Random cravings. I get them all the time. In fact, I go through these weird phases where I’ll eat the same thing for a month straight. Does that ever happen to you?

Throughout August I was in love with frozen yogurt topped with cacao nibs and those frosted animal crackers (pink ones, obviously). I also couldn’t get enough of this amazing honey crusted tilapia that I dreamt up and fed to my roommates. During the month of September I found myself digging into the Nutella jar, pouring Tabasco smoked chipotle sauce on everything, eating sushi whenever possible, and chowing down on pancakes every morning.

Now that it’s October, I’ve been obsessing over Trader Joe’s sprouted 7-grain bread (topped with roasted garlic hummus… OMG!), pumpkin muffins, greek yogurt with pumpkin butter, and of course, my favorite little grain: quinoa!

From pancakes to stir-frys, quinoa is a great gluten-free grain to throw into recipes. It’s full of protein and fiber, packs a delicious nutty flavor, and expands as it cooks — meaning that it will take on the flavor of the liquid you cook it in.

Another thing that’s wonderful? Quinoa cooks in only 15 minutes, which makes it perfect to store in the fridge and add to your weeknight dinner menu or toss in your lunch. Of course, making sure you know how to properly cook quinoa will make your meals that much better. Thus, I’ve created a photo collage with steps below to assist you in your quinoa cooking.

Oh, and I’ve also linked to some of my best quinoa recipes that you absolutely need to try! Ready?

So, how do you cook quinoa?

STEP 1: Rinse your Quinoa: Quinoa can be bitter if you do not properly rinse it before you cook it. Place 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it a few times under cool water.

STEP 2: Use the right cooking liquid. Using different liquids brings a bigger flavor dimension to the quinoa, but water is great too. Typically if I’m making breakfast quinoa, I cook it in milk. If I’m making it as a savory side dish, I’ll cook my quinoa in a chicken or vegetable broth for a bit of flavor from the salt. However, cooking your quinoa in water will also work great. Start with a 1:2 ratio–one part quinoa, two parts water or other cooking liquid (chicken broth, milk, etc). I use 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of liquid, which will make about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. If you want you can double that to make a larger batch.

STEP 3: Cook quinoa. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil then stir in quinoa. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for exactly 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and let stand covered for another 5-10 minutes.

STEP 4: Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Quinoa will pop upon cooking and expand. To help separate the grains, use a fork and fluff the quinoa. Add in fruit, nuts, milk, spices, or whatever your heart desires, or serve it in one of these great recipes below.

See that steamy goodness? Mmmm, delicious! Here are some other of my favorite, healthy recipes featuring quinoa:

Thai Peanut Chicken Edamame Quinoa Stir Fry

Crispy Toasted Quinoa Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Incredible Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quinoa Banana Bread

Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese

Strawberry Mango Chopped Spinach

Loaded Veggie Avocado Quinoa Frittatas

Gluten Free Quinoa Flour Banana Pancakes

Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes

Chia Quinoa Banana Granola Bars

Slow Cooker Black Bean Quinoa Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chipotle Turkey Quinoa Chili

Quinoa Turkey Sloppy Joe Stuffed Bell Peppers

Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Enchilada Meatloaf Muffins

Lentil Quinoa Chili

Fresh Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad

Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Chickpea Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

Kale Edamame and Quinoa Salad