What can I tell you about quinoa? It’s a seed of a grain-like crop and is gluten-free. It’s considered a complete protein and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. Most importantly, it tastes good IF you cook it correctly. These are some good reasons to eat it!
I shipped a small bag of Trader Joes quinoa from the U.S. to Denmark when I moved here, since I wasn’t sure if they had it here. As it turns out, they do have it here. Not only do they have it here, it’s called “quinoa” in Danish so it’s easy for me to find in the food store. Bonus.
Since I’ve been married, quinoa is the one thing I fed by husband that he didn’t like. This was devastating for me as a newlywed! I made it for him over the summer, using the small bag from Trader Joes. After we had it with dinner one night, he looked at me and said, “I don’t hate this, but it’d be ok with me if I never had to eat it again.” I didn’t want to eat it either! It was bland, wet, and heavy. So we went 6 months without eating any more quinoa. Here’s why we started eating it again….
Last month, a lovely woman who is currently living in Copenhagen reached out to me on Facebook after she found my blog. She asked me to teach a cooking class for her and a few friends. How fun! We met and talked about food, life, what it’s like to live in Copenhagen, what the cooking class would look like…and quinoa. We talked about quinoa. Quinoa! That was a first for me. She told me that she “really, really” likes it.
After our meeting, I went straight to the store, determined to create a brand new recipe using quinoa with her in mind, and the option to include it on the menu for the day of the cooking class. I needed my husband to taste test it with me, though. How was I going to get my husband to eat quinoa again, which would likely involve multiple rounds of testing? This quinoa was going to have to be good, and possibly in disguise.
After writing 3 recipes and testing them multiple times, we liked two of them. One of them was definitely the best, and my husband said, “This was really good! I’d eat this again!” Since then, we’ve had this recipe 4 times.
I’ll be sharing that recipe with you next week. But first, we must learn how to make quinoa properly so it’s not bland, wet, and heavy. Follow these easy instructions and you’ll be all set!
- Rinse and drain your quinoa. It’s usually pre-rinsed to remove the bitter and naturally occurring “saponin” that forms on it. However, I like to rinse it anyway. I also wash lettuce that says it’s been “triple washed”. 🙂
- Add the quinoa, chicken broth (or water), and salt to a medium sized saucepan. I highly suggest using chicken broth. It’ll add much more flavor than water. Bring everything to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Be sure to use the correct dry quinoa to liquid ratio. The ratio is 1 to 1.5. This will prevent it from being too wet. Some packages have directions that suggest a ratio of 1 to 2. That’s too much water. Trust me. I tested it!
- Remove the pot from the stove and let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. The quinoa will continue to cook and dry out a bit, which will make it fluffy instead of heavy. Important step!
Here’s a picture that shows the heavy and wet quinoa on the left and the fluffy quinoa on the right. You can tell if you look closely at the picture.
Next week, I’ll be sharing my new recipe that uses quinoa. In the meantime, you can enjoy a small bowl of quinoa with some good extra virgin olive oil, salt, and some parsley. Enjoy!
Yield: 1½ cups quinoa (three 1/2-cup servings)
½ cup dry quinoa
¾ cup chicken broth or water
½ teaspoon salt
- Rinse and drain the quinoa in a fine sieve. (See note for why)
- Add the quinoa, chicken broth (or water), and salt to a medium sized saucepan. Bring everything to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the stove and let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. The quinoa will continue to cook and dry out a bit, which will make it fluffy. This is an important step! If you skip this step, the quinoa will be heavy.
- Handy table for you…
|Dry Quinoa||Liquid||Yield (cooked)|
|½ cup||¾ cup||1½ cups|
|1 cup||1½ cups||3 cups|
|1½ cups||2¼ cups||4½ cups|
|2 cups||3 cups||6 cups|
- Quinoa is usually pre-rinsed to remove the bitter and naturally occurring “saponin” that forms on it. However, I like to rinse it anyway. I also wash lettuce that says it’s been “triple washed”.
- Use chicken broth if you are making the quinoa to eat by itself or in a savory dish. It will be more flavorful. If you don’t have chicken broth, you can certainly use water. However, chicken broth is as easy as throwing 4 cups of water and some leftover chicken bones from dinner into a medium sized pot (uncovered) for a 30-60 minutes lively simmer. Sometimes I throw a carrot or celery stalk in there as well. Use what you need and freeze the rest.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (½ cup quinoa): 113 Calories, 2g Fat, 13mg Sodium, 16g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 0g Sugar, 5g Protein