I recently had the good fortune to win a Zojirushi Umami Rice Cooker via the lovely bell'alimento. Though I was super excited to win it, I honestly thought it would be one of those gadgets that I used once or twice and then put on a high shelf to collect dust...
I think we all have a few of those, right?
Much to my surprise, I've found that I've been using it near daily since it arrived on my doorstep!
What I didn't realize beforehand is that rice cookers are useful far beyond just preparing a simple batch of rice. I've had loads of fun experimenting with this wonderful gadget, and I'm excited to share some of my findings with you, starting with how to make quinoa in a rice cooker.
First of all, if you haven't tried quinoa yet, you really ought to ASAP. Yeah, I was skeptical too, but my family has quickly grown to love the nutty taste and firm texture. Some people don't care for it plain -- I happen to LOVE it when it's prepared with chicken stock. But either way, it's a fantastic base for a number of quick and easy side dishes, like this simple quinoa and cherry tomato salad I'm sharing on GoodLife Eats today.
While preparing quinoa in a rice cooker isn't necessarily a faster method of cooking quinoa, much like my beloved baked hard boiled eggs, it's a more hands-off cooking method, allowing me to focus my attention elsewhere without worrying about pans boiling over.
My favorite brand currently is Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa. Their quinoa is pre-rinsed, saving me a step before cooking. If you purchase a different brand, be sure to check the package carefully to see whether it needs to be rinsed or not. If it does, simply place the amount of quinoa you're planning to cook in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.
How To Cook Quinoa In A Rice Cooker
The cooking settings will vary based on your particular rice cooker, but the quick cook setting is a pretty safe bet. While I'd consider the Zojirushi Umami Rice Cooker to be "the Cadillac" of rice cookers, with a lot of fun settings to play with, quick cook is my go-to setting. My quinoa is ready within about 30 minutes, including a few minutes of resting time that the cooker automatically builds in at the end.
For a standard rice cooker, a single cycle should be all that's needed to produce fluffy quinoa. Once the cooking cycle has completed, allow the quinoa to rest for about 4-5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Have fun experimenting with mix-ins both during and after the cooking process! I'll often add some lemon zest or a little curry powder to the liquid and quinoa when I cook it. Then I stir in some chopped fresh veggies from our weekly CSA delivery after cooking while the quinoa is still warm.
When I'm lucky enough to have quinoa leftovers, I like to add it to my salad at lunch the following day. I'm really not much of a fan of leftovers, but I love leftover quinoa!
Want a little change of pace? Try this delicious (yet totally simple) Coconut Lime Quinoa recipe! It's another of my go-to weeknight side dishes.
Have you tried quinoa? And if so, what's your favorite way to serve it?
Note: If you're looking for a more budget-friendly rice cooker, I've heard that this Oster Rice Cooker is an excellent basic model.