Making a quinoa for a crowd can be harder than one would think. This past weekend I prepared a quinoa salad for a dear friend’s wedding and learned (by fire) that making quinoa in a large quantity often leads to a mushy quinoa mess. After a complete fail, I finally figured out how to make perfect quinoa.
perfect quinoa vs. sad mushy quinoa
up-close with my mushy quinoa mess
I did ask a few friends if they ever experience mushy quinoa or quinoa that’s not fluffy and they all replied, ‘no’. So, apparently I’m the only one, but just in case there are a few more of us out there… here are my tips for non-mushy, perfect tasting, quinoa.
- Skip the rinsing. Some say to rinse the quinoa to remove a bitter tasting quinoa… but have you ever tried this??? Quinoa is tiny and impossible to rinse unless you have a fine mesh strainer and I do not. I thought that this might effect the texture but after experimenting it did not so my recommendation to you… skip the rinsing. Most quinoa in the US has been pre-rinsed.
- Don’t over crowd the pan. If you’re making quinoa in a large quantity (like I did for this quinoa salad) don’t try to make it all in one pan. Use two or even 3 pans to be safe and use less water when you’re making quinoa in a large quantity. Which brings me to my next point
- Use less water if you’re making a large amount in one pan or if you are using a pan that is not very wide, then alter the water to quinoa ratio. For a 2:1 ratio (water to quinoa) try 1 cup of quinoa to 1 and 3/4 cup water.
- Use vegetable broth for added flavor. If you’re making the quinoa for a simple salad and you’d like to boost the flavor use vegetable broth and a chopped spicy pepper to simmer the quinoa in.
- Add butter or oil to the quinoa as you’re bringing it to a boil. This will help the seeds to separate and not clump together. A tablespoon of either will do the job. This is the real key I’ve found to preventing mushy quinoa.
- Simmer the quinoa for the full 20 minutes, covered, and don’t keep checking on it. It’s tempting but just set a timer and let it do it’s thing.