Cooking 101 Basics: How to cook Quinoa

Hello everyone! So yesterday I posted a written recipe for a quinoa taco like seasoned dish. It was very good and I suggest you all try it, check that out HERE. After I published it, I got some requests for a video on how to cook quinoa. So I decided to drag out the camera and cook some up. I honestly had no need to make quinoa, but since you asked I delivered! I hope this will be very helpful to you guys.

Materials required:

2 cups of uncooked quinoa (any color works)
3 cups of water
fine mesh strainer OR a large bowl
a large pot with a tight fitting lid, I suggest a dutch oven
a spatula or wooden spoon
patience

Directions:

So to start out with measure out your 2 cups of uncooked quinoa. If you’re new to quinoa or you’re serving it to someone who has maybe never had it. I suggest trying white quinoa (as shown in the video). It has a much milder flavor than the red or black varieties you find in the store. Pick out any discolored bits or pieces that don’t look right. Usually you won’t find any, but better safe than sorry. Transfer your quinoa into a strainer and run under warm water until the water runs clear OR as shown in the video, put the quinoa into a larger sized bowl and fill with warm water. Use your hands to massage the quinoa or rub between your hands slightly vigorously. This helps remove dust and dirt as well as the enzyme inhibitors that are in the quinoa. Repeat these steps until the water runs clear. You are now ready to cook.

Get a large sized pan, since 2 cups of dry quinoa turns into 8 cups of cooked quinoa, you want to make sure you use a large pan. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil. When the water is fully boiling, add your quinoa. Use a spatula to scrap out the bowl, no need to waste any of the tiny grains! Stir well to coat every piece with water and remove clumps. Put a lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer. On most stoves this is between the number 2 and 3. If your stove runs hot make sure you use 2 and if your stove tends to run colder use 3. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do not open the lid until that timer goes off.

After 5 minutes, remove the lid (be careful of the steam) and stir well. At this point you shouldn’t have any bits sticking to the bottom, but make sure you scrap along the bottom to be on the safe side. Attempt to push as much of the quinoa back into the water as possible and recover. Set the timer for 10 minutes this time, again do not open the lid. I know its tempting, but I promise your patience is rewarded soon!

After your 10 minutes is up, carefully remove the lid and stir again. Make sure you scrap the bottom in-case there is any sticking. Now inspect your quinoa. Is it nice and fluffy? Is there water left on the bottom? If there is water left, put the lid back on and cook for an addition 5 minutes. (If after 5 minutes you still have water, you will need to strain the quinoa. Don’t worry it’s still edible just use less water next time, this can be a problem if you didn’t thoroughly drain the quinoa after rinsing.) If your pan doesn’t have any remaining standing water, I want you to turn the heat off. Stir well and recover it again. This step is important and give you the perfect texture for quinoa. You can skip this step, but I don’t suggest it. Set a timer for at-least 10 minutes, but 15 is better. Again do NOT open the lid.

After your timer goes off this last time, congratulations, your patience is well rewarded at this stage and your quinoa is completed! YAY! What you will now have is a perfectly fluffy, moist, and completely delicious side dish, main dish, starch, etc. What can you do with this you say? Well you can check out my recipe from yesterday: CLICK HERE. Or you can treat it like any other side dish. Serve it topped with stir-fried vegetables like you would rice. Add some ketchup so satisfy most children. You can add some salt free seasoning, I like Mrs. Dash personally. Really sky is the limit. If you want you can cook it with a pinch of salt or use vegetable broth or any kind of stock to cook it with for more flavor. If you have any additional questions or you have requests for future videos/tutorials. Leave me a comment here or on facebook. Thanks guys!

Here is the nutritional information for 1 cup of cooked quinoa:

Vegan Pizza – a must have!

Do you miss pizza because you either can’t find a decent vegan pizza or because you’re on a diet? Well no more my friends, this pizza is lower calorie than traditional pizza, lower in fat, and completely vegan! If you have gluten issues, please see my gluten free pizza recipe and use the crust, or use your own. This recipe is for 3 personal pan size or mini size pizzas. These will feed 3 grown people easily.

