If you are looking to spice up your meals, while adding loads of nutrition and texture, then it’s time to try quinoa and the best quinoa recipes out there! Quinoa is a seed that acts like a grain but beats the other grains hands down with a huge kick of nutrition. This hardy, nutrient dense grain is packed with protein and manganese, and it’s one of those key foods high in phosphorous (the power mineral!) It also boasts an unusually high ratio of protein to carbohydrate and contains an amazing level of essential amino acids (1).
If you are looking to add protein, fiber, and a host of vitamins and minerals to your diet, plus great taste and versatile texture, then try out these tasty quinoa recipes below. Not only is this superfood good for you, but it’s delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet.
Quinoa History & Nutrition
2013 was the “International Year of Quinoa” as designated by the United Nations (2) due to its nutritional content, and its ability to thrive in a variety of temperatures, soil conditions and elevations. Native to Peru and Bolivia, it’s now being grown in Canada, Kenya and other diverse ecological systems. Sacred to the Incans, quinoa has been cultivated in the harshest conditions, without need for pesticides, herbicides or irrigation for over 7,000 years.
This rising food star is related to beets, spinach and chard and is available in white, red or black. The bitter coating naturally protects it from insects and other pests, and yet is easy to remove by a thorough rinsing. Today, most quinoa available at grocery stores is pre-rinsed; however, you can rinse the quinoa prior to cooking to remove any residual bitterness that may remain.
Whether you select white, red or black quinoa, you can rest assured that your family is getting one of the purest and most natural forms of protein available from the plant world. Being gluten-free, it’s an ideal addition for those who have gluten intolerance or celiac disease (3). Try these best quinoa recipes below to add this extraordinary seed, that acts like a grain, to your diet.
How to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa is easy to cook:
1. Simply heat water or broth in a saucepan.
2. Add your quinoa. You want to use a 2:1 ratio of water or broth to quinoa, or one cup quinoa to two cups water or broth. One cup raw quinoa makes about three cups of cooked quinoa!
3. Once you bring your liquid to a boil, then add your quinoa. You can then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15–20 minutes (or until most of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa looks bigger, feels tender, and starts to separate).
4. With a fork or spoon, break up the quinoa and fluff it up to get all the seed/grains separated. And you’re done!
You can store cooked quinoa for a few days, and it will retain its texture (much better than pasta will, actually).
The Top 21 Best Quinoa Recipes
Ready to give quinoa a try? Here are our top 21 Quinoa Recipes that will not only make you fall in love with this amazing grain, but enjoy all the quinoa health benefits as well.
Note: I recommend using grass-fed dairy and goat milk, replace table salt with sea salt or kosher salt, replace canola and vegetable oil with coconut oil or ghee, and following the rest of the items listed in my healing food shopping list.
Quinoa Recipes for Breakfast
Yes, you can enjoy quinoa for breakfast! This superfood is a great way to start your day, giving you a boost of one of the more unexpected high-protein foods as well as essential nutrients to keep your energy levels high until lunch. Try these hearty and delicious breakfast quinoa recipes!
Did you know that quinoa has more than twice the fiber, protein and potassium as oatmeal? If you have gotten tired of the same ole oatmeal, try this slightly sweet and satisfying coconut quinoa porridge. Start cooking the quinoa as you sip your tea or coffee, and let it cook while you are getting ready. Plus, it calls for coconut oil, and the health benefits of coconut oil are many, including being good for your immune system. This vegan-friendly recipe would be great topped with a sprinkling of chopped nuts or fresh fruit.
Who says breakfast has to be sweet? Savory breakfasts can keep you from the mid-morning dip in energy that naturally follows an overly sweet breakfast. This yummy breakfast bowl can be started the evening before with the sautéing of the broccoli and mushrooms.
In the morning, cook quinoa as directed, adding the vegetables and cheese until liquid is absorbed. Be sure to use A2 cow, sheep or goat milk cheese. Top with a fried sunny-side up egg (or a soft-boiled egg or poached egg) and enjoy this nutrient-dense, fresh and satisfying breakfast.
Do you have an abundance of fresh fruit or blueberries waiting to be consumed? This vegan-friendly warm quinoa porridge is made with unsweetened almond milk, quinoa and vanilla extract, and then topped with fresh fruit. High in protein, low in fat, this breakfast helps you to start the day with the essential nutrients you need to thrive until lunch.
