What Is Quinoa? 15 Creative Recipes
This protein-packed grain looks a bit like couscous, is as versatile as rice, and tastes delicious on its own or in these quinoa recipes.
Basic Quinoa Recipe
Pronounced “keen-wah,” this protein-packed grain contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It looks a bit like couscous and is as versatile as rice, but quinoa has a richer, nuttier flavor than either of them, and you can use it for both sweet and savory dishes, says Wesley McWhorter, RD, a chef and dietitian at the UT Health School of Public Health in Houston, Texas. “It also holds up well the next day, unlike rice, so it’s a good option for cold leftovers the next day,” he says.
We found 15 creative recipes that utilize this versatile grain.
Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad
This Asian-inspired dish from Ambitious Kitchen incorporates peppers, carrots, onions, and cilantro, but feel free to experiment with the ingredients you like, as well.
Enchilada Chicken Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Roasted bell peppers from Ambitious Kitchen are stuffed with quinoa, chicken, red enchilada sauce, cheese, and spices in this satisfying Mexican-themed dish.
Shrimp and Vegetable Quinoa Fried Rice
This “healthified version of shrimp fried rice” on Simply Quinoa suggests sautéing the veggies in water instead of oil. In general, quinoa is a healthy substitute for rice (and makes a tasty pilaf).
Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cookies
The secret to the rich flavor of these cookies on Simply Quinoa is a half cup of cocoa powder with chocolate chunks folded into the batter.
Rosemary Quinoa Turkey Meatballs
Quinoa functions as the perfect binder in these protein-filled turkey meatballs from the blog Simply Quinoa. The recipe’s good-for-you factor is boosted by the use of spaghetti squash in place of pasta, but you could serve these with whatever you like.
Blueberry Chocolate Chip Quinoa Pancakes
Quinoa and Greek yogurt amp up protein in these pancakes from the blog Ambitious Kitchen. On its own, quinoa also makes a great breakfast mixed with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey.
Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Protein Bars
These fruit and nut bars from the blog Healthy Little Foodies incorporate many nutrient-rich foods like bananas and dates to sweeten things up, and chopped nuts and seeds for texture.
Southwestern Quinoa Bites
These quinoa bites from the blog So Very Blessed combine quinoa with black beans, frozen corn, and onion. Plus, they bake up easily in a muffin tin.
Healthy “Reese’s” Quinoa Crispy Treats
These Reeses Pieces meets Rice Krispies Treats from the blog Simply Quinoa are a double treat.
Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant
These stuffed eggplants from the Simply Quinoa are filled with veggies and topped with tahini sauce.
No-Bake Brown Butter Quinoa Bars
From the blog How Sweet Eat Is, satisfy a dessert craving with no-bake bars filled with quinoa, oats, almonds, flaxseed, and chocolate chips.
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Zucchini Breakfast Cookies
From the blog Healthful Pursuit, these vegan and gluten free delights are made with flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract and dairy-free chocolate chips, with added nutrition from quinoa, zucchini, and flaxseed. Quinoa also works well for baking delicious and nutritious breads and muffins.
Sesame Ginger Sweet Teriyaki Salmon with Garlic Quinoa Stir Fry
The blog Ambitious Kitchen perks up a simple quinoa stir fry with fresh ginger and garlic.
Apple Spice Quinoa Granola
Granola from the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction jazzes itself up with quinoa, apples, raisins, and more.
In these cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod, the quinoa adds a distinct crunchiness and protein boost.
- Wesley McWhorter, RD, chef and dietitian at UT Health School of Public Health, Houston, TX.
- Ambitious Kitchen: "Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing."
- Sally's Baking Addiction: "Apple Spice Quinoa Granola."
- Two Peas and Their Pod: "Quinoa Cookies."
- So Very Blessed: "Southwestern Quinoa Bites."
- Simply Quinoa: "Healthy "Reeses" Quinoa Crispy Treats."
- Simply Quinoa: "Quinoa-Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce."
- Ambitious Kitchen: "Blueberry Chocolate Chip Quinoa Pancakes."
- Healthy Little Foodies: "Fruit and Nut Quinoa Bars."
- Ambitious Kitchen: "Enchilada Chicken Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers."
- Simply Quinoa: "Shrimp Vegetable Quinoa Fried Rice."
- Simply Quinoa: "Double Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies."
- Simply Quinoa: "Rosemary Quinoa Meatballs."
- How Sweet Eat Is: "No-Bake Brown Butter Quinoa Bars."
- Healthful Pursuit: "Quinoa Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Breakfast Cookies."
- Ambitious Kitchen: "Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Salmon with Quinoa Stir Fry."