Get your recipe for the quickest quinoa here!
One of the most common complaints I hear about healthy eating is that it takes too long. Eating out or heating something up in the microwave just seems so much more convenient.
Even though I love to cook, I also love shortcuts and easy recipes. I roast all my veggies during a weekly meal-prep session, I make most of my sauces and toppings in a blender (30 seconds or less!), and I’m a fan of the fastest protein source: an egg.
I used to soak and sprout beans and grains about 10 years ago, but I gave up the practice over the years because it just “took too long”.
I recently took up the practice again, and not just because it makes for good pictures. Soaking grains and beans has an huge impact on the nutrition!
Why soak your beans and grains
Beans and grains naturally include phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to the protein and nutrients in the beans/grains, so they’re less bioavailable to your body. When you soak grains and beans, you active an enzyme called phytase which breaks up phytic acid so you get access to all of the important nutrients like zinc and magnesium. You can boost the power of your soaking by including a table spoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This slightly acidifies the water and helps the phytic acid break down even more.
The hidden benefit to soaking your grains
In addition to the nutritional benefits and improved digestibility, I realized that soaking quinoa also vastly decreases cooking time. Are you ready for this? The cooking time for my quinoa went from 15-20 minutes down to 2. YES.
How to soak your quinoa
I’m so excited to be bringing quinoa back into my morning routine. I soak quinoa in lemon water overnight, rinse off the grains in the morning, and then spoon out some quinoa to cook. I place the rest of the quinoa/water in the fridge, and take out quinoa as I need over the course of the week. It’s perfect!
How to cook your quickest quinoa
I warm up some coconut oil or brain octane (isolated MCT oil) in a small saucepan, and spoon my quinoa on top. Over the course of two minutes, the grains become more transparent, which is how you know they’re cooked! After they’re cooked, I mix with various fruit, spices, nut butters, and a touch of molasses for a great morning meal.
One of the secrets to this fast cooking time is not using too much water. Also, since I cook the quinoa in small quantities, most of the quinoa is in contact with the hot cooking surface. If you’re cooking for more than two, add a little water to help conduct the heat throughout your grains, and you’re probably looking at a 5 minute cooking time. (Still very reasonable in my book). If your quinoa starts to stick, add a little water to help it loosen up!
Check out the recipe below for my single-serve quinoa breakfast. It takes 5 minutes start to finish, and it’s just plain delicious.
And – I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite healthy eating shortcuts?
- ¼ cup quinoa, soaked overnight
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or Brain Octane
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- ¼ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tsp molasses
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup plain plant-based yogurt (optional, but adds a nice creaminess!)
- 1 tbsp nut butter (your choice!)
- Heat up coconut oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
- Add quinoa and salt. Mix quinoa as parts of it cook to make sure all of the grains get heated.
- Add blueberries and hemp seeds and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Remove the grains to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.