Looking for an answer to the question – how to cook quinoa perfectly? This you’re in the right place because our guide on cooking quinoa will tell you about the nutritional value of quinoa and the dos and don’ts of cooking it.
Quinoa is becoming an increasingly popular food for its nutritional properties and high digestibility. Let’s find out how to best use it in the kitchen with tricks and mistakes not to be made for both health and the environment.
Small beans with a delicate flavor and a mysterious nature: quinoa has been on our tables for years now but for some it still remains an unknown and difficult to pronounce food. The time has come to make its complete identikit.
The scientific name for quinoa is Chenopodium quinoa and it comes from South America. The first great revelation is that it is not a cereal, but a herbaceous plant with edible grains. That’s right! It is very similar to barley and rice, but it does not belong to the same family. In fact, it’s even better.
Quinoa, unlike cereals, contains all 8 essential amino acids and is gluten free. It is not only ideal for celiacs but also for nickel allergy sufferers who need to follow a purifying diet. And it is good for everyone.
The Properties Of Quinoa
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, quinoa is a good source of folate and an excellent source of magnesium. It contains all 9 essential amino acids necessary for the functioning of our body (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine and tryptophan), presenting a good overall balance between proteins and carbohydrates. Its protein content is higher than that of rice, millet and wheat.
It is also an important source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), believed to be able to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and to promote the metabolic processes of muscle and brain cells. The saponins contained in quinoa are considered capable of promoting the healing of skin lesions.
Quinoa does not contain gluten and can be safely consumed by those suffering from celiac disease or intolerance to it. In addition to some B vitamins, quinoa contains vitamin C and vitamin E, which performs an important protective function against the circulatory system and body tissues, thanks to its ability to fight free radicals.
Quinoa is nutritious and not overly caloric. In fact, it has an intake of 368 calories per 100 grams. In 100 grams of quinoa there are 4.6 milligrams of iron, 11.49 grams of protein, 47 milligrams of calcium and well 197 milligrams of magnesium (almost 50% of the recommended daily ration).
Cooked quinoa consists of 71.6% water, 21.3% carbohydrates, 4.4% protein, and 1.92% fat. One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories.
The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of cooked quinoa are:
- Calories: 120
- Water: 72%
- Protein: 4.4 grams
- Carbs: 21.3 grams
- Sugar: 0.9 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 1.9 grams
A Guide To Cooking Quinoa Perfectly – Tips For Making Scrumptious & Healthy Meals
The low glycemic index, the high antioxidant power and the richness of fibers complete the range of its virtuous qualities. But how to use it in the kitchen?
Quinoa is very versatile and adapts to different preparations, from cold salads to more elaborate recipes. We reveal 5 tricks and 5 mistakes not to make to cook it.
5 Tricks To Cook Quinoa
Rinse it thoroughly – Quinoa seeds contain saponins, useful to prevent it from being eaten by birds. For this reason, it should be left to soak for at least 30 minutes before cooking, otherwise it would have a too bitter taste.
Cook it well – To make it easy to digest, quinoa must be cooked for as long as necessary in boiling water (about 15 minutes). You will understand that it is well cooked when the beans have swollen and a small white shoot is visible.
Toast it before boiling it – Before boiling quinoa, roast it on medium-low flame. Skillet-toasting quinoa will add texture and flavor to the dish. Stir or shake the pan occasionally, until it is lightly dried out and toasted (about 15 minutes). It will make slight popping sounds as it is about to be done. Toasting quinoa will make the flavor more intense and tastier. This is ideal for use in soups or salads.
Cook it in the right amount of water – For 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, you’ll want 2 cups of water. This will yield 3 cups of cooked quinoa. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and pop the lid on.
Leave it to rest after cooking – Remove the pot from the heat, but leave the lid on. Wait about 15 minutes and then turn with a fork. This will allow the quinoa to attain the perfect texture. Add a drizzle of oil and your quinoa will be ready for quick salads.
5 Mistakes To Avoid With Quinoa
Do not overeat it – Even quinoa contains unwanted substances. Oxalates, for example, inhibit the absorption of some mineral salts and are not suitable for those suffering from kidney stones. Furthermore, its enormous consumption can also be a problem from an environmental point of view. Its success is in fact making its cultivation unsustainable, especially in the Andes.
Do not let children under 2 eat it – Very young children do not have a well-developed digestive system and the saponins cannot be digested by them. It can also cause asthma-like symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, or tightness of chest
Avoid making it like baby food – After cooking, quinoa may become too watery and unsuitable for drier preparations. For this it is good to filter the seeds before proceeding with the dressing.
Do not cook it for more than 15 minutes – You might be tempted to cook quinoa until it has absorbed every last bit of liquid, but resist that urge. Remove the lid from the pan and let the quinoa continue to cook in the residual heat so that it can absorb the liquid. Don’t overcook it. This will sacrifice quinoa’s texture and rendering it mushy & flavorless.
Not draining it after its cooked – Quinoa holds lots of water, so you have to make sure you drain it thoroughly after it’s cooked. Otherwise, it will make your whole dish watery.
Is quinoa a superfood?
In recent years, studies have expanded the nutritional properties and health benefits of quinoa. Some of the studies conducted so far on quinoa have shown that this food contains all the essential amino acids that our body needs to derive from food for the production of proteins.
The consumption of quinoa is suitable for everyone, even those with celiac disease, since it is gluten-free. Quinoa is rich in antioxidants, is a source of calcium, has excellent nutritional properties, is a satiating and energetic food, but at the same time light and very digestible.
In addition, quinoa has a glycemic index considered low, equal to 53, and science is digging out its usefulness in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes and to improve the metabolism of our body.
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