Tips for Cooking Quinoa
Lately, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) isn’t as much of a mystery as it once was. It seems to be gracing restaurants and home menus more than ever.
But I still remember the first time Lauren and I tried quinoa. We were in college and bought a bag during one of our grocery trips. We cooked it according to the directions and ate it as a side dish. After trying it, we both just kind of looked at each other knowing what each other were thinking. (Yes, as twins, we can totally do that sort of thing.)
It was plain. There wasn’t much to it.
We knew we needed to add some sort of flavor. The next time we made it we swapped it for pasta and added a marinara sauce.
That didn’t go well either.
It had been some time until we decided to try it again. Once we started our plant-based journey, we decided to embrace it for all of its nutrition power. As it turns out, it has become a staple in our diet because we finally know how to use the powerhouse! These Quinoa Patties are our new favorite way to enjoy quinoa!
But what is it?
Quinoa isn’t a grain, although many describe it as one. It is actually a seed, but since it is cooked and eaten similar to grains, it is considered a pseudo-grain. In case you’re on Jeopardy someday, you should know quinoa is most biologically related to spinach, beets, and swiss chard.
When it comes to nutrition, while no single food can supply all of the essential nutrients to sustain life, quinoa comes pretty close & closer than any other food. So, if you are stranded on a deserted island, hope to find quinoa stalks!
(Look at that! Jeopardy and deserted island life saving tips all in one post!)
As for cooking quinoa, you should rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking. Uncooked and unwashed quinoa has a compound called saponins on the outer surface. It is a natural defense mechanism to prevent birds from eating the seed before harvesting.
If you forget to rinse (or, don’t buy pre-washed) it can result in a bitter tasting quinoa!
Here are my tips for cooking quinoa:
- Rinse well with water and until the water runs clear
- Cook in vegetable broth for a delicious flavor
- You can also cook quinoa the same way you cook pasta to forget about the (pseudo) grain to liquid ratio and even rinsing the quinoa all together.
But now for our new favorite quinoa recipe!
While the quinoa is cooking, in a small dish, add 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and 6 tablespoons of water. Mix and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the minced onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, vegan parm, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Once the quinoa is done, add it to the large bowl of ingredients. Add the flaxseed and water mixture. Mix until well combined.
Now, pre-heat the cooking method you are going to use. We loved these on the grill and used these grill mats to prevent them from falling through the slats. You could also cook them on a griddle, bake them in the oven (400 degrees, 15 minutes, flipping halfway), or place them in a fry pan on the stove.
Next, patty the mixture. The size of patties depends on your choice!
Once pattied, it’s time to cook! You can lightly spray the patties (both sides) with avocado oil, but this is optional and not necessary. Heat on the grill, griddle, or stove-top pan on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side. Cook until hot and crispy on each side.
Serve as an appetizer, snack, or a dinner main paired with a green salad and fruit. Enjoy!
P.S. I also loved dipping these patties in hummus!
Note: You can make these patties ahead of time and cook when ready to serve. If making ahead of time, they can be refrigerated up to 3 day for best flavor.
⅔ cup dry quinoa
1 ⅓ cup vegetable broth (or, water)
(Buying pre-cooked quinoa? You’ll need 2.5 cups)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
1 small onion, minced
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped, fresh parsley
(or, 2 tablespoons dried parsley)
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅔ cup Vegan Parm
⅛ -¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper