Quinoa is a high protein and high fiber seed that can be eaten as a breakfast cereal or in the place of rice for a pilaf. However, my favourite 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.
What are Saponins?
Quinoa is particularly high in saponins. Saponins are a natural compound that is found in a number of plants, particularly soap berries and soap nuts. It naturally suds up when mixed with water, for an environmentally-friendly and natural soap.
However, saponins in quinoa give it a bitter taste and can make quinoa hard to digest. Generally, quinoa has been prewashed to remove the bitter layer before being sold, however, it doesn’t completely eliminate the saponins, so soaking quinoa prior to cooking is still a really good idea.
Why You Should be Soaking Seeds, Nuts and Grains
Most grains, legumes, nuts and seeds benefit from to pre-soaking and sprouting. Soaking and sprouting turns the complex “starchy” storage carbs into easier to digest “vegetables” carbs. Here are some of the benefits of soaking and sprouting before cooking:
- It is easier on our digestive system.
- The starches are converted from carbohydrates to vegetables, and who couldn’t use more vegetables in their diet?
- The nutrient value of the food is increased by making the protein, vitamins and minerals more easily absorbed.
Even if you aren’t convinced that you ought to be soaking and sprouting all of your grains, seeds, nuts and legumes, you should try soaking quinoa because of the saponins.Print
How to Soak and Cook Quinoa
It is a good idea to soak quinoa prior to cooking. Soaking removes the bitter tasting saponins. It also helps to activate enzymes in the quinoa, which makes it more easily digested and nutritious.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Soaked
- Cuisine: Gluten Free
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 2 tbsp of culture (optional, see notes)
- 2 cups of water
- Place quinoa in a large glass bowl or measuring cup. Stir in the culture and the filtered water.
- Cover with a tea towel and leave it out on the counter to soak for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days for very bitter quinoa.
- When you are ready to cook, pour the quinoa into a fine sieve. Drain off all the fermentation 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 and fluff with a fork.
- 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, sour kombucha or milk kefir whey.
- 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, prefermented, vegan, healthy, nutritious