A Better Way to Prepare Quinoa

quinoa-recipesIf you enjoy cooking with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), then you’ll appreciate the latest preparation tips from Martha Rose Shulman. Once you perfect your prep, you’ll be rewarded with five delicious new salads made with quinoa. Ms. Shulman writes:

I’m always tweaking the way I cook quinoa, and this week I changed my method for basic quinoa. I’d been cooking it sort of like pasta, in 3 parts water, then draining it and letting it dry out in a towel-covered pan. Ordinarily, this is a good way to obtain very fluffy grains, and you get a lot of volume too. But lately I’ve been finding that my quinoa is soggy — more waterlogged than fluffy — when I cook it this way, even after it rests under the towel. Are the grains different? I don’t know.

Whatever the reason, I decided to change the grain-to-water ratio and followed the directions on my Alter Eco quinoa packages (Alter Eco is a company dedicated to fair-trade foods, and they import red, rainbow and pearl quinoas). I cooked the pearl and the red quinoas in 1 1/2 parts water and the rainbow in 2 parts water. The black quinoa in the rainbow mix takes a little longer to soften and requires a little more liquid to be properly hydrated. The grains were tighter and less moist than quinoa cooked in abundant water, and the yield was not as great because the grains don’t swell as much. But I liked the results, especially for salads, which were the destination for my quinoa experiments.

Quinoa makes great salads because it has such a vegetal flavor. It can be the main ingredient or a lesser element added for texture and variation. This week’s recipes have great staying power, so make some of these on a Sunday and take them to work during the week.

Courtesy of New York Times.

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