In a recent meeting with fellow Kitchn editors, the topic of cooking with whole grains came up. As the discussion weaved around what's popular right now, favorite recipes, and cooking methods, I finally couldn't hold it in any longer and blurted out, "You guys, I don't like quinoa — I never have."
It was such a relief to finally say what I've known for a long time. Before my unexpected confession, the only other person who knew of my dislike was my husband. A few years ago, when quinoa was first being touted as the amazing seed that everybody loved cooking and eating, I gave it a try. In fact, I gave it many tries in attempts to be healthy and understand what the fuss was about.
There were lots of quinoa salads, quinoa soups, and quinoa patties — both homemade and eaten out. The final straw was a disastrous attempt at making quinoa-stuffed zucchini; it was so bad it went straight into the compost and we ordered takeout instead. As we waited for our replacement dinner to arrive, I looked at my husband and said, "You know, I just don't like quinoa." And, proving we were meant to be together, my husband seemed relieved and agreed. Quinoa was kicked to the curb in our household.
So what is it about quinoa that I don't like? No matter how I cook it or rinse it off first (I even did a test to see if rinsing did anything), it still tastes like dirt to me — musty, kind of dry, and just straight-up weird.
People have challenged me to add more ingredients to quinoa, to deep-fry it and use it as a garnish (which I find tolerable, but not worth doing), or to cook it in coconut milk, but I find it a bit silly to try to mask quinoa's flavors just to join the bandwagon and say I'm eating quinoa. I can get quinoa's magical qualities by eating other grains, seeds, or proteins, and I happily do so.
Sorry, quinoa — you and I were never meant to be. Now that I've made our breakup public, we can happily go our separate ways.
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)