A Quick Quinoa Primer
Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but in fact, it is a seed. Some compare it to couscous, but I think it is lighter and more flavorful. Favored by the Incas, quinoa cooks up quickly, is high in protein and delicious. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has recently made the leap from the health food store to the grocery store with good reason. Vegetarians love it because of the protein content; I love it because it is yummy and cooks in about 10 minutes.
So here are some basic quinoa cooking tips: first of all, always rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the bitter casing — a simple cold water rinse will do. Add the rinsed quinoa to a large pot of briskly boiling water, reduce heat, and simmer for 11 minutes or until the seeds extend little tails. Drain. For a basic pilaf, I immediately toss the quinoa with lemon or lime juice and let it sit for 10 minutes or so to steam before adding extra virgin olive oil and a good handlful of finely chopped herbs. I often make a large amount and hold some back to have in the fridge to add to salads or to serve with fruit and yogurt for breakfast. Quinoa flakes are also available; if you make your own granola, they make a nice addition. I’ve also seen quinoa flour on the shelves, but I haven’t tried working with it yet. If you have, let me know!