A Complete Guide to Quinoa

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One Bowl of Uncooked White Quinoa and One Bowl of Uncooked Red Quinoa on a Marble White Surface

If you’ve been paying attention to all the rage about the latest trending superfoods, then you must have at least tried or considered trying the amazing Quinoa. This pseudo-cereal is packed with amazing nutritional properties and is really delicious when cooked and prepared properly. Ready to dive deep into quinoa’s world? Let’s check out this Guide to Quinoa!

Originally from South America, quinoa has been around for thousands of years and only recently became the celebrity cereal it is today. We’ve been in search of the most healthy foods on the planet and it was only a matter of time until this one got to the center stage. The word Quinoa (often currently pronounced queen-wah or keen-wah or key-no-ah) is from the Andean Quechua language (kínuwa) and it refers to this mighty food which provided so much for them as culture. It was first used to feed livestock but eventually (thankfully) it made its way into feeding people, too.

What Are The Different Types of Quinoa?

  • White Quinoa: light and fluffy, it works great as a rice substitute and for salads. This is the most popular one.
  • Red Quinoa: more crunchy than the traditional white quinoa, it’s great for buddha bowls, salads, and soups.
  • Black Quinoa: a bit harder to find than the other two kinds, it can be used in similar preparations. It is crunchy and has a nutty flavor.

Two Bowls of Uncooked Quinoa on a White Marble Surface with a Small Strainer on the side

Why is Quinoa Bitter? How to Get Rid of Quinoa’s Bitterness?

If you’ve tried quinoa without doing a little research before, you might have been unpleasantly surprised by a bitter taste. The reason? Saponins. These bitter-causing components are present not only in quinoa but other foods like legumes and vegetables, and it is a natural defense mechanism some plants have in order to make themselves less enjoyable to birds and insects.

How to get rid of it? Easy. Just make sure you wash your quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer until it’s no longer foaming. Interestingly, that’s where saponins get their name from, the similarities to how soap reacts with water. Fascinating, right?

What Are Quinoa’s Benefits?

  • It’s naturally gluten-free!
  • It’s packed with plant protein and has all 9 essential amino acids which make it a complete plant-based protein. Precious!
  • It is high in very important minerals like iron and magnesium.
  • Rich in gut-loving fiber and antioxidants.

We could go on and on about the amazing nutritional qualities of quinoa but the bottom line is that you should seriously consider making it a staple in your diet. You can start slow and add it to one meal a week, but we think you’ll end up using it a lot more.

How to Cook Quinoa?

Quinoa is very easy to cook. We might be thrown off because we are so used to rice or couscous and it feels unknown, but once you try it once or twice you’ll be a quinoa cooking pro and might even incorporate it into your meal prep days. There are two ways of cooking this amazing staple, on the stovetop or in your instant pot (one of our favorites!). Let’s learn how to!

A Bowl of Cooked White Quinoa on a White Marble Surface

Cooking Quinoa On the Stovetop

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water or vegetable broth

Method:

  1. Rinse quinoa in cold water using a fine-mesh strainer.
  2. Add the quinoa and water (or broth) to a medium pot with a lid.
  3. Over high heat, bring to a boil.
  4. Cover with the lid and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Cooking Quinoa in Your Pressure Cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ of water or vegetable broth

Method:

  1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water using a fine-mesh strainer.
  2. Put the quinoa and water (or broth) into the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  3. Let the pressure out, remove the lid, and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

As you can see cooking it on the pressure cooker takes considerably less time than on the stovetop but no matter how you cook it, you’ll be able to turn it into delicious and nutritionally dense dishes! We hope you enjoyed expanding your knowledge and found this Guide to Quinoa useful!

What Can I Prepare with Quinoa?

Thanks to this guide to quinoa, you know how valuable it can be to our health, but how to eat it? There are endless possibilities as to what meals you can cook up with quinoa but here we give you our favorite ones:

Guide to Quinoa Pinterest Graphic

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