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Perfect Quinoa Recipe: Plain Cooked

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

By Chef Oonagh Williams, Award-Winning Gluten-Free Chef

I like to cook raw quinoa as a rice substitute. I find it easy to cook a batch of quinoa in water and store it in the fridge in large-capacity glass Ball canning jars but with plastic screw top lids. I can use the stored, plain cooked quinoa for breakfast quinoa (pictured above), Spanish rice quinoa, quinoa rice salad, and countless other recipes. Quinoa is high in protein and fiber and contains essential amino acids important to a healthy diet. I enjoy eating cooked quinoa mixed with vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit in season or dried fruit and nuts for breakfast. The protein keeps me going and with fresh strawberries, nectarines etc. it tastes like an indulgent treat!

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and most bags I have seen state organic. There is no difference between white, black or red quinoa. 

Preparation
I always rinse my raw quinoa in a fine sieve, that I bought after my son was diagnosed with celiac disease. Quinoa is so tiny it will fall through a regular sieve/colander. Even though some packets of quinoa will tell you it has been pre rinsed, I still do a good rinse to be safe. I simply place the quinoa in the sieve and run cold water through it for a few minutes while gently rubbing the grains.  

How to Cook
There are lots of fussy methods for preparing quinoa, I’ve actually tried them all but prefer the simplest method. See below.

  1. Place 1 cup of raw quinoa and 2 cups of cold water, chicken or beef stock in a saucepan together. 
  2. Bring to a full boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer, set a timer and cook for 10 minutes.  
  3. Turn the heat off, leave the pan on the same hot burner to allow residual heat in the pot to continue cooking the quinoa for another 5 minutes. By the way, this does work on an induction burner. There’s no need to stir or lift the cover on the pan during the cooking process, but remember to remove the pan from the burner and remove the lid at the end of the 5 minutes ‘sitting’ time.  

Makes 3 cups of cooked quinoa. You might find that you prefer the quinoa to be softer.  So add a bit more water for cooking and also let it sit a bit longer to get the consistency you prefer. I also find that if you have quinoa that has sat in the cupboard a bit longer, then it has dried out more and needs more water and cooking – same as dried beans. 

You can find Chef Oonagh Williams at Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook, LinkedIn or her website. Chef Oonagh has a culinary arts degree, celiac disease and other food allergies. Remember most real food is naturally gluten-free until manufacturers ‘mess’ around with it and only baking really needs changing.

 

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