On the hunt for the best quinoa recipes? We don’t blame you! Quinoa—an edible seed and plant-based protein—is known for being a nutritional powerhouse and easy to incorporate into any meal needing a healthy boost.
And here’s a fun fact: although technically a seed, quinoa is classified as a whole grain. One cup of cooked quinoa offers around 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
Here, we’ll take a look at some key quinoa benefits, followed by our favorite recipes for a healthy quinoa meal you can make any time of the day!
The Benefits of Quinoa
Looking for a good reason to eat quinoa? It has plenty! Here are some of the biggest quinoa benefits to keep in mind:
It’s Packed with Protein and Fiber
Quinoa is considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies can’t make on their own—which is a pretty big deal in the protein world!
Unlike some other grains, quinoa also contains lysine, an essential amino acid typically found in sports supplements marketed toward those looking to add lean muscle. Lysine has also been said to strengthen the immune system and increase serotonin levels.
Moreover, quinoa is high in fiber, which is great for your digestive health! Some scientists have even found that the fiber in quinoa is linked to a longer life.
It’s a Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants help reduce inflammation in the body and may also help prevent cell damage from free radicals, which can cause conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
It’s Perfect For a Plant-Based or Vegan Diet
Since quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, it’s an ideal protein choice for those looking for nonanimal sources. It is also a great source of nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, and vitamin B1. (All of the good stuff!)
It’s Low in Sugar
Quinoa is low in sugar and carbohydrates, which is helpful for anyone trying to prevent or manage diabetes. It also has a low glycemic index, which measures how rapidly certain foods raise blood sugar levels.
Is Quinoa Gluten-Free?
Yep, quinoa is gluten-free! If you suffer from celiac disease or choose to follow a gluten-free diet, quinoa is a great option.
Even better? Studies have found that opting for quinoa over typical gluten-free ingredients such as refined tapioca, potato, corn, and rice flour, can significantly boost the amount of nutrients and antioxidants you get in your diet.
Quinoa Breakfast Recipes
Let’s start your day off right with these healthy breakfast ideas using quinoa!
1/21 – Rise and Shine Breakfast Quinoa
Rise and shine with this sweet and energizing quinoa breakfast recipe from Get Healthy U!
All you need is some quinoa, vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice), a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some fresh berries for a delicious and energizing start to your day.
2/21 – Turkish Egg and Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
This savory yet healthy breakfast from Half Baked Harvest uses some pretty amazing ingredients: Greek yogurt, fresh herbs and garlic, poached eggs (or eggs cooked to your liking), quinoa, sun-dried tomato pesto, spinach, avocado, and goat cheese.
The best part? You can make most of the components in advance (score one for meal prep!) or use hard-boiled eggs for quick assembly in the morning.
3/21 – Strawberry Quinoa Pancakes
For a healthier twist on pancakes, Recipe Runner offers up a delectable strawberry quinoa option that brings a new level of texture and nutrients!
They’re made in a similar manner to traditional pancakes, but the added quinoa gives you that much-needed protein boost to power your day.
4/21 – Blender Blackberry Quinoa Cakes
Who doesn’t love a good blender option—especially when you’ve just rolled out of bed? Cotter Crunch delivers a blackberry quinoa cake recipe that’s super easy to make and packed with fiber and protein.
These breakfast cakes are bursting with flavors of blackberry, honey, and vanilla. As a bonus, they are dairy-free with no refined sugar, oil, or butter.
Quinoa Snack Recipes
Craving a quick quinoa fix? Here are the perfect quinoa snack recipes:
5/21 – Crunchy Quinoa Snack Bars
These quinoa snack bars from That Vegan Babe are no-bake, need just five ingredients, and take 10 minutes to make!
Make them using puffed quinoa (which she shows you how to make yourself), chocolate-flavored powdered peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and almond milk.
6/21 – Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Bites
There are only four ingredients in these gluten-free cheesy quinoa bites from Cupcakes and Kale Chips! While they’re great for picky toddlers, they’re also ideal for any adult looking for a healthy, filling snack.
Just grab some quinoa, your choice of veggies (really anything you have on hand!), cheddar cheese, an egg, a little salt, and voila! A quick recipe for the perfect cheesy quinoa snack.
7/21 – No-Bake Peanut Butter Quinoa Energy Balls
Introducing your new favorite grab-and-go snack! You’ll definitely enjoy getting a burst of energy from these nutritious and filling no-bake peanut butter quinoa energy balls from Eat Yourself Skinny.
This simple recipe calls for rolled oats, shredded coconut, raisins or cranberries, sunflower seeds, and, of course, peanut butter.
Quinoa Salad Recipes
Sometimes you just need a quick and delicious quinoa salad, right?