One of my favorite breakfast foods is eggs. Scrambled, poached or fried in coconut oil, they are a great source of nutrition. When added to quinoa, it really gets your energy going for the day! Try this quinoa scramble with avocado for a delicious grain-free, hearty and nutrient-dense breakfast. Mix it up by adding a spicy salsa or black beans for extra boost!
Quinoa Recipes for Lunch
Healthy lunches are often easier to envision than they are to prepare. However, the recipes below can be prepared in advance and then just mixed together prior to eating.
Tabbouleh has been enjoyed for generations throughout the Middle East. By replacing the bulgur with quinoa, this side dish moves to center stage. The magnesium-rich food, quinoa is also high in protein and potassium, making it perfect for your mid-day meal.
Filling and satisfying, this salad is packed with cucumbers, tomatoes and scallions, and is easily prepared in advance. Don’t worry about the garlic in the salad dressing; the fresh mint and fresh parsley are natural breath fresheners. Quinoa tabbouleh travels well, making it perfect as a healthy lunch at your desk, or packed into school lunches.
Packed with all of the flavors you love from Italy, this quinoa infused caprese salad is perfect for lunch, or a quick dinner. Quick and easy to prepare, the combination of tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, topped ever so lightly with olive oil is satisfying and healthy.
Swap out the mozzarella for one of the cheeses listed in my Healing Food Shopping List. Click here to download my Healing Foods Shopping List.
The recipe calls for red quinoa, adding to the visual appeal, but any color of quinoa will suffice. Speed up the preparation by using leftover quinoa, and in just a matter of minutes, you can be enjoying this light, flavorful and healthy lunch.
This Greek-inspired burger feels like a splurge, but in reality, it’s packed with protein from the quinoa, beans and yogurt. Prepare the burgers as directed a day ahead and brown just before serving. Instead of cooking these quinoa burgers in olive oil, brown in coconut oil for extra healthy coconut oil benefits. Top as desired with cucumber, some fresh tomatoes, some yogurt sauce and enjoy!
To make this a healthy and healing option, I always switch out the off-the-shelf pita, and choose a sprouted grain bun or homemade sourdough. This tangy, protein-dense treat will quickly become a favorite in your home.
Fall brings some of the most beloved vegetables of the year, and this hash recipe is sure to please. For a quick lunch, use leftover quinoa and roast the sweet potato and beets the evening before. Prior to serving, poach an egg to top this earthy, colorful and luscious combination.
This salad is as nutritious as it is beautiful. If you suffer from headaches or migraines, the high-magnesium content of the quinoa, along with the high levels of vitamin C, can help fight those pesky afternoon headaches by relaxing blood vessels.
In this recipe, the quinoa is tossed with radishes, cucumbers, almonds, dates, cheese and a zesty lemon dressing. Just switch out the parmesan with a raw or sheep’s milk cheese.
Then, you top it with chunks of avocado! Abundant with flavor and texture, this is one of my “must try” quinoa recipes!
10. Quinoa Wraps
This vegan-friendly wrap incorporates a variety of textures and flavors, making it a satisfying and nutrient-dense meal. The golden raisins add a touch of sweetness, while the salty pumpkin seeds add crunch and the tapenade just add a touch of acidity.
NOTE: For this recipe to meet my approval I always substitute sprouted-grain tortillas. For those following a gluten sensitivity diet, use gluten-free tortillas, also from sprouted grains. And if you are going to take this to work for lunch, pack the filling separate from the tortillas and wrap just before serving to avoid sogginess.
Who doesn’t love a quesadilla? This recipe incorporates broccoli and quinoa into this traditional dish, boosting the protein, while helping to lower cholesterol. Replace the cheddar cheese for a cheese from my Healing Foods Shopping List, and use tortillas made from sprouted whole grains. If you like something to dip your quesadilla in, mix yogurt with a touch of lemon or lime juice and enjoy.
Quinoa Recipes for Dinner
Do you need to break out of your quinoa routine? Is your go-to recipe for quinoa just cooking it with stock or water and serving it as a side dish? Then these recipes will break you out of the rut, provide outstanding nutrition, and satisfy even the choosiest of eaters.
Winter squashes — including Delicata, acorn and the dumpling squash this heavenly recipe calls for — add a sweet, creamy and rich addition to your plate.
