Wondering about the best way to prepare quinoa? Tired of the bitter taste? Here’s why you should soak quinoa before cooking.
Quinoa is a high protein and high fiber seed that is delicious as a breakfast cereal or in the place of rice for a pilaf. However, my favorite way to eat quinoa is as a base for a hearty Mediterranean salad. Here is everything you need to know about how to properly prepare quinoa.
Why You Should Soak Seeds, Nuts, Grains and Quinoa
I recommend soaking quinoa for at least a few hours before cooking.
Most grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds benefit from pre-soaking and/or sprouting. Soaking and sprouting is a great way to improve the nutritional value of seeds nuts and grains.
Here are some of the benefits of soaking and sprouting before cooking:
- Soaking grains activates the natural enzymes making them easier to digest.
- Sprouting decreases the starchy carbohydrates and antinutrients.
- Ultimately, the nutrient value of seeds and grains is increased, because the protein, vitamins, and minerals are more easily absorbed.
Even if you aren’t convinced that you ought to be soaking and sprouting all of your grains, you soak quinoa because of the saponins.
What are Saponins?
Saponins are a compound that is found in a number of plants, particularly soapberries and soap nuts. They naturally suds up when mixed with water, for an environmentally friendly and natural soap.
However, saponins aren’t particularly good to eat. And it turns out that quinoa is particularly high in saponins. This can make quinoa particularly hard to digest and give it a bitter flavor.
Commercial quinoa is often pre-washed to remove the bitter layer before being sold. However, that doesn’t completely eliminate the saponins, so soaking quinoa prior to cooking is still a good idea.Print
How to Soak and Cook Quinoa
It is important to soak quinoa prior to cooking. Soaking removes the bitter-tasting saponins. It also helps to activate enzymes makes it more nutritious and easily digested. See the section above for details.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Soaked
- Cuisine: Gluten Free
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 2 Tbsp of acidic culture (optional, see notes)
- 2 cups of water
- Place quinoa in a large glass bowl or measuring cup. Stir in the filtered water and culture.
- Cover the container with a tea towel and leave it out on the counter to soak for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. Longer is better if your quinoa is very bitter.
- When you are ready to cook, pour the quinoa into a fine-mesh sieve. Pour away the soaking liquid and rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear. This will remove the bitter saponins.
- Put the quinoa into a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes (until cooked).
- Drain any excess liquid. Rinse with cool water to prevent the quinoa from overcooking. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.
- Using a culture isn’t required for soaking quinoa, but it can help to speed things up. I recommend using something acidic like cider vinegar or sour kombucha.
- I usually cook quinoa in a rice cooker. It’s easier than keeping track of a simmering pot on the stove.
- If you want to try fermenting quinoa, then I recommend fermenting cooked quinoa. It’s a great way to get more probiotics into your diet! Try making a probiotic quinoa pudding.
Keywords: sprouted, pre-fermented, vegan, healthy, nutritious