8/21 – Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Our kitchen at Get Healthy U is pretty excited about this zesty and delicious quinoa salad!
Add some black beans, tomatoes, onion, fresh cilantro, and lime juice for a healthy, flavorful salad that’s the perfect meal or side dish any day of the week.
9/21 – Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad
Ready to wake up your taste buds? Half Baked Harvest puts a creative spin on the traditional buffalo chicken salad by using quinoa, broccoli, shredded carrots, and cabbage.
Top with plenty of bite-size chicken pieces and bleu cheese crumbles, smother in buffalo sauce, and enjoy all the health benefits of quinoa—and the spicy kick that comes with them.
Quinoa Soup Recipes
Quinoa is even great in soups! Here are a couple of great recipes to make it happen:
10/21 – Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Kale
One word: yum! Cookie + Kate has concocted a delicious quinoa vegetable soup with plenty of veggies, garlic, beans, herbs, and spices.
This soup is gluten-free and vegan (unless you top it with the optional parmesan cheese). Its versatility allows you to switch up the veggies to match the season, so you can make it all year long!
11/21 – Mexican Quinoa Soup
If you’re craving a Mexican flare, give this quinoa soup from The Endless Meal a try!
The recipe includes chorizo sausage, salsa, onion, red pepper, garlic, black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and more robust flavors for an unforgettable quinoa soup.
Quinoa Lunch Recipes
Take your lunch break up a notch with these quinoa lunch recipes! (Or make them for dinner, too.)
12/21 – Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Strips with BBQ Honey Mustard
Protein crusted in more protein—we call that a win-win!
These quinoa-crusted chicken strips from Half Baked Harvest are a great alternative to fried chicken. A bonus? She adds an addictive BBQ honey mustard sauce for dipping.
13/21 – Quinoa Fiesta Bowl
Our quinoa fiesta bowl from Get Healthy U can be served hot or cold and offers fresh, distinctive flavors you’ll love.
Grab some protein-packed quinoa, red pepper, tomato, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro, lime, and spices for one of the best grain bowls out there!
14/21 – Quinoa Pizza Crust
Yep, quinoa can be used for one of the best guilty pleasures—pizza! This quinoa pizza crust is vegan, gluten-free, and only needs five ingredients.
This healthy recipe is so easy to make: throw everything into a blender, add the batter to a pan, bake it for a bit, and add all of your favorite pizza toppings. Simple, healthy, and a great way to please the whole family!
Quinoa Dinner Recipes
Make quinoa the star of your main meal with these awesome quinoa dinner recipes:
15/21 – Crispy Quinoa Burgers
Say goodbye to boring burgers! Not only does Half Baked Harvest offer a healthy burger recipe using quinoa, but it’s topped with sweet potato fries, beer caramelized onions, and gruyere cheese.
This recipe may take a little longer to make than the others, but we guarantee the savory and spicy-sweet flavors will be well worth the effort!
And if you’re not feeling the sweet potatoes or onions, the burger itself provides plenty of satisfaction. (Although we recommend you give them a try!)
16/21 – Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
You really can’t go wrong with stuffed bell peppers, and Feel Good Foodie offers her take using hearty quinoa, diced tomatoes, black beans, spices, and cheese.
What’s more, you can make these peppers ahead of time or freeze them to enjoy the next day or at a later date!
Related: Creamy Bell Pepper Slaw
17/21 – Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Who says you can’t feed a crowd with quinoa? Our Get Healthy U team loves this one-pot chicken quinoa casserole that satisfies your comfort food craving without the guilt!
In addition to plenty of fluffy quinoa, you’ll use ingredients like yellow onion, red peppers, chicken breast, fresh garlic, and ginger. Your guests will beg you to make this again!
18/21 – Healthy Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa
We have to include an option for seafood lovers, of course!
This recipe from Well Plated By Erin uses one pan for easy cleanup and only takes 30 minutes to make—perfect for a busy weeknight or when you’re simply not up for cooking an elaborate meal.
With incredible flavors from the garlic shrimp, onion, fiery spices, and lemon juice, you’ll forget how healthy it is!
Quinoa Dessert Recipes
These quinoa dessert recipes make great additions to any meal!
19/21 – Creamy Quinoa Pudding
Five Heart Home offers up this decadent quinoa pudding that’s described as a mix between rice and tapioca pudding. It’s creamy, comforting, and packed with protein!
Along with quinoa, this recipe calls for your choice of regular, almond, or coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon and can be served warm or chilled.
20/21 – Superfood Quinoa Chocolate Bark
Half Baked Harvest’s delicious chocolate quinoa bark is actually really easy to make!
Enjoy the genius combination of quinoa, seeds, nuts, maple syