Quinoa is a nutrient-dense seed that is used and prepared much like a whole grain. An excellent source of fiber and protein, this gluten-free powerhouse can be substituted for a number of foods, such as rice, pasta or oatmeal. Quinoa can even be used as a healthy substitute for breadcrumbs. Like toasted breadcrumbs, toasted quinoa is crunchy and ideal for coating chicken fingers or topping casseroles. Untoasted -- or fresh -- quinoa crumbs are best mixed into dishes such as meatballs, meatloaf or burger patties. Fresh quinoa crumbs are relatively mild, while toasted ones develop a slightly nutty flavor.
Rinse the quinoa under cold running water. Combine 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cook until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain quinoa completely.
Spread the cooked quinoa onto a paper-towel lined platter for untoasted -- or fresh -- quinoa crumbs. Allow the quinoa to dry completely, about 30 minutes.
For toasted quinoa crumbs, spread the cooked quinoa onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and transfer it to an oven preheated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the quinoa to cook until lightly browned and toasted, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool completely.
Scrape the toasted or untoasted quinoa crumbs into a bowl, breaking up any clumps that may have formed. If you wish, season the crumbs with salt, pepper, and dried herbs and spices. Substitute the quinoa in a 1-to-1 ratio for breadcrumbs in any recipe. Use toasted quinoa in recipes that call for dry breadcrumbs and untoasted quinoa in recipes that call for fresh breadcrumbs.
Items you will need
- Paper towels or parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Salt, pepper and dried spices, optional
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images