Meal prep 101: Cook large batches of grains like quinoa ahead of time so you can quickly add whole grains to weekday lunches and dinners.
Quinoa is a super healthy, vegan protein that’s a low carb grain full of fibre and nutrients. And it cooks faster than rice. The Instant Pot cooks it a few minutes quicker than the stovetop method, but both methods are great!
Instant Pot 1 minute quinoa method:
Place 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and 1.5 cups (350 ml) of water or broth into the Instant Pot. Add a pinch of salt. Lock the lid. Select Manual/Pressure cook (depending on the Instant Pot model) and cook on high pressure for 1 minute. Use the Natural Release method for 10 minutes. Press the vent and once the steam is completely done releasing, unlock the lid and fluff with a fork.
For more Instant Pot info on model sizes and accessories see this post.
How to cook quinoa on the stovetop (for quinoa that’s never mushy, nor soggy, but perfect fluffy quinoa grains to throw into your salad bowls and buddha bowls. Tasty quinoa with nice consistency!)
2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained a few times
3 cups broth such as chicken stock, vegetable stock or beef stock, (or water for plain quinoa for sweet porridge)
Place quinoa, sea salt, broth of choice or water in a saucepan or small pot (chicken broth and veggie broth are the most versatile for savoury quinoa dishes, and water is good for sweet quinoa porridge).
Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Leave the cover on for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. Serve immediately or incorporate into another recipe. Otherwise if not using immediately, leave quinoa on a baking sheet to cool for best texture.
This method yields fluffy quinoa with whole grains instead of quinoa mush.
Now that you’ve meal prepped your quinoa, you can easily throw it into any of your grain bowls or salad bowls.
Quinoa serving suggestion ideas: Toss with different dressings, vinaigrettes, sauces, spice seasonings (such as Mexican or a little cumin, coriander and turmeric) , and fresh herbs. Add roasted or sauteed veggies for a warm salad in the winter or raw veggies or fruit for a light cold salad for lunch and light summer-time dinners. Add other ingredients if desired like black beans, corn, red onion and cilantro with taco seasoning or fajita seasoning or cumin, paprika and garlic (or ready Tex mex seasoning) for Tex Mex quinoa, lime juice, toss in rotisserie chicken or grilled/ fried chicken pieces, chickpeas, toasted seeds like sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc, options are endless! Have it as a bowl or put it into wraps along iwth sauce/dressing (and if desired and tolerated with some feta etc.)
Or if you cooked the quinoa in water then have it sweet as a high protein breakfast quinoa porridge as an alternative to oatmeal. Its a whole grain, low carb, high protein and high fibre healthy breakfast option. If you meal prep it ahead you don’t have to wait 25 minutes in the morning to cook the quinoa! Sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar or maple syrup, add plant milk and dried berries or dried fruit or fresh/frozen berries or fruit like banana slices. Top with nuts and/or toasted seeds if desired.
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