Ingredients:

1 whole recipe – Basic Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
1 whole recipe – Basic Marinara or Pizza Sauce
6 ounces nondairy cheese – I suggest Daiya half mozzarella half cheddar
your choice of toppings, I suggest:
1 bell pepper, sliced thin
1 tomato, sliced
spring onion, minced
vegan pepperoni sliced – Yves makes a great tasting brand at only 50 calories per 10 slices too!

Directions:

Preheat your oven with your pizza stone at 425 for at-least 15 minutes. If you’re not using a pizza stone, only preheat until your oven is hot.

Divide your pizza dough into 3 equal pieces, and roll to your desired thickness. I choose a medium-thin style crust that got real crispy when baked. Rub corn meal into the pizza crust and flip over. If you’re using my pizza crust recipe, there is no need to prebake, otherwise follow directions that come with your crust. Spread 1/3rd of your pizza sauce onto the dough. For a traditional look, leave a ring around the outside of the crust, otherwise spread the sauce to the edge to help with drying and add extra flavor. Now spread most of 2 ounces of daiya cheese on your pizza, I left just a little bit for the top of the pizza. Arrange your desired toppings on your pizza. As you can see in the photo, my personal pizza was half veggie pepperoni, and half tomato. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your desired toppings!

Assuming your oven is hot, transfer your pizza on the stone (or pan) and bake. Time will vary and I suggest you start checking on the color of your crust at 15 minutes. A deep golden color will tell you if its done or not:

thin crust: 15 minutes
“Medium” – thin crust: 18 minutes
thicker crust 20-25 minutes

Remove from the oven and cut into 4-6 pieces and enjoy. This recipe makes 3 mini size pizzas , although they aren’t that mini. If you make a pizza like the one shown above it will have about 540 calories. If you use different brands of cheese of faux meat products, calories will vary. Also keep in mind the typical pizza has almost 1000 calories in it. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Spicy Hummus – Gluten-Free + Vegan

Usually when I chat to new people about being a vegetarian or vegan they automatically think of hummus and pita chips; I usually explain to them its more than that. However, hummus Is a super tasty and easy dish to make. Should be eaten in moderation since about 55% of its calories come from fat, you don’t want to get a tummy ache. You can customize this to meet your personal tastes and needs. Thin it out with water to make a salad dressing (honestly, its good!), toss with warm pasta for an interesting sauce, use instead of tomato sauce on pizza, or just dip chips into it for a super quick and satisfying snack.

Ingredients:

1 15 ounce can chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinses thoroughly and dried
1 1/2 cups cooked great northern beans or 1 15 ounce can, rinsed thoroughly and dried (any white bean will work though)
1/4 – 1/2 cup tahini paste
4 tablespoons olive oil or grape-seed oil
8 garlic cloves, sliced (must be fresh garlic, no pr-echopped from a jar!)
pinch salt or to taste
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (optional) or to taste
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce (rooster sauce) or to taste/optional
2 tablespoons dried herbs (I used chives) or to taste/optional

Directions:

In a small saucepan or skillet add your oil, pinch of salt, and sliced garlic cloves. Set stove to low (mark 3 on most stoves) and let cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. The oil and garlic should just be hot enough to bubble slightly around the garlic and let it get crispy but not really dark colored.

After about 10 minutes your oil will be very perfumed. You can either use the garlic cloves in your hummus or you can just use the oil. I Love strong garlic taste so I used the cloves as well.

Add your beans, 1/4 cup tahini paste, garlic (if using), sriracha, and soy sauce in a food processor. Turn the processor on and pour in oil while machine is moving. Let your machine run for 2-5 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. You want it to be super smooth. You can add more tahini paste or more oil to make it creamy. If you want to keep the calories down, you can add some water but keep in mind it will lose the creamy texture if you add too much.

When your beans are smooth enough for you; give them a taste test. If it needs more spice, add more of your rooster sauce. If it needs more salt consider adding more soy sauce; it adds a nice salty flavor and add an extra element of flavor. Now is also the time to add any extra herbs. I put in 2 tablespoons of chives.

