The first step is to thoroughly rinse the quinoa with cold water in a fine-mesh strainer. This removes a somewhat bitter, soap-like coating of a naturally occurring substance called saponin.
Saponin is thought to be quinoa’s natural protection against insects, birds, and fungus and most of it is removed during processing, but rinsing is still a good idea for best results.
Place the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed about 12 minutes.
Quinoa turns translucent when fully cooked. Fluff with a fork, add seasonings or combine with other ingredients as you would rice or couscous.
Tips for Making This Recipe
Recipe Variation: Quinoa with Scallions
We serve this easy variation alongside our Spice Breaded Chicken Tenderloins, but it would make a great accompaniment for just about any grilled, roasted, or pan-seared protein.Prepare our basic recipe with the following substitutions:
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic until fragrant.
Add 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the broth has been absorbed, about 12 minutes.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 sliced scallions and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 3 minutes before serving.