This Salad Revolutionized the Way I Cook Quinoa

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(Image Credit: Joe Lingeman)

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. And we decided to start sharing some of our absolute favorites with you. Here’s a peek into what we’re cooking and eating in our own kitchens.

I was first drawn to Bon Appétit’s make-ahead broccoli and quinoa salad for its big-batch lunch appeal. It seemed sturdy enough to hold up in the fridge for a couple of days without getting soggy or falling flat, and it sounded interesting enough — dates! Cheddar! Almonds! — to hold my attention throughout the week.

After making this recipe for the first time, though, I realized it reaches far beyond its lunch potential (although it really does shine in this regard): Buried within this smart recipe is an ingenious, life-changing method for cooking quinoa. And now it’s the only way I’ll make it.

Why You Should Cook Your Quinoa Like Pasta

When reading through this recipe for the first time, I was a bit skeptical of the quinoa cooking method. In fact, I almost just skipped over their tutorial and made a batch the “standard” way I was more comfortable with (bring quinoa and a measured amount of water to a boil, cover, turn to low, let cook for 15 minutes, then take off heat with lid still on for an additional five minutes before fluffing with a fork).

You see, Bon App first has you bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and then drop in your quinoa. You turn the heat down just a bit, but you do not cover the pan with a lid — you just let the quinoa boil, essentially like pasta. Then you drain the quinoa with a fine-mesh sieve, drop it back in the pot, cover the pot with some paper towels and then the lid, and let it steam for a few minutes.

Not only is this method faster (I only boil the quinoa for 12 minutes), but it also creates the most perfectly cooked quinoa I’ve ever tasted. You’re left with the platonic ideal of quinoa, with fluffy, distinct, separate grains. I didn’t realize how clumped-together (read: mushy) my quinoa was until I started using this method! We often tell readers to spread their cooked grains out on a sheet pan to allow the grains to cool and separate, but with this method you get that same result without having to dirty any extra pans. Win-win.

After eating quinoa prepared this way, I’ve retired my old method of cooking it. We had a good run — years of fine, serviceable quinoa — but my heart belongs to this shiny new method now. And I want everyone to know it.

I’m curious: Have you ever tried this method? Did it change your life the way it changed mine? Let me know in the comments!

Get the recipe: Make-Ahead Broccoli and Quinoa Salad

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