Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the amazing Peruvian seed, gluten-free and higher in protein than any other grain, and also containing all the amino acids you need to maintain a very healthy diet. While it’s commonly known as a grain, in reality the herb’s starchy seeds are what we cook with and enjoy in meals. The quinoa seeds are smaller than most grains we are familiar with, such as teff or amaranth. They come in many different colors including tan, red, yellow and tri-colored – my favorite to use because it makes for the prettiest dishes.
While quinoa is native to the Andean highlands, so one might think it could be touchy to work with, cooking is quite simple and quick. Though most bags of quinoa you buy say to cook with a 2:1 ratio (liquid to grain), I have found that a 1:1 ratio works best. This keeps it crunchy and flavorful; ideal for salads and stir frys!
Here is a basic recipe to cook quinoa, and of course feel free to get creative. You can use it in place of any grain in most recipes. I often use it to make veggie burgers, and breakfast porridges as well.
Quinoa – How to Make the Perfect Pot:
Unlike what the instructions on the bag say, to make the perfect pot take 1 cup quinoa and rinse thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer to remove dust and dirt.
Then place it in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. I have found that the ratio of 1:1 works best!
Add a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil.
Once the water starts to boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. After the time is up turn off the heat and let it sit another 5 minutes before removing the lid.
Fluff with a fork. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. And if you have scallions and cilantro on hand, that’s yummy thrown in as well!