Meal prep like a pro with 4 different ways to cook quinoa. This super nutritious cooks easily on the stove, in a rice cooker, in an instant pot, and in the microwave.
What is Quinoa
If you have never tried quinoa, it is an ancient South American super-food. This nutrient packed grain is technically a seed. Originally considered to be a sacred food to the Inca culture, quinoa’s popularity has grown tremendously in the last 10 years for its unique texture and amazing health benefits.
Types of Quinoa
There are actually about 3,000 different kinds of quinoa. I don’t think grocery stores have the shelving to be able to handle that many different varieties but you can easily find black, red, and white quinoa at the grocery store. There is also a tricolored quinoa that is just a blend of black, red, and white.
In addition to different colors, the different kinds of quinoa also have different health benefits. For example darker quinoas like the black and red contain more antioxidants than white quinoa.
The different kinds of quinoa also have slightly different flavors and textures. White quinoa has a mild flavor and tends to be fluffier than red and black quinoa making it perfect for replacing rice. Red and black quinoa have a stronger flavor and tend to hold up better in salads.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
This gluten-free super food is a high source of protein, with 8 grams per cup, making it a great natural source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. 1 cup of cooked quinoa also contains 5 grams of fiber, and high levels of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.
In addition to being nutrient dense, quinoa is also non-GMO and tends to be grown organically.
How to Cook Quinoa
On the Stove Top
- Pour quinoa into a fine mesh colander or sieve and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds until the water runs clear.
- In a sauce pan combine 1 cup rinsed quinoa with 1 3/4 cup water, 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, let it cook uncovered until the water dries up a little. Then you can cover and cook quinoa on low for 15 minutes.
- Remove covered pot from heat and allow to rest 5 minutes.
- Fluff and enjoy!
In a Rice Cooker
- Begin by rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh colander or sieve and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds until the water runs clear.
- In the rice cooker combine 1 cup rinsed quinoa with 1 3/4 cup water, 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir and cover.
- Turn the rice cooker on and let the magic begin. It will cook between 15 to 30 minutes and will automatically shut off when it’s done.
- After the rice cooker shuts off, allow about 5 minutes for the quinoa to rest.
- Fluff and enjoy!
In an Instant Pot
- Start by rinsing the quinoa through a fine mesh colander or sieve and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds until the water runs clear.
- Spray the inside of your instant pot with non-stick spray or oil to prevent sticking.
- In the instant pot combine 1 1/2 cup water with 1 cup rinsed quinoa, 1 tsp. olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt.
- Close and lock the lid and set the steam valve to “sealing”.
- Press the “manual” button and cook for 1 minute on high pressure. The pressure will build for about 5 minutes before it cooks.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes release the remaining pressure.
- Fluff and enjoy your cooked quinoa!
In the Microwave
- Rinse the quinoa through a fine mesh colander or sieve and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds until the water runs clear.
- In a large, microwave safe bowl combine 1 cup rinsed quinoa with 1 3/4 cup water, 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt.
- Place a microwave safe plate on top of the bowl and place in the microwave. Cook for 6 minutes on high.
- Remove and stir. recover with the lid and cook the quinoa 2 more minutes. Let the bowl rest 5 minutes covered until the water is absorbed.
- Fluff and enjoy!
What’s the ratio of quinoa to water?
For the best quinoa use a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 1 3/4 cup liquid. You can used both water or a low-sodium broth to cook the grains.
Do you have to rinse quinoa?
While some quinoa packages come pre-rinsed, I would still recommend rinsing the quinoa before cooking each time. When you rinse quinoa, it removes a natural coating around the quinoa called saponin.
This coating helps protect the quinoa from pests and bugs, which is also why it’s easier to grow organically. Skipping the rinse results in a slightly bitter flavor to the quinoa.
How do you know quinoa is done?
One of the best ways to tell your quinoa is cooked is the little spiral that pops around the seed. It is usually a white-ish color and looks like a halo around the quinoa.
Is quinoa better than rice?
For flavor and texture, it’s completely your personal preference which you think is better. As far as the nutritional aspect, quinoa contains more fiber and protein than cooked rice making it the healthier option.
How long does cooked quinoa last?
Quinoa cooked and stored in an airtight container lasts for up to a week in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can freeze cooked quinoa for up to 8-12 months.
Recipes for Cooked Quinoa
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Southwest Shrimp Quinoa Salad
- Caribbean Jerk Fish Bowl
- Beef Stew with Tomato Sauce
- Grilled Chicken Lime Bowls
More tutorials you may find useful
- How to cook Cauliflower Rice
- How to Bake Potatoes
- How to Poach an Egg
- How to make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you including this delicious and simple Quinoa Recipe. I hope you try it, enjoy it, and share it with your friends and family!
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