How NOT to Cook Quinoa [Or Other Grains]

by Sarah on October 9, 2012 · 9 comments

There are a lot of things in the kitchen I just don’t do the right way.

I’ve already showed you how not to cut a mango. And even though I know how I should do it.

I don’t.

You should probably NOT follow my method when it comes to spaghetti squash either: poking holes in it and baking it like a potato greatly increases the occurence of explosion…and burnt fingers when you go to scrape the seeds out post-bake.

As a vegan, I’ve definitely had to accept, acknowledge–and choose to ignore–my inability to correctly cook grains, in particular.

A staple of the vegan diet, you aren’t going to get anywhere–well, you might get somewhere, but you’ll be hungry–if you can’t figure out how to cook some ancient (or newborn) grains.

I might not have figured out how to do that.

But I have figured out how NOT to.

I thought I was doing all right when it came to couscous. So maybe I cheated a little bit and used a relic from the pre-fired code regulation time when hot-pots* were allowed in college dorm rooms rather than actually boiling water in a tea kettle.

*Thank you Brother Smart for leaving this is the basement.

probably not smart to have an electrical cord so close to the burner. probably not smart.

But I did pour the water over the couscous and stuck a plate on top. Like you’re supposed to. Right?

just like rachael ray would do. except her bowls would be orange.

Of course, I’m a bit too lazy to actually measure the water.

But I say that’s what slotted spoons are for.

hard to say if this is post-soak or pre...

When it comes to bulgur, I prefer to cook it like rice risotto

although if this is wrong, i am proud to be miss taken...

 …and as for rice and quinoa, well, I cook those like pasta.

[I just never got the whole ‘bring to a boil, cover, and walk away’ thing down. Maybe because that would have involved measuring. I guess it all just comes down to my obstinate refusal to use a measuring cup.]

Of course, cooking grains like pasta-covered with water until it all soaks in (or boils off)…or you decide to drain itdoes make for some interestingly textured results. [See the bulgur riso-faux above.]

Now, I’m not sure where the wisdom of throwing in chopped vegetables comes in. [Probably somewhere with the ‘I really need to cook these before they go bad in the bridge’ quandaries of the kitchen.]But-surprise! surprise!if you DO cook quinoa this way, you will NOT end up with a ‘light and fluffy’* ready-to-be-dressed grain. You will end up with a slightly granular porridge. Adding oat bran, nutritional yeast, and your choice of seasonings and flavorings will only add to the ‘what the heck did you do to that quinoa?’ situation.

*I still don’t understand ‘fluffing’ grains. They are not furry, soft, or like anything I would want to rest my head upon.

And I mean, if it is OK to put oats in a jar, why not quinoa?

this totally makes sense.

This whole creamy quinoa thing might not be right. But it sure is tasty.

'cheesy' pizza quinoa w. peppers, zucchini, nutritional yeast, and pizza seasoning

On second thought…maybe this ishow to cook your quinoa.

asian creamy quinoa w. mushrooms, squash, nutritional yeast, and Braggs aminos

(Just make sure to wash it first…as learned the hard way by Calee. Heed her warning!)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Jars totally work! I have a couple of barley recipes where I soak it for a “raw” meal.


Brittany @ Delights and Delectables October 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

lol! You are too fun! I am so Type A I have to measure EVERYTHING!


Calee (@chimes) — life + running October 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

haha thanks for the shoutout! i was reading and was like, wait wwaaaaaiiit… no mention of washing — okay. there it is. :)

Also, I don’t do anything the right way, but I’m going to be better so I don’t end up with a stupid ass allergy from my laziness.


Calee (@chimes) — life + running October 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

also, that’s totally how I do quinoa, for the record. i toss the shniz in with some water, toss in the microwave and nuke until it’s the consistency i want.


Miss Polkadot October 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

You’re too funny! I wouldn’t say no to that bulgur faux-sotto and might have to try your recipe. Do you think it’d work with other grains – probably even plain short-grain brown rice-, too? Because bulgur isn’t to be found in my admittedly huge collection of grains at the moment though I do enjoy it. I’d rather use up some of the other grains before buying a new one – limited storage space forces me to do so.


Sarah October 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I think a short grain rice would work, especially since it works for short grain arborio. I haven;t experimented much, but you could always do a blend with oatmeal, because if you cook that long enough it gets super creamy. :) [Plus, adding the squash to it automatically adds some creaminess.]


Miss Polkadot October 10, 2012 at 7:00 am

Oooh, I hadn’t thought of adding oatmeal to other grains for creaminess – what a smart idea ;)!


bridget October 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

you may already know this, but quinoa in the rice cooker turns out really well too :) nothing fancy, i just use my $10-from-target rice cooker (rival is the brand, it’s tiny and red) and it turns out perfectly every time :-)


Sarah October 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

The sad thing is I have a very expensive rice cooker/steamer/slow cooker contraption that my dad bought me for Christmas last year. I’ve yet to use it.


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