Quinoa 101

Quinoa lunch from TFC at UTM

Quinoa lunch 

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a popular type of “grain” used in everyday cooking due to its reaping health benefits. Not only is it gluten-free and full of protein but also delicious and extremely versatile. After finding out the numerous benefits to this tiny grain-like product, I have placed it top in my grocery list. With midterms and finals rolling around, I was unable to find the time to make the tedious trip to Wal-Mart. Luckily I came across a small plastic bowl filled with what looked like quinoa salad in the TFC at my university. I even had to double-check with the cafeteria lady since I would’ve never expected my school cafe to sell something as healthy as quinoa.

I was skeptical of my food at first mainly due to its coloring. The fact that it was brown meant that some kind of unknown dressing was mixed inside. The quinoa was a little soggy and not as fluffy as I hoped but considering that it was produced in a school cafeteria, I let that slide. There were also various diced vegetables in the bowl such as the three types of bell peppers, red onions, and carrots. It had a sweet and sour flavor accompanied with an extremely strong aftertaste of onions. The mysterious dressing was a little bit overpowering and took away from the light and fluffiness of actual quinoa. Overall I thought it was a good portion size for the price of $4  and although the flavor was too vinegary, it was decently-made for a school cafeteria. would however save $4 next time and make my version of quinoa salad.

How To Cook Quinoa

Step 1: Measure out the dry quinoa (1 cup of quinoa yields 2-3 cups of cooked quinoa)

Step 2: Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain using a fine-mesh sieve.

Step 3: Place the rinsed quinoa into a saucepan and add cold water (or broth if you want additional flavor). Similar to cooking rice, the quinoa to liquid ratio is 1:2 which means that for every cup of quinoa, use 2 cups of liquid. Add a pinch of salt for flavoring.

Step 4: Cover and bring to a boil. After it starts to boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes

Step 5: Gently fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve. Cooked quinoa should look transparent with tiny spiral sprouts.

Quinoa can be made into salads, breakfast cereals, frittatas, pilafs, sauces, and more.

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