How to prepare Australian quinoa

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The white, organic quinoa sold at Woodstone Pantry is grown right here in Australia, supporting local farmers and reducing the costs (both financial and environmental) associated with importing quinoa from South America. 

Today I want to share some quick and simple ways to prepare Australian quinoa to ensure it is tasty, fluffy and to reduce any bitterness. 

technically a seed

Quinoa is technically not a grain but a seed grown on a flowering plant from the amaranth family. It is also related to plants such as beetroot and spinach.

a complete protein 

It is one of the rare plants which contains all of the essential amino acids making it a fantastic form of protein. 

gluten free

Quinoa is gluten free, making it a great alternative for those who are allergic or intolerant to wheat. You can also grind quinoa into a flour to use in gluten free baking. 

quinoa likes a bath and a wash before you cook it 

The surface of quinoa contains a naturally occuring chemical called saponin, protecting the seed from insects and birds. It gives the quinoa a bitter and soapy taste and can also cause digestive upset in some individuals. The saponin and the bitterness can be eliminated by washing and rinsing your quinoa before cooking. Whilst most commercial quinoa is pre-washed, most Australian grown quinoa is un-washed. I suggest thoroughly rinsing your quinoa using a fine mesh sieve under cool running water to ensure you get great tasting quinoa. 

I would suggest to go a step further and soak quinoa overnight in warm water and a splash of something acidic such as whey, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Soaking your grains for 12-24 hours with a splash of an acidic releases the phytic acid (an anti-nutrient found in grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, that binds to and can prevent us from absorbing the nutrients) and activates the phytase (an enzyme that helps them to digest). Once soaked, continue to thoroughly rinse the quinoa before cooking.

best way to cook it 

After soaking and rinsing the quinoa, I cook quinoa in a saucepan using the absorption method, using approximately 2 cups of liquid for every cup of quinoa. Bring the pot to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the little quinoa 'tails' are visible. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using a fork to fluff it up. 

Another suggestion is to cook quinoa using stock. This gives it more flavour, especially if using in a salad. 

my favourite way to enjoy quinoa

My favourite way to enjoy quinoa would have to be a roast vegetable quinoa salad. Roasted pumpkin, sweet potato and cherry tomatoes, mixed with spinach and chunks of danish fetta, yum! 

Check out this recipe by one of my favourite website, The Roasted Root. 

What is your favourite way to prepare quinoa?! 

Enjoy and happy cooking!

Alicia x 

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