How to properly toast Quinoa?

I recently had a Citrus salad with toasted Quinoa at a NYC restaurant and am inspired to make my own version. I'm a bit confused if I need to rinse the quinoa first to remove the saponins even if its says "pre washed." And if not, whats the best way to (rinse and) toast quinoa so I can get perfect crunchy, separate seeds?



Rachel February 29, 2016
How much liquid do you use
Lost_in_NYC May 22, 2012
Okay so I decided to experiment and came out with two different results. I measured and rinsed 1 cup of quinoa as per standard procedure (used TJ's Organic Quinoa).

1) I dry toasted a half cup of quinoa in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Since the quinoa was wet and a little water got into the pan, I had to wait for the excess moisture to evaporate first (did this on low-medium heat). Once the all the water was gone, I increased the heat to medium-high and toasted the quinoa for maybe about ~20-25 minutes (I have an old electric stove in an NYC apt so please adjust to your stove/heat source accordingly). I heard the popping sounds and smelled the nuttiness of the grain release. I decided to brown the quinoa all the way until I only saw small specks of white in the skillet. Transferred the really toasted quinoa to a bowl to cool. Once cooled, it was extremely crunchy and amazing! I made a quick salad for lunch and added the toasted quinoa as a crunch element. It was divine!! (and it reminded me of the salad I had a few weeks ago!)

2) I toasted the second half of the washed quinoa in the same non-stick skillet as above. First I had to let the excess water evaporate and then I only toasted the quinoa until it was half toasted. I could still smell nuttiness of the grain release after about ~10-15 minutes. It came out to a light brown color. Then I transferred it to a rice cooker to let it cook under the same 2:1 cup proportions that is standard across the board. (Added some salt for flavor). It came out nicely but I think cooking the toasted quinoa loses some of its nutty flavor. I'll use this for something else but I enjoyed this as well.

I think method one is great if you want a crunch factor to your dish and method 2 is more diverse if you want to use quinoa as a proper meal. Any which way, hope you'll enjoy it!
Lost_in_NYC May 16, 2012
Thanks SKK!

Stupid follow up question: is it necessary to boil the quinoa after I toast it in the dry pan ( and after rinsing it)?

First time quinoa user so I'm just trying to fully understand the nature of the beast here...
SKK May 16, 2012
No question is stupid - and congratulations on launching your quinoa cooking career!
You are correct in rinsing first, then toasting it.
Absolutely you must bring it to a boil quickly and then simmer it per the instructions above. The simmering is what cooks it, the toasting adds a depth of flavor.
paseo May 15, 2012
Benny - the lid traps heat and the dishtowel absorbs any moisture which might drip back on the grains. Do the same while finishing rice.

Voted the Best Reply!

SKK May 14, 2012
Martha Shulman's recipe for quiona is brilliant. I love it because it is never mushy. Yes, always rinse, it can't hurt. Here is Shulman's recipe:

Place the quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until the water runs clear.
Heat medium saucepan or lidded skillet over medium-high heat, and add the quinoa. Toast, stirring, until the grains have separated and begin to smell fragrant. Add the water or stock and salt. It should come to a boil quickly. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and translucent and each grain displays a little thread. Drain and return to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel, replace the lid and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.

All these points are important - from rinsing to toasting to covering the the pan with a clean dishcloth.
Benny May 15, 2012
What is the purpose of covering with the dish towel AND the lid?
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