Quinoa is one of those whole grains that people either love or hate. It's not uncommon to hear complaints of a bitter or iron-like aftertaste, or a mushy texture. Those are both valid complaints if the quinoa is not prepared correctly. As with many ingredients, there is a proper technique for cooking quinoa perfectly every time. It's worth taking the time to learn! Quinoa is truly a wonderful, healthy whole grain. There's a reason it's known as a "superfood."
Things You'll Need
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water + more for rinsing (see Step #1 notes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fine mesh strainer
Medium-sized saucepan with tight-fitting lid
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Tools
Quinoa cooks at a 2:1 ratio (2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of quinoa, which can be scaled up as needed). I'm using water for the purposes of this tutorial, but there's room for creativity here depending on how you like to enjoy grains. For example, you can use chicken or vegetable stock in place of water (or 50% water + 50% stock) for a more savory dish to serve alongside a main course. Or, you can use milk (dairy or nondairy) as the liquid to create a breakfast porridge.
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Step 2: Triple-Wash the Quinoa
This step might seem like overkill, but it's worth it. 15 minutes of mostly inactive prep time will guarantee that any unpleasant aftertaste is removed from the quinoa. Place the quinoa in the fine mesh strainer, and place the strainer in a bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water, briefly stirring the quinoa so that it sinks to the bottom. Allow the quinoa to soak for 5 minutes. Discard the soaking water, rinse the quinoa, and repeat the same process twice for a total of 3 washes in 15 minutes. If you're pressed for time you can get away with 2 washes, but I recommend triple-washing for best results.
Step 3: Cook the Quinoa
Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan, and add 2 cups fresh water along with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the quinoa sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
Step 4: Stir With a Fork Before Serving
After 5 minutes, remove the cover and use a fork to gently fluff the cooked quinoa, which will have flattened in the pot.