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How to wash quinoa

If you've never used quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), you're in for a treat; this whole-grain, gluten-free, protein-rich food is super versatile and tasty. But it's critical that you thoroughly wash it before cooking, because each little quinoa grain has a bitter coating that will ruin your dish if not removed first. Here's how to wash it:

1. Put your measured quinoa in a bowl and cover with cool water.

2. Use your hands to massage the quinoa thoroughly. You'll notice that the water will get cloudy.

3. Pour the quinoa into a very fine-meshed sieve to drain the water.

4. REPEAT this entire process -- twice! I recommend triple washing to be sure the bitter coating is completely gone; plus it's actually kind of a nice, zen-like process to really work the grains with your hands.

Now you're ready to cook it! Try these recipes for Quinoa and Salmon Stew with Tomatoes; Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers; or Quinoa and Pecan Salad with Dried Cranberries; and let us know how it goes.

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