Quinoa can be challenging to pronounce, but it can be even more difficult to cook to perfection. When prepared correctly, this seed has a variety of health benefits and can be a great staple in many different diets. On top of being full of protein and fiber, quinoa also contains iron, lysine, and magnesium, all of which are essential to our overall health. When cooking quinoa, whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth, there are some common mistakes our virtual nutritionist says you should avoid.
Cooking right from the bag: Unlike rice, quinoa should not be cooked right out of the package. There is a bitter-tasting coating on the seed containing phytochemicals in the saponin family. These naturally occurring chemicals should be rinsed off before boiling the quinoa. Not only will this layer taste bitter, but eating large amounts of it can sometimes cause gastrointestinal upset, damage to the intestinal wall, or even leaky gut. Prepare it traditionally by thoroughly rinsing the quinoa before cooking.
Not draining it properly: After you have cooked your quinoa, you want to make sure you’re draining it thoroughly. Quinoa holds a lot of water and can make your entire dish watery if you are not straining it well. A fine-mesh strainer is not only perfect for rinsing these seeds but draining the water from them as well.
Skip the fluffing: Once the quinoa is drained of all water, you should be returning it to the pan to let it sit covered for about 15 minutes. This will allow it to rest after the cooking process and will result in beautifully fluffy quinoa. Dumping it right from the strainer to your bowl can result in clumpy quinoa that is more difficult to dress evenly.