Pool old quinoa. It seems the ‘superfood’ trendsetters have forgotten quinoa and moved on to tout the benefits of coconut oil, turmeric, seaweed, charcoal, etc.
Fads aside however, it remains a popular and powerfully nutritious alternative to rice and other grains. It’s especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans, who relish its high protein content, not to mention its pleasingly poppy texture and savoury taste.
Quinoa can confuse home cooks encountering it for the first time though. One of its most surprising characteristics, is its tendency to expand dramatically during cooking; one cup of dry quinoa becomes more than three cups cooked. In comparison, rice only doubles in volume during cooking. If you’re not expecting it, that threefold increase can lead to a lot of waste.
If you find yourself with a bucketful of leftover quinoa, don’t worry — there are endless ways to use it up. For a delicious, lunchbox-ready salad, try tossing cooked quinoa with chopped vegetables and a vinaigrette dressing. Quinoa also makes a great binder for pan-fried fritters, and is a clever way to make soups and stews stretch a little further.
To prevent cooking too much quinoa next time, try using a portion control guide to calculate how much you should cook per person. This kind of guide is also useful for staples such as pasta, beans and eggs. Remember, while savvy leftover-saving is an important part of waste prevention, it’s even better not to have any leftovers to begin with.