Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Tips: Preparing Quinoa

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I'm a little bit obsessed with quinoa right now. Okay, very obsessed.

It's a complete protein, gluten free, affordable, easy to make, and there are endless variations of ways to make it (and I've pinned about a million of them).  Its a great way to ensure you are getting enough protein, especially if you are vegan, vegetarian, or just trying to cut back on how much meat you eat.

Here's the tip: You have to soak it before cooking it. I never knew that you are supposed to soak grains, I guess because I hadn't ever cooked grains before. Doing so initiates the sprouting process, making it more digestable. You should soak the quinoa for 7 - 24 hours, so just throw it in some cold water in the morning before you leave for work and it will be ready to cook when you get home. Just rinse well after soaking & before cooking.

I'll be sharing some quinoa recipes soon, so be sure to check back! xo.


  1. love quinoa, we cook them in chicken broth for extra flavor!

  2. sooooooooo what happens if i never ever soak the quinoa? does that affect the protein or just the digest-ability?

  3. Thu: that sounds great! I'll have to try it.

    Michelle: I've been trying to figure that out, because I just discovered this last week. What I've found is that quinoa seeds have an outer coating which is high in saponins, which are bitter tasting compounds that can be mildly toxic and prohibit digestion. Soaking and then rinsing the quinoa removes this layer.

    I've also read that soaking all grains and seeds initiates the sprouting process, which helps release beneficial enzymes and breaks down difficult-to-digest proteins. So I would definitely, definitely recommend soaking and then rinsing well before you cook. Otherwise, you won't be able to digest the quinoa and get any of its benefits (including the protein).

    I hope that makes sense!

  4. Thanks for the tip! I never knew to soak quinoa before you cook it. We have some at home and now I'm inspired to make it. :)

  5. Hey Tiffany! I'm LOVING your blog! :) If I buy instant quinoa (such as the kind from Trader Joe's) do you know if it means that I shouldn't soak it as long? Thanks!

  6. Love the blog Tiff!! This is interesting...I have made quinoa plenty of times and never soaked it! Good to know, thanks!