From quinoa to couscous, brown rice to bulgar, grains are an essential part of a plant based diet. Often, they are a good source fiber and additional protein for a meal. They also can be a great for vitamins such as vitamin B, magnesium and phosphorus.
Personally, most of my meals are built around some type of grain. i’m the queen of the bowl meal. I love to batch cook rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week. Then, I use it as the base in several meals whether it’s a stir-fry or a veggie bowl. If you throw in some black beans and salsa, it’s a quick healthy meal that takes less than 5 minutes.
Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the tips I’ve found helpful when cooking grains.
- Rinse your grains before cooking. I know it seems silly but when you purchase grains that have been in bins they may take on the smell or odor of where they’ve been. For example, quinoa can taste a bit soapy if you don’t rinse it first. It’s a small step in making sure your food taste as best as possible.
- Be aware of the water to grain ratio. I always feel like cooking pasta is such a cheat. I don’t have to worry about too much water because I’m going to pour it all out. But with grains, you want them to absorb the water. Too much water, and your grains are soupy. Not enough water and things start to burn. Make sure you note the ratios before cooking to prevent any issues.
- Let them cook! If you’re making rice, leave the lid on and let the rice cook. All the steam that builds up is a part of the process. Checking it constantly doesn’t aid in the making of the rice. Trust me.
- Fluff things. Yes, that sounds weird but hear me out. Most of the grains you eat you want to be light. Instead of stirring them like a pasta, let them rest for about 5 minutes after cooking and then fluff with a fork. It will make a world of difference.
- Lastly, know your time. Just like with the water ratio, not all grains cooking at the same rate. Brown rice takes way longer to cook than quinoa. Knowing that ahead of time can help you prepare a meal more successfully. Make sure to prepare for that variation in your grain cooking endeavors.
I hope these tips help you in your meal making for the week. Remember, don’t be afraid to get in the kitchen and mess up. We all have jacked up a pot of rice once or twice in our lives.