Put in serving container and chill in fridge for at-least an hour to develop flavor. Optimally you’d want to go overnight, but we’ll understand if temptation is too hard! Consider adding extra olive oil on-top , herbs, or sriracha like I did. It adds an extra punch to some of your pitas or veggies and makes it look pretty. Enjoy! 😀

**Yes in the photo my hummus is really thick, however thats how I wanted it, If you add extra tahini, oil, or water It will have the traditional texture**

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: If you are making this and/or cooking for someone with gluten allergies or celiacs disease. Make sure to purchase ingredients that are certified gluten free, and clean your utensils very well. Better safe than sorry.

Healthy Snack Idea – Bell Pepper Strips w/ Dressing

Have you ever wanted something sweet and salty to snack on? I had that craving tonight. Unfortunately, we usually go for the less healthy options. Here is what I came up with, and It was really good. This would be especially good in late spring when bell peppers are in season and extra sweet.

Ingredients:

2 medium sized bell peppers or 10 mini bell peppers
2 tablespoons of fat free Italian dressing
1/4 tablespoon vegan mayonaise or your favorite mayonaise
a few dashes of tobassco (I use chipotle flavor), amount is up to you

Directions:

Cut the bell peppers into strips. In a small bowl add dressing, mayo, and tobassco and mix until combined.

That’s it, super simple! Makes 1 serving in a few minutes. I suggest using different colors of bell pepper:
Red is the sweetest, followed by orange, then yellow, and finally green, purple, and white.
I used mini bell peppers which look like this:

Multi-Grain Bread – Vegan Friendly!


Whole wheat multi-grain bread can be a healthy addition to any diet, far superior to white bread or even simple wheat bread. Unfortunately a good loaf of multi-grain bread will cost between $4-$6, YIKES! Thankfully I have the perfect recipe for you guys. I used a combination of whole wheat flour, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds to give amazing taste and nutirtion to this bread. Most impressively this whole huge loaf of bread cost less than $2.00 usd to make using ALL ORGANIC ingredients! YIPPEE! This recipe is also vegan friendly, just replace the honey with vegan sugar its just as tasty. So heres what you’ll need:
Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup or more hot water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon honey or vegan friendly sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup (or less) seeds, nuts,
or grains. I used:
1/2 cup white quinoa
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2T sesame seeds
2T flax seeds (mixed)

extra 1/2-1 tsp oil for bowl

 

Directions:

Atleast 1 hour before (preferrably 6-8 hours, soak your nuts/seeds/grains you intend to use for your bread. I choose flax, sesame, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds.)

When you’re ready to make bread, add your flour, salt, yeast, oil, and honey into a bowl. Stir for a few seconds to break up any big clumps. Then add your LIBERALLY rinsed seed mixture and stir until each little piece is coated with flour, this makes it easier in the mixing stage. Now add 3/4 cup of hot water, don’t add the whole 1 cup to start with as you might not need it. Mix with a spoon until dough starts to thicken, then continue kneading in the flour with the water by hand. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the mixture it dough-like. I used 1 cup and 1 tablespoon of water, you might need more or less depending on the type of flour you choose to use. When the dough will form into a ball and is not sticky, spread a little bit of oil on the top and bottom of the dough ball, then oil the bowl and cover with a cloth and let double in size. I let it go for 40 minutes, admittdly I should have gone longer, but was in a hurry.

After the first rise, punch the dough down and squish into a ball. Then in either 2 loaf pans or ontop of  a flat sheet, shape the dough to the desired shape. I choose make a large flat-ish loaf, but you can do whatever you like. After you have formed the dough into the desired shape, cover again with cloth and let rise atleast 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size again.

Once dough has doubled again, preheat your oven to 350 degree farenheight. Bake at 350 degree for 40-50 minutes or until dough is firm, you can also use an instant read thermometure, you’re looking for a temp of around 190-200 degree farenheight.

Let bread cool completely to room temp before storing to prevent molding. Enjoy!

Prep time: 3 hours approx. Cook time: 40-50 minutes Serves: 10-12 pieces

allergies: wheat, sesame seeds, honey* (optional)
Vegetarian and vegan friendly: *veganize by omitting the honey and replacing with vegan sugar