raw quinoa quandary
September 23, 2017 12:15 PM   Subscribe

So I got this muesli recipe, and it calls specifically for *uncooked* quinoa and amaranth. They're added to a flaxseed/chia seed mix that you grind up and mix into the muesli. Is this a thing? I thought both quinoa and amaranth had to be rinsed (due to the saponin) and cooked to be edible. Cursory googling suggests that some people do grind quinoa raw and put it in smoothies or similar, and other recipes that involve sprouting it and adding the sprouts to stir fries or whatnot, but this seems... peculiar.
posted by halation to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
I put raw quinoa in my home-baked granola. It's just mildly crunchy and tastes fine. I don't grind it. I usually rinse it before I cook quinoa normally, but not before I put it in granola. It could be that the brand I buy is prerinsed, because I've never noticed any bitterness. I haven't heard that saponins are dangerous in the amounts found in quinoa, just that they taste bitter (in fact, they may even have health benefits). Here's a Q&A discussing that topic.
posted by beyond_pink at 12:42 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what your question is, other than is raw ground-up quinoa and/or amaranth a thing. As far as I can tell, you're just making a rough flour by grinding it, which is definitely a thing, both for quinoa and amaranth.

Rinse the quinoa before adding to the recipe if you want to get rid of the bitter soap taste, but as far as I can tell, saponin is not dangerous if ingested.
posted by alligatorpear at 12:51 PM on September 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

They do have pre-rinsed quinoa if you're concerned about flavor. Ancient Harvest is the brand I buy (near my gluten free/organic section of the store.) I eat quinoa daily and have surely had it in granola raw, but not made it myself.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:29 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

In general, plant-based foods don't really need to be cooked, it's just a preference thing, cooking makes a lot of veggies and grains easier to eat and tastier, but it's generally not a safety issue to eat raw plant foods.

Raw quinoa and amaranth aren't going to hurt you.

Roughly 90% of anything you read these days warning you about "harmful chemicals" in common foods is alarmist nonsense. It sucks, sorry.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:53 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm with you about uncooked grains. When I tried overnight oats it tasted raw and gluey to me. But then I never found raw cookie dough appealing either. (Nothing to do with alarmist chemicals in food, more seeing the negative effect of eating raw flour and potatoes when I was young.)

For the recipe, I'd personally just toast the quinoa and amaranth in a skillet, and then grind it.
posted by A hidden well at 3:23 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I made some muesli with uncooked toasted quinoa and found it disgusting (to me). Nothing to do with tasting bitter, though; it's just that the quinoa stayed way too crunchy for me, even when soaked for a few hours.
posted by Frenchy67 at 5:43 PM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

thank you all! i am going to go forth boldly and make muesli. beyond_pink, that link was super-helpful, and precisely answers the thing i was wondering about.
posted by halation at 12:14 PM on September 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

As far as i know, Amaranth doesn't need to be washed. It's just quinoa that has the saponins on it.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:38 AM on September 25, 2017

QUICK QUINOA UPDATE: this muesli is freaking delicious. i want to provide the recipe as a public service. i got it from a colleague who somehow received it while researching the history of home radio use in the 1930s. the internet is still magical.
posted by halation at 8:34 AM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yes, me too, I know this recipe - it is called Erb-Muesli !!! I discovered it a year ago, when looking for dairy, gluten and sugar free recipes... it is by far the best muesli I tried...the raw quinoa doesn't bother me, the fruit flavor is strong enough to cover it...and the consistency is just a matter of taste... I really love it, and if you take a look at the nutritional tables on their website you can see also how healthy and balanced it is. It keeps me full for at least half a day.
posted by fithea at 7:11 AM on October 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes it IS! My colleague was communicating with Ernst Erb on a totally different topic (history of consumer radio advertising) and Mr Erb gave him the recipe during their email exchange. It's really tasty. I throw some frozen blueberries in with the juice. It turns a pretty purple colour and is a nice mix of tart/sweet.
posted by halation at 6:45 AM on November 4, 2017

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