Quinoa is a naturally gluten free grain packed with protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. If you’re cooking quinoa for the first time, you might be wondering if it needs to be rinsed before cooking. If so, read on for all the details on how to do that correctly!
What is saponin?
Saponins, get their name because they lather up in water, like soap suds. The herb soapwort is one of the most concentrated sources of saponins and sometimes used to make a natural cleanser.
Saponin is a natural substance found on quinoa that can be removed by rinsing. Saponin has a subtle unpleasant bitter taste. By rinsing quinoa before cooking, it removes saponins, therefore removing the bitterness.
Are saponins safe?
Saponins are phytochemicals made by plants as a method of natural pest control. The bitter taste of these compounds makes the plant less palatable to birds, insects, and humans.
Rinsing quinoa just removes that bitterness, making quinoa more enjoyable.
Health benefits of quinoa
Pronounced KEEN-wah, quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.
One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa, provides:
- Protein: 8 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA
- Folate: 19% of the RDA
- Copper: 18% of the RDA
- Iron: 15% of the RDA
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA
- Potassium 9% of the RDA
Fun fact: There are over 1,800 varieties of quinoa, but the three main types you’ll find in the grocery store are white, red, and black.