Perfect for a fall evening with family, this easy recipe combines quinoa with dates, pistachio nuts, onion, lemon and a touch of cinnamon.
Serve as a side dish for roasted meats, or as the main course with a salad. Try it, and maybe it will make the cut for your Thanksgiving table!
Are you ready for a healthy, filling and exotic dinner featuring quinoa? Falafels have been updated in this Middle Eastern classic with the addition of quinoa. The combination of chickpeas, fresh herbs, spinach and tahini in these baked falafels pair perfectly with avocado dressing, warm sprouted pita bread and some tzatziki.
This dish proves that we do eat with our eyes first. The combination of quinoa, brown rice, carrots, broccoli, kale, shitake mushrooms, avocado, tahini and sprouts creates a warm and inviting dish that is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Perfect as a main course, this vegan-friendly bowl of goodness is guaranteed to satisfy.
15. Pizza Quinoa
Craving pizza? You know that slice of takeout pizza is anything but healthy, right? Well, in less time than it takes to have a pizza delivered, you can be enjoying this bowl full of pizza-inspired quinoa!
Satisfy your craving with this healthy alternative with all of the flavor – and none of the guilt. Quinoa provides the protein and satisfying chewy texture, while the arugula adds a bit of a bite. Just remember to use an approved cheese from my healing hoods shopping list. Research continues to show that lycopene in tomatoes has significant anti-oxidative activity and can reduce the development of some types of cancer.
Yes, one of the tastiest quinoa recipes is actually made for your slow cooker! Start in the morning, and by dinner time, your house will smell divine and your dinner will be ready. Enjoy a bowl full of this healthy, protein-packed chili without guilt. Top with fresh diced tomatoes and green onions, and just a sprinkle of raw cheese.
Sometimes you just need something yummy and comforting. For those nights, try out this delicious quiche-style Quinoa Spinach Bake. Not only is it grain-free and dairy-free, but it’s absolutely packed with nutrients! Sure to please every crowd, it’s full of flavor and crunchy texture with a sesame crust.
Quinoa Recipes: Desserts & Snacks
Quinoa is truly one of the most versatile foods on the planet! Quinoa for breakfast, lunch and dinner – but how about for snacks and yummy desserts you ask? Here you go!
In need of a post-workout boost? The micronutrients in quinoa help you recovery more quickly, and as one of the potassium-rich foods, the content of these quinoa granola bars help to keep your body fluids pumping to avoid post-workout cramping and soreness. In this recipe, replace the peanut butter with almond or cashew butter. These granola bars can be easily adapted for our health protocol by relying on coconut oil or ghee benefits instead of butter.
Healthy fudge? Well, it can be in moderation. Just don’t splurge on it every day. This vegan, gluten-free fudge is rich and decadent, with the texture of a chocolate truffle. To keep fresh, be sure to refrigerate as directed.
The key to this recipe is transforming quinoa into flour; this is easily accomplished with a coffee grinder or blender. And definitely forego the agave syrup and cane sugar and just substitute maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Similar to traditional rice pudding, this creamy quinoa pudding recipe combines quinoa, milk (or your favorite nut milk), cinnamon and vanilla for a rich dessert. Instead of the sugar called for in the recipe, use coconut sugar or raw honey. Top with your favorite fresh berries and enjoy.
When you just need to splurge and have a cookie, try this recipe that includes just five ingredients. Unsweetened coconut, quinoa, raw honey, egg whites and a pinch of sea salt are the only ingredients you need for this treat.
Quinoa is truly a versatile food. Don’t limit quinoa to a simple side dish cooked with water. It adapts well to a variety of cuisines, including Middle Eastern, Italian, Mexican, Indian and many others.
Even if you haven’t enjoyed quinoa in the past, pick a few of these recipes to try. Much of the preparation for these recipes can be completed in advance. So why not cook up a big batch of plain quinoa and try a few of these quinoa recipes this week!
A quick note from our founder-
Over the past year, my friend Dave at PaleoHacks has been working on a secret cookbook with world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu chef Peter Servold.
Well, today this new this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE
That's right -- as a special launch promotion, we're offering our brand new Paleo fat loss cookbook to you for free (Chef Pete lost 60 lbs using these recipes!) -- All you have to do is just cover a small shipping cost (international shipping is a bit more).
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Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.