking for five minutes more to cook it thoroughly.


4. Using The Microwave Oven

Using The Microwave Oven

This method is one of the fastest ways on how to cook the seeds. Just like other methods like using your anolon cookware to prepare quinoa in a stove, you should wash the seeds before cooking it. If you want to know how to cook it using this method, keep reading for the steps.

Step 1

Put your quinoa in a microwaveable container and then add two cups of broth or water.

Step 2

Cover the container with a lid and cook it for six minutes. Take it out and then stir.

Step 3

After six minutes, 50% of the liquid should have been absorbed.Put it back in the appliance and cook for two minutes more.

Step 4

When done, you can let the cooked seeds stand for about five minutes to absorb all the liquid.

Bonus Tricks

Bonus Tricks
1

You can remove the bitter flavor of the seeds by rinsing it under cold and running water. You should tip into a pan and then add twice the amount of salted water based on the amount of seeds you're preparing. There are many cooking tips I have learned using this website, so you might want to head over and get the entire list of tips. On the website, you will also find cooking guides for spaghetti squash.

Thanks to JamieOliver.com for sharing these tips!

2

Remember that quinoa comes with a protective coating, saponin, which gives out a bitter taste when not removed. That is why you need to rinse the seeds before cooking it. While there are pre-rinsed variants on the market, it won't be bad to give the seeds a quick rinse under running water Check out more tips from the source to learn more ways in cooking the seeds today!

Thanks to Emily McKenna for the useful tips!

3

Soaking the quinoa is unnecessary. You just have to rinse it under running water before cooking to remove the bitter and soapy taste that its saponin could give. And while boxed variants are pre-rinsed, you should still rinse it to make sure your quinoa won't be bitter when cooked.

Thanks to Emily Han for sharing this cool advice!


Pro Tips from Other Bloggers

Pro Tips from Other Bloggers
The Kitchn

There are many methods to prepare quinoa, just like using an electric skillet for it. But aside from methods to choose from and use, you can also use quinoa as a side dish to virtually all meals. You can serve it with baked fish or stews. It can also be used in making salads, porridges, and casseroles. Check out the website for the complete list of tips shared by Emily Han.


eatingwell

The website is a rich source for cooking advice and tips as well as healthy eating suggestions. One of those I found was on cooking quinoa by Emily McKenna. She suggested toasting the seeds for added flavor. You can put it in the stainless steel cookware and toast with some oil over low heat for two minutes before putting it in boiling broth or water. You can follow this tip if you want a more flavorful quinoa that your guests will surely love. For more tips and suggestions, I recommend going to the website to learn of an essential cooking tips in preparing quinoa.


allrecipes

If you want to learn of new or easy to prepare recipes, this website is one of the go-to sources. There are many cooking tips and recipes to find and many of them are also excellent for new cooks. One of those guides I found is nutrition of quinoa. It is a complete protein source; in fact, it is one of the highest sources of plant-based protein. The seeds also come with high levels of protein than barley, brown rice and potatoes. They are also packed with some calcium, zinc, and magnesium. When consumed daily, quinoa may also help in reducing your risk to getting cancer, diabetes and heart disease. On the site, you will also find recipes for turkey.


whfoods

There are many food pieces of advice, recommendations and tips to find on the website. One of which is rinsing and rubbing the seeds before cooking them to get rid of the excess saponins, which are what give out the bitter taste of the dish. One of the best ways to wash it is to use a meshed strainer and then run the seeds under running cold water while rubbing the seeds with your hands gently.


hungry-girl

This source is one of the websites that I found for the best ways on how to prepare quinoa. According to it, ¼ cup of serving contains only about 170 calories and 5.5 grams of protein. It adds that it is a helpful source of both fiber and protein. It is also one of the ideal sources of protein for vegetarians. Also, you can find some cooking tips on the site. One of which is measuring out your seeds and sticking with a single serving and that is to prepare 1/4 cup of uncooked seeds.


simpletruth

This website is one of the best websites for healthy eating tips. One of the pieces of advice I found on this site is cooking tips about quinoa, which is about a simple food to make; in fact, it only takes 20 minutes to prepare. It suggests pre-rinsing the seeds to remove its coating. For the rest of the tips, head over to the site and check out the rest of the cooking tips that the site has shared.

Correcting Common Problems

Correcting Common Problems

How do I store quinoa?

The dry seeds come with a good shelf life. You can store it in a container in your pantry, and it will stay fresh for months. On the other hand, you may also refrigerate or freeze it to stay longer. For the cooked seeds, you can store it in the fridge for a few days or a month in the freezer.

What's the accurate measurement of ingredients for the perfect quinoa?

You will need two cups of water or broth for a cup of dry quinoa and then ¼ teaspoon of salt. Follow this general rule to come up with perfect quinoa all the time.How much of cooked quinoa can I make with a cup of it?It will make about three cups of cooked quinoa. So depending on the number of cups you want to come up with, you can use more as needed. Just remember that you need two cups of water for every cup of the seeds.

How long should I cook it?

You can cook a cup for 20 minutes.

How do I prevent my quinoa from getting bitter?

The bitterness comes from its outer coating. You can quickly take it out by placing the seeds in a mesh strainer and then running under cold faucet water. Don't forget to rinse the seeds even if you bought pre-rinsed variants in the store. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry.

