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Ask a Cook: Do I really need to rinse quinoa?

Q: Some packages say to rinse quinoa before cooking and other brands don’t mention it. I can’t taste the difference. Should I rinse quinoa or not?

A: There’s a natural substance on quinoa called saponin that can cause it to have a soapy or bitter taste. Most packaged quinoa already has been processed to remove it. But some brands may still have it.

If you try a brand and notice a bitter taste, you’ll know to rinse it next time. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.

If you do need to rinse it, put the quinoa in a bowl, add cold water and swish it around. Let it stand a few minutes so the seeds settle to the bottom, then pour the water off before cooking it. You won’t lose as much as when you rinse it in a sieve.

— Kathleen Purvis

Charlotte Observer


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