Ignore Quinoa Box Instructions, Choose The Golden Ratio Instead

While it may be one of the newer additions to the list of "superfoods" in North America, quinoa has been around for thousands of years. Still, preparing it is somewhat of a mystery. Without the reliance on box instructions — which all too often produce a pot of "super" mush rather than food — many different opinions and methods have spread that promise a pot of perfectly cooked quinoa. Unfortunately, many of them fail to follow through on that promise. The golden ratio of one cup of quinoa to one and 3/4 cups of water, however, never disappoints.

From boiling your quinoa like it's pasta to putting it in an Instant Pot, the vast array of quinoa cooking hacks there are in the world has led many astray. But, when it comes to preparing quinoa, your success rate is not necessarily dependent on the way in which you cook it, but on how much water you use. While most box instructions call for a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water — completely ignoring the all-important step of toasting your quinoa — they inevitably set you up for failure. In this instance, the golden ratio is your saving grace.

How to create the golden ratio with quinoa and other tips for success

In most cases, following instructions is the most surefire way to success. But, in the case of quinoa, you may as well throw the box in the trash and ignore it completely. If you don't take this advice and instead follow the directions on the back of your quinoa, you'll most likely end up using too much water. While many boxes call for a ratio of one cup of quinoa to two cups of water, the golden ratio is one cup to one 3/4 cups and that mere 1/4 cup of water is the difference between a pot of mushy, overcooked, gummy quinoa and how it should actually taste.

Of course, this method is intended to go hand-in-hand with other quinoa prep steps — like how you should never forget to rinse your quinoa first so as to remove all of the natural saponins that coat the grain. Additionally, prior to adding the golden ratio of water to your quinoa, it's equally as important for you to take the time to toast the grains on the skillet. These steps will ensure you get that deliciously nutty and earthy flavor with the ideal texture that is both soft and chewy. While it may take a few extra minutes of your time, following each of these steps will ensure that all of your go-to quinoa dishes — from your quinoa fried rice and fruit salad to your quinoa stuffed peppers —  turn out perfectly, every single time.