Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.
Quinoa That Actually Tastes Great!
Quinoa is a seed native to South America, and it's incredibly good for you. The problem is most of the time, it's prepared so that it's dry and tasteless. That's too bad—because it's delicious, nutty, and satisfying when cooked correctly.
Quinoa comes in a range of colors, although the most common (and least expensive) version is just plain beige or light brown. The key to making it taste good is to make sure to season the quinoa well before you cook it—this allows the seasoning to enter the individual grains and make it taste good from the inside out.
Water is the most common liquid in which to cook quinoa, and I use it all the time. You get great results with a nutty, neutral background, similar to brown rice. But you can use all kinds of liquids, including beef broth or stock, chicken broth or stock, or even vegetable broth. All of these bring their own flavors to the dish, and the results are terrific, depending on how you want to serve it. You can even throw in a dash of wine or good vinegar (I love champagne vinegar) to give the quinoa a hint of acid, which is really gorgeous.
The most important ingredient is salt, however. I use kosher salt for its bright, clean flavor. If you don't season from the beginning, however, the quinoa will be bland regardless of what else you might do for it. With kosher salt, the measurement for 4 finished cups of quinoa is a tablespoon or 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for 2 cups of uncooked quinoa. So be sure to season generously at the beginning, and you'll love the results.
Quinoa can be served on its own as a great side dish. But you can also add it to any number of other dishes. I like adding it to salads or soups for a protein and nutrition boost or using it as the base for amazing chopped salads on their own.
- 2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 4 cups liquid - water, chicken broth, beef broth or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Measure liquid, quinoa, and salt into the basin of a rice cooker, or into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- With a rice cooker, just hit cook. Seriously, that's all there is to it.
- For the stove top, bring the quinoa to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. The liquid will be fully absorbed. Don't lift the lid while the quinoa cooks.
- Pull the quinoa off the heat and fluff it gently with a fork. It's ready to go! Enjoy!
© 2018 Jan Charles