Did you know that September is Whole Grains Month? It’s a perfect time to launch our Whole Grain Series, where each month we will feature tips on how to cook a whole grain so you can start enjoying them in your daily menu rotation.
Whole Grain Quinoa
By now you have heard of the numerous health benefits of whole grain quinoa. Despite being used in cooking and eating in the same way as most staple cereals, quinoa is considered a pseudocereal instead of a “true” cereal like wheat, because it is technically a broadleaf plant related to spinach and Swiss chard. Originally from South America, quinoa has a rich history as a crop dating back thousands of years and was so prized by the Incas that they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” While the seeds most familiar to us may be the pearly white ones, quinoa seeds actually come in many colors including red, brown, yellow, black or pink. Quinoa is sold in either prepackaged containers or bulk bins at the store. If you are buying from the bulk bins, make sure there is no evidence of moisture inside the container. As always, buy from a store with a good turnover rate.
How To Cook Quinoa
Starting Amount: 1/2 cup raw
Pre-Soaking Requirement: No
Pre-Rinsing Requirement: Yes. Rinse under running water to remove the soapy saponins that have a bitter taste. (Most boxed quinoas you can buy in the US have been pre-rinsed, but you can always have a quick taste while rinsing to be sure.)
Cooking Liquid: 3/4 cup water (you can use broth, if preferred)
Cooking Time: Let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes on the stove, with lid on. Then remove from heat and let sit for another 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Resulting Yield: 1.5 cups cooked
Nutritional Information (1/2 cup cooked Quinoa):
- Calories: 111 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 19.7 g
- Protein: 4.1 g
- Fat: 1.8 g
- Fiber: 2.6 g
- Glycemic Index: Low