Welcome to Valley’s newest column, A Dash of Healthy! Columnist Corinne Fierro is a girl on a mission to reinvent what it means to be healthy in college, one meal at a time. She’s here to guide you through the kitchen, from the aisles of your grocery store to the finished plate. Catch Corinne every week for a new healthy recipe, along with her favorite tips, tricks and advice for eating well on a college budget.
BACK TO BASICS: HOW TO COOK QUINOA
Sometimes the best recipes are the most useful ones. When I talk to people about cooking, nine times out of 10 it’s the daunting task of following recipe techniques that prevents people from trying new things. They look at a recipe and think: “Braise the duck? I don’t even know what braise means.” *Closes book and goes to Chipotle* Even for the adventurous, a recipe can be ruined by overcooked pasta or undercooked rice. My point? The basics are a big deal.
Quinoa has a lot of appeal. Foodies go bananas over quinoa, mainly because it is a superfood that you don’t have to eat a whole ton of to get its benefits. Quinoa, as I’ve said before, has all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. You can sub any meat or tofu for quinoa and still get all the protein you’d need! This makes it a great option for vegetarians or gluten-free dieters who may be lacking in nutrition. Plus, quinoa has a great nutty, mild flavor which makes it an easy swap out for rice.
The bad news is that people don’t know how to cook quinoa or combine it. The good news is it’s very very simple. Really, just treat quinoa like rice.
What you’ll need:
1 medium sauce pan
1 cup quinoa
1.5 cups water
What to do:
1. Start by placing the pot with 1.5 cups water on the stove on high.
2. Once the water boils, add a pinch of salt.
3. Add quinoa, reduce heat and cover.
4. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa has expanded and looks slightly fluffy.
5. Take off heat and leave covered for five minutes.
6. Uncover and fluff with fork and serve!
Quinoa is a great addition to salads, a base for rice dishes, or a great side to a larger meal. You can add in spices and herbs to flavor it—like tofu, it tastes like what you cook it with, so your options are pretty much endless!
Photo by Corinne Fierro