Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is one of those “superfoods” — full of all sorts of nutrients and goodness that we’re supposed to be eating. Everyone I know who loves healthy foods suggested I replace Brown Rice with quinoa. I tried some a while back but found it to be a bit bitter. Not only that, it’s more than twice the price of brown rice. Ouch. At our local Meijer, Ancient Harvest brand Inca Red Quinoa in a 12 oz box runs $5.48 unless it’s on sale or I have a coupon.
Recently, I tried it again, only this time I made a mixture of brown rice and quinoa. I also tried the Inca Red variety of Quinoa. I believe strongly that we eat with our eyes first, so we need for food to look good and be visually interesting, even on a tight budget. The reddish brown color of the Inca Red quinoa looks really nice mixed in with the tan color of brown rice. The brown rice also helps to mellow out the flavor of the Quinoa, while still providing the nutrition.
How do you Cook Quinoa?
Well, Quinoa cooks up just like brown rice, only it’s smaller and roundish. You’ll find some little “strands” after it’s cooked — this is normal from the quinoa.
Always rinse quinoa before you cook it. This will help the flavor.
I prefer to cook it by adding 1/4 cup of Quinoa and 1 3/4 cup of brown rice to a medium pan (my “grains pan”, which has a tight fitting lid and is just right for making my brown rice or other grains in). Add 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn down to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until most of the water is gone.
The two main reasons why I make it with brown rice or other grains is:
- cost (quinoa is expensive, so I don’t make a large pot of just quinoa)
- taste (quinoa is a bit intense flavor-wise; mixing it with brown rice mellows it out)
Most instructions at this point would say to keep simmering until all of the water is gone. This is how most people wind up burning their rice .
The heat from simmering will continue to “cook” the rice and quinoa just fine. Leave it covered and sitting for about 10 more minutes, or until there is no more water visible.
Fluff with a fork and serve.
This keeps in your fridge for about a week, for use in other recipes.
How do You Use Quinoa?
I use this quinoa-brown rice mixture for stir fries, fried rice, rice pilaf, or any kind of salad. Basically, I use the mixture of quinoa and brown rice any way I’d use brown rice. This adds some nutrition, and looks a bit more interesting than just rice on your plate.