How can I make a flavorful quinoa?

For the best results, you may cook it in chicken or vegetable broth. You may also add 1/4 teaspoon of salt in every cup of dried quinoa when cooking it. You can also add your choice of ingredients, including some aromatics and spices. Additionally, you can use smashed garlic and black pepper, or any choice seasonings that you desire, depending on the flavor that you want to achieve for the dish.

I think quinoa is a grain. Is it?

No, it isn't. It is a type of seed. Many people have mistaken it for grains, but it is actually in the seeds group. While this isn't a cooking tip, it is important to know what you're eating in the first place.

My quinoa tasted bitter. What happened?

You might have cooked it straight from the package. Remember, you must rinse it well before cooking or else you will not be able to remove the excess saponins, which are what give out the bitter taste.

My quinoa was mushy! What happened?

One of the worst mistakes people make when cooking it is overcooking. They don't know how long they should be cooking the seeds. If you were one of them, you should avoid cooking it for more than 20 minutes if you're using a cup of it. Just combine a cup of rinsed quinoa with two cups of broth or water and then cook it not beyond this time.

My quinoa was watery. What could have gone wrong?

You might not have drained before dressing it with your favorite spices and seasonings, or toppings. You should know that the seeds are absorbing and holding much water. That is why you need to drain it when cooked to avoid a watery dish. You should also let it sit for about 15 minutes to let it rest and avoid ending up with wet quinoa.

Best Quinoa Recipes

1. Quinoa Roasted Chicken with Olive Gremolata from Health.com

Quinoa Roasted Chicken with Olive Gremolata

This recipe is one of the best to try with your quinoa because it contains 48 grams of protein and seven grams of fiber. You need white quinoa, chicken broth, boneless chicken breasts and parsley leaves, to name some.


2. Veggie-Quinoa Soup from Cooking Light

Veggie-Quinoa Soup

Check out this full recipe to create a great-tasting quinoa dish for lunch or dinner. In this recipe, you can use artichokes and baby carrots, along with the rest of the ingredients. For the complete list of the ingredients and instructions, you can head over to the website.


3. Cheesy Grilled Vegetable And Quinoa Bake from Taste.com

Cheesy Grilled Vegetable And Quinoa Bake

This recipe is an impressive vegetarian dish that your family will surely love. You can make this ahead for an upcoming party or event. Go to the website and find out how you can make the excellent recipe that you can make for your guests today!


4. Kale and Quinoa Salad from Food Network

Kale and Quinoa Salad

This recipe takes only a total of 55 minutes to prepare, and it can make up to six servings. It is easy to prepare and in minutes. The ingredients to use in the recipe include Tuscan kale, red wine vinegar, and black pepper, to name some. A salad is a healthy food for those dieting and those who want to eat a low-calorie food. Go to the website for the full ingredients and instructions now!


5. Quinoa Chicken Parmesan from Damn Delicious

Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

This protein-packed recipe is posted by Chungah. It will give you a fantastic twist to the traditional ways of cooking quinoa. Here, you will achieve a crispy crust. For the full recipe, check out the website now and prepare this delicious dish today!


6. Stellar Quinoa Burger from Bon Appétit

Stellar Quinoa Burger

The recipe is by Alex Lau. It provides us with a new approach to cooking quinoa in a way that some of us wouldn't have thought possible. You can make this recipe as a healthier alternative to traditional burgers. Its binder is sweet potato, and its protein source is quinoa instead of meat on traditional burgers. Find out how to make this vegetarian burger by going to the website now!


7. Asian Quinoa Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod

Asian Quinoa Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod

The recipe is a healthy and tasty salad that you can try if you're into healthy eating. And there is no wonder. Quinoa is one of the best choices in making salads. Check out the site and find out how you can make the amazing salad now!


8. Pineapple Fried Quinoa from All Recipes

Pineapple Fried Quinoa

Try this recipe if you love to make something with Asian flavors. The dish is a fresh twist to our traditional ways of serving quinoa. You can use either frozen or canned pineapple, whichever is available. The recipe takes 55 minutes to prepare, and it can yield four servings. Each serving contains only 337 calories. Get the recipe by going to the site now!

Conclusion

There you have our complete guide on how to cook quinoa that you can follow if you're looking for top options in preparing it as well as cooking tips that will help you come up with the best results. Also, don't forget taking note of those tips from pro bloggers about ways and mistakes to avoid in cooking it. Plus, remember the common problems encountered by some cooks and ways you can prevent them from happening. Definitely, there are many ways than one to choose from and use when preparing this seed, which is packed with fiber and protein for a healthy tummy and sexy body maintenance. So if you're looking for healthy eating recipes, you can also try the best quinoa recipes we've found for you. Enjoy cooking!

Resources and Further Reading

Olivia Rose
 

Hey, everyone! I’m Olivia. It isn’t alway easy being a lifelong foodie in love with both cooking blogs and her two small boys. If my lifelong fascination with healthy, delicious, and practical cooking from around the globe has taught me anything, though, it’s that nothing feels as deeply rewarding as preparing fancy and fabulous meals for my wonderful family. My community of fellow dedicated blogging moms only feeds my ambition to learn something new from every recipe.

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