How to Cook Perfect Quinoa

Similar to a cereal, this vegetable is excellent in sweet and savory preparations. Provided you cook it the right way.

Quinoa is very similar to cereals, but actually belongs to the family of spinach and beets. Particularly loved by those who have to avoid gluten, appreciated by vegans and vegetarians, quinoa is rich in vegetable proteins. To better appreciate the basic food of the Andean people, here are the tricks and secrets on how to cook quinoa to perfection.

How to cook quinoa: mistakes not to be made

Those who have tasted quinoa and have not appreciated it, have probably cooked it in the wrong way. It is essential to always rinse the beans thoroughly under plenty of running water: to protect this fake cereal there is saponin, a bitter substance with an unpleasant taste that is not good to be found in the dish (even if it is absolutely harmless to humans). Then forget to cook quinoa like any other boiled cereal: for each glass of well rinsed quinoa you put in the pot, add two glasses of water (or broth), salt, light the fire and cook the beans for about 10-12 minutes, after which the liquid should have been absorbed. There will be no need to drain and risk destroying the small seeds.

Quinoa: which one to choose?

Before you think about how to cook quinoa, you need to choose the right variety. On the market you will find white, red and black. The white is the one with the most neutral flavor, suitable for newbies or to prepare cakes. The red and black versions, on the other hand, have a more distinct and hazelnut taste.

How to cook quinoa: the tricks to make it better

Would you like to enhance the hazelnut scent of this pseudocereal? Roast the seeds for a few minutes (exactly as you do for risotto), before adding the cooking liquid. You can use any kind of broth or milk, cow or vegetable, for your sweet or salty recipe based on quinoa.

Quinoa in the kitchen: how to use it

There are no limits to using quinoa in the kitchen: it can replace pasta or rice in soups, it is very inviting sautéed with vegetables, but also in the oven for special pies or to thicken meatballs without eggs or breadcrumbs. Perfect for savoury recipes, quinoa can also be used in many desserts: cooked with cow’s or vegetable milk, it can replace oats in the porridge; it can be blended into puddings; it can be used for cereal bars to be baked in the oven and also to flavour cakes and biscuits.

How to eat quinoa: the right ingredients

The delicate taste of quinoa is particularly well combined with legumes and vegetables, especially mushrooms and pumpkin, raw or cooked. Ginger, cumin or cardamom are the spices that go best with this food, while from the point of view of animal protein you will not go wrong with white meat, fish or shrimp. For a sweet version, go free with vanilla, chocolate, raisins and hazelnuts.