The 411 on Cooking with Quinoa

Are you thinking of doing some cooking with quinoa? Good for you! This healthy grain is delicious and nutritious. Here’s the 411 on quinoa.

Quinoa (pronounced “kin-wah”) is usually considered a grain, but it’s a relative of the leafy green family, like spinach. It’s gluten free and full of calcium, protein, and lots of minerals. You can eat it at any time during the day. Get creative! I recently made a breakfast where I warmed up some leftover quinoa with some baby spinach leaves, then spooned a soft boiled egg over that and mixed together. Quick, easy, filling, energizing, and quite tasty!

Cooking basic quinoa is simple. Put twice as much water or broth as grain into a pot with a sprinkle of sea salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cover. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, approx 15 minutes. Here are a few tips: a bit less water and slower, longer cooking makes the grain fluffier.

Making quinoa more digestible for those who are sensitive. Try dry roasting the grain for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Just stir in dry pan or spread in cookie sheet in oven over medium heat until you start to smell the roasting grain flavor. Then add liquid and cook as usual. Another tip is to cook it longer with extra liquid than you normally would. You can serve quinoa cooked this way as a side dish just like you might serve rice. My son likes it like this with a bit of butter melted on it.

Quinoa is excellent in soup. Just add to soup as you would rice, barley, or pasta. Quinoa adds a great deal of nutrition and the flavor is mild. I often use it instead of rice in my chicken soup. Kids like it in soup because it is small enough to be slurped up through a straw. Which, by the way, is a great way to get your kids to eat some good healthy soup — give them a straw!

Quinoa is a great substitute for other grains or breadcrumbs in recipes, such as meatloaf, meatballs, stuffed peppers or mushrooms.

Quinoa also makes a delicious cold salad with any ingredients you usually use to make pasta salad. I actually often add leftover quinoa to regular salad to add a little crunch and protein.

Do you use quinoa? Have any good tips or recipes? Share with my Facebook community. In the meantime, check out my yummy Quick ‘n Easy Greens and Quinoa recipe.