Quinoa is an ancient grain with a long history as a superfood. It hails from the Andes Mountain region. Just because it’s old, though, doesn’t mean you have to prepare it over a fire or with a mortar and pestle. You can cook quinoa with all sorts of modern techniques, including the microwave.
For a fast and delicious dish, continue reading to learn how to properly cook quinoa in the microwave.
What Is Quinoa?
Here’s a little clarification regarding quinoa and what it is, exactly. Lots of people call it a grain. But, it isn’t actually a grain because it doesn’t come from grass. It’s a seed. The reason it is often called a grain is because they share similar properties and cooking methods.
There are over 120 varieties of quinoa.
The most popular varieties are white quinoa, red quinoa, and black quinoa. All these varieties have one thing in common — they are incredibly healthy. Quinoa is considered by some to be a superfood because it offers so many life-sustaining nutrients.1
What Are The Health Benefits Of Quinoa?
Quinoa is high in potassium, healthy amino acids, vitamins and minerals.2 It’s a carbohydrate as well as a source of plant-based protein. And the high levels of protein supply all of the essential amino acids required for life.3
Additionally, it is very low in fat and can help support healthy cholesterol levels.4
Quinoa is also gluten-free. Given its similarity to traditional wheat and grain, it can make a great replacement for these foods, especially for those with gluten sensitivity.
Cooking With Quinoa — The Healthy Substitute
A daily serving of cooked quinoa can help ensure you receive many of your essential vitamins and nutrients.5
Quinoa For Any Meal, Even Breakfast
Like bread and rice, quinoa is great at any time of day.
Try quinoa for breakfast. The natural, nutty flavor goes great with maple syrup and cinnamon for a tasty replacement for oatmeal or cream of wheat.
Cooked quinoa for breakfast is a great way to start the day. It can keep you feeling full for long periods of time. Studies show that it is more satiating than traditional cereal items.6 You may feel satisfied longer and be less likely to reach for a mid-morning snack.
The same is true for lunch and dinner. A scoop of quinoa next to your black beans in place of white rice may have very similar effects.
How To Cook Quinoa In The Microwave — Perfect And Healthy
So, it’s time to answer the question: How do you cook quinoa quickly, efficiently and safely in the microwave? The sooner it’s done, the sooner you can serve it and enjoy all the tasty benefits.
You can cook quinoa in the microwave with either water or vegetable broth. This recipe works for red quinoa, white quinoa, or your favorite organic quinoa.
Cooking with plastic in the microwave may have negative health effects.7 Make sure to cook your quinoa in a microwave-safe container such as a glass or ceramic dish. For the recipe below, you will need a container with an air-tight lid.
Ingredients For Delicious Microwaved Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
Quinoa In The Microwave Instructions:
- Rinse your quinoa — Pour your dry quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under warm water. This is an important step. It removes saponin from the quinoa. Saponin is a phytochemical that can give quinoa a bitter taste.
- Combine quinoa and cooking liquid — After a nice quinoa rinse, place your rinsed quinoa in a microwave-safe, airtight container. Add your cooking liquid. Cover your airtight container and place in the microwave.
- Cook for 6 minutes.
- Fluff And Stir — When the timer goes off, let the quinoa rest 30 seconds. The container will be hot. Remove container using an oven mitt or kitchen towel and take off the lid. Use a fork to fluff and stir the quinoa. About half the liquid should be gone.
- Cover again and cook — Cover your partially cooked quinoa again. Set the timer for a two minute cooking time. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so the quinoa continues to cook.
- Enjoy your cooked quinoa — Remove the lid and fluff again if necessary. Stir in a little olive oil and add salt (and other seasonings if you wish). You can also serve on a dish with your favorite veggies.
Other Ways To Cook Quinoa
A house without a microwave doesn’t need to be a house without quinoa. There are two other great ways to cook perfect quinoa at home.
Ingredients For Stovetop Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
Stovetop Quinoa Instructions:
- Rinse your quinoa — Follow the same instructions as the microwave recipe.
- Combine quinoa and cooking liquid — Add the rinsed quinoa and cooking liquid to a saucepan and place over medium-high heat.
- Cook quinoa — Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer. Cook until the quinoa absorbs all the liquid, about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove and cover — Remove the pan from the heat and cover for five minutes. This helps the quinoa pop open and become fluffy. Remove the lid and stir the quinoa with a fork to fluff it more. Taste and add salt, olive oil, or seasoning to your liking.
Pressure Cooker Quinoa
Ingredients For Pressure Cooker Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water or vegetable broth
Pressure Cooker Quinoa Instructions:
- Rinse your quinoa — Follow the same instructions to rinse your quinoa as the microwave recipe.
- Combine quinoa and cooking liquid — Add the rinsed quinoa and cooking liquid into your pressure cooker and turn to medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Open and stir — Open your pressure cooker and fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork.
Quinoa: A Simply Delicious Superfood
Hopefully, the ease of these quinoa cooking tips will inspire you to prepare it for your next meal. Cooked quinoa at-the-ready opens all sorts of culinary doors for you. Reheat it with a splash of almond milk and maple syrup for breakfast. Spoon it onto a tortilla next to your black beans for a healthier take on burrito night.
There’s a whole, ancient world of healthy quinoa possibilities. Find the cooking method that works best for you. Then, take that perfectly cooked quinoa and use it as a healthy substitute for rice and grains. Aside from the delicious taste, you will also love all the added vitamins, protein, and nutritional value.