Thursday, May 30, 2013

Basic Quinoa

Its time to jump on the quinoa bandwagon. Quinoa seems to be a cooking fad that has been going around for the past couple of years. I tried it a year or so ago and thought it was so nasty and couldn't understand why anybody would want to eat this. The health benefits were enough to try it again, still wasn't my favorite. Then when I went on the anti-inflammatory diet (which isn't a weight loss diet mind you) I had to learn to like it. It is definitely an acquired taste, but now I use it ALLLLL the time. I rarely use rice anymore and use this in place of it. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. YOU HAVE TO RINSE IT!!! Who would have thought that by not rinsing it well enough it would totally change the flavor?! Well it does. So before you attempt to cook it make sure that you rinse and rinse and rinse it otherwise it will have this bitter flavor that just isn't good at all. You basically cook it exactly like rice, only it shouldn't take as long.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water (I like to use broth. If you use broth its one can plus a splash of water)
salt to taste

1. Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer for 1-2 minutes. (The reason you do this is to take away the bitter taste that is on the outside.)
2. Heat up a medium saucepan to medium high and add quinoa. Lightly brown for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add water or broth and salt. Bring to a oil and cover for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has absorbed. You will know when they are cooked when they are fluffy and you see a small thread.
4. Fluff with a fork.

**Randi's Side Notes**
~ If you use broth I personally wouldn't add any salt, unless of course you are using reduced sodium broth. I made this mistake once and it was pretty salty. I also prefer to use the broth over just plain water just because it gives it a little added flavor if you are eating it plain as a side dish.
~ My cooking times have ranged anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes to cook it. I think it all really depends on the type of pot you use and also your altitude. Oh and if you cook it in almond milk it takes a lot longer (in case you want it for breakfast)
~ Oh yeah this can also be used for breakfast. It almost resembles the flavors of a cracked wheat cereal. I usually cook mine in either almond milk or water and add some cinnamon and vanilla. Then when its done add some milk, apples, golden raisins, and pecans and you have a delish breakfast that is protein packed. I have also had it with coconut, berries, anything...
~ It also works really well in soups in place of noodles or rice.


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