Making Fluffy Quinoa is a kitchen technique that every at-home Chef can easily master. Quinoa is versatile, lightly textured, slightly nutty in flavor and did I mention ... healthy!
Quinoa is a fun new ingredient that your whole family will love. I keep quinoa as a staple pantry item - right next to my other dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, seeds and nuts.
Achieving fluffy quinoa (as opposed to mushy, overcooked quinoa) is easier than you think. Make fluffy quinoa every time with my easy tips. And get my recipe for Spiced Fluffy Quinoa. Fluffy Quinoa how-to...
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) has become quite the trendy grain over the past few years (and actually it's really a seed). Well you can embrace the quinoa hype...
Quinoa is high in protein (for a grain/seed), is gluten free, rich in fiber, magnesium, iron and more. See complete nutrition facts in this quinoa super food post. And see the quinoa plant here.
But the best part about quinoa is it's ability to get super fluffy in texture. More so than rice or even couscous. The quinoa "blooms" and unravels as it cooks and if you've set yourself up for success - the end result is a bowl full of fluffy snowflake-like quinoa that is delicious and healthy. Serve it warm or cold. Sprinkle quinoa onto salads, serve as a side dish, use in place or rice in recipes, fold in chopped veggies, seeds, beans or nuts or even make 'breakfast quinoa' in place of oatmeal.
...Or quinoa risotto! My Almond Coconut Quinoa Risotto with Saffrom Mushroom Gravy recipe here.
How-to Make Fluffy Quinoa Every Time: Tips
Tip 1: Rinse it.
Rinse your dry quinoa in water before cooking. This removes some of the 'mush-promoting' grit on the grain.
Tip 2: Less is More. (Water)
Most boxes of quinoa say to add 2 cups of water for every one cup of dry quinoa. I say that is too much! And remember if you are rinsing your quinoa you will be adding a bit more water anyways. For fluffy quinoa, less water is more. I do 1 part dry quinoa : 1 1/2 parts water ratio - then I rinse the quinoa and drain as much water as I can. For the Spiced Quinoa recipe below I added in some dry spices so the water amount increases a tad.
Tip 3: No Peeking!
Once you close that pot lid over your cooking quinoa - no peeking! And no stirring! You don't want to disturb the quinoa fluff factory bubbling inside.
Tip 4: Let it Sit.
After cooking and before you lift the lid, turn OFF the stove and in the words of Kelly Clarkson, "Just Walk Away." Let the quinoa sit for a good 5-10 minutes. Again - no peeking!
Tip 5: Stick a Fork in it.
Fluff your cooked quinoa with a fork. No mush-enhancing spoons allowed.
Now lets apply what we've learned to my Spiced Quinoa recipe..
Spiced Fluffy Quinoa
vegan, makes 4 fluffy bowls of quinoa
1 cup + 2 Tbsp dry, unrinsed quinoa
1 2/3 cup water
dry spice mix:
sea salt (salt to taste! - I used 1 tsp citrus sea salt)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
optional: 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or any veg oil)
1. Measure out your quinoa. Add to a larger bowl and begin the rinsing process. I do 2-3 rinses. To rinse: fill the bowl with water, swirl the quinoa around a bit and carefully drain off the top water. The quinoa acts like sand a bit - a few grains float to the top, but they mostly sink to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat and repeat. You'll notice the water gets less murky after the final rinse.
2. Place your spices in a prep bowl and set aside. Measure out about 1 and 2/3 cups of water - set aside.
3. Toss your dry spices with the rinsed/drained quinoa until each quinoa grain is well coated with light spice. The wetness of the quinoa allows the spices to easily stick.
Fold in spices:
4. Place your large pot on stove and turn on heat. You can either add the water and bring to a boil. Or you can toast the spiced/rinsed quinoa in the dry pan, heat on, for a few minutes to bring out the nuttiness of the quinoa and spices. Your call. Today I simply boiled my water, then add my quinoa - it was yummy.
5. Bring quinoa/water to a boil. Cover pot with lid. Reduce heat to a simmer. Walk away for 12-15 minutes.
6. After around 12-15 minutes, walk over to the stove and turn the heat off. Walk away again.
7. After about 5-10 minutes remove the lid allowing a lot of steam to escape in a gush. Instant quinoa steam facial.
8. Grab your fork and fluff the quinoa.
Fluff with fork:
Serve warm as is - or fold in a dash of nutritional yeast, seasoned rice vinegar, EVOO, apple cider vinegar, chopped veggies, nuts, beans - whatever you'd like. You can also chill your quinoa in the fridge and serve cold.
Fluffy quinoa! Bravo!
*Leave the lid on longer after cooking.
*Cook for a few more minutes.
*Add less water.
*Rinse your quinoa more.
*Try and try again.