Best Basic Quinoa- Ignore Package Directions

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Quinoa is a highly nutritious, gluten-free food originating in the Andes Mountains. Though not a true grain it can easily replace couscous, rice, and bulgur. I usually serve it as a side dish with roasted chicken or poached salmon. When I serve it plain, I sometimes boil white quinoa with turmeric for color contrast and add some toasted nuts on top. This time I used a combination of chopped pistachios and mint that I toasted in a skillet with some coconut oil and sea salt.

When I follow the package directions for most quinoa it results in overcooked and mushy grains. The directions usually recommend boiling a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water then simmering until all water is absorbed. I prefer grains that still have some bite and firm texture. I start with soaking the quinoa overnight to remove any bitter taste from its natural coating of saponin and improve digestion. Soaking grains in an acidic environment can help break done phytates that can interfere with mineral absorption. After a thorough rinse, I prepare the quinoa the way you would boil pasta. This way I can test for doneness to my preference, even after an overnight soak. This works for both red and white quinoa and when combining both.


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Basic Quinoa
Use this method for both red and white quinoa. If you choose not to soak the quinoa overnight begin with step 3 of the recipe.

1 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
1 tablespoon turmeric (optional for when making white quinoa)
sea salt to taste

1. Soak the quinoa with the apple cider vinegar in double the amount of water overnight.
2. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve.
3. Rinse well with water.
4. Place rinsed quinoa in a medium pot with 3 times the amount of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until quinoa is translucent. Taste the quinoa once its simmering to test for doneness, its best not to overcook.
5. Drain in a fine mesh sieve and serve.

Note: To re-heat place the leftover quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and put it in a pot of simmering water to steam until warm.

I reheat leftover quinoa in a fine mesh sieve over simmering water. This maintains the texture of the quinoa and allows for an easier cleanup.


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