How To Toast Quinoa [And Why You Should Do It]

The main advantage to toasting quinoa is to add a wonderful extra level of delicious nutty flavor. It may also help reduce the bitter taste of the natural chemicals that coat the outside of the seeds. Toasting quinoa is easy to do in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Let’s find out more about how to toast quinoa and why you should do it.

Why Should you Toast Quinoa Before Cooking?

should you toast quinoa before cooking

Toasting quinoa is great for adding flavor and although it can help make it safer to eat and remove some of its bitter flavor, rinsing it thoroughly before cooking works more effectively. Look out for pre-rinsed brands.

Saponins 

Quinoa has a special coating that repels insects and birds from eating the seeds and helps prevent the seed from being damaged when it is eaten by animals.

This means that any animal who decides to snack on the plant can be cleverly used as a transport system to spread the seeds far and wide. The manure of the animal also helps work as a fertilizer. Isn’t nature amazing?

Other than the bitter taste of the chemicals which coat the seeds, called Saponins, they may actually cause you harm if not safely removed.

Some evidence suggests that saponins could be attributed as a potential cause of leaky gut syndrome. However, some scientific evidence shows some saponins have beneficial qualities.

The lining that covers our intestines is huge, and in surface area covers more than 4,000 square feet. Its job is to form a barrier between our gut and our bloodstream.

When the lining becomes unhealthy, holes and cracks can appear in it that allow food that is being digested along with toxins, bacteria, and viruses to pass through the gaps and enter the tissues lying beneath.

The good gut bacteria are affected, and inflammation can be triggered, leading to digestive problems and more. It is believed that unhealthy gut bacteria and inflammation could be involved in the development of some chronic diseases.

Leaky gut syndrome has been associated with:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

And other conditions that are not connected with food or digestion including illnesses such as: 

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome 
  • Arthritis
  • Candida
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Acne

It has even been associated with some forms of mental illness. 

More scientific and clinical studies are required to prove or disprove this association and the links to any other diseases.

So as you can see, getting rid of the saponin compounds is an important step to preparing quinoa.

Toasting quinoa helps to add an additional level of nutty flavor and is well worth doing to improve all of your quinoa dishes.

Remember that quinoa really needs to be dry if you want to toast it easily. Otherwise, it will stick to the bottom of the pan.

Can you Eat Uncooked Toasted Quinoa?

If your quinoa has been pre-rinsed, you can use toasted quinoa as a tasty topping to dishes to add a nutty crunch element. Note, however, that it may be quite hard on your teeth.

Alternatively, you may choose to cook your toasted quinoa to make it softer and easier to eat.

How do you Toast Quinoa Video

In this video, you can see how to toast quinoa to use in all your favorite dishes:

What is the Trick to Cooking Quinoa?

Toasting quinoa before cooking will definitely improve and deepen its flavor. Simply place a thin layer of dry grains in a heavy-based skillet on a medium to high heat, keeping the grains moving as much as possible to avoid burning. 

You’ll quickly notice the delicious nutty aroma coming from the seeds, and they will begin to turn a golden color. Once they turn a deep gold, they are ready.

Once toasted, be sure not to boil the seeds for too long. As soon as the curly tail-like germ comes away from the side of the seeds, it should be done perfectly. Allow your quinoa to rest for 15 minutes in the pan after draining. 

Buying pre-rinsed quinoa is the best option to be sure the saponins have been removed. This is especially important if you are going to use the toasted seeds without rinsing and cooking afterward.

Always ensure you rinse your quinoa thoroughly before cooking unless it is pre-rinsed by the manufacturer.

If you like using quinoa flour, you will also find that toasting it will improve its flavor too. The way you toast quinoa flour is a little different from how you toast the whole seed.

With flour, you’ll need to sprinkle it in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for around 1 hour at 300°F.

Be sure to give it a good mix around every 20 minutes to prevent burning. Your quinoa flour will develop a wonderful nutty taste as well as a delicious aroma.

Does Toasting Quinoa Remove Nutrients

Cooking will always remove some of the nutrients from any natural plant product, but the plus side of toasting quinoa definitely negates any minuses when it comes to flavor.

Conclusion

Toasting quinoa is a great way to infuse extra flavor into the grain and add a delicious nutty taste.

Ensuring that grains are well rinsed is necessary to remove saponins which give a bitter taste and can be potentially damaging to health over time.

Pre-rinsed quinoa is becoming more readily available at grocery stores. 

For best results, use a heavy-based skillet to toast your quinoa over medium-high heat.

We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out how to toast quinoa and why you should do it. To find out more about quinoa, visit the other great articles about quinoa available on our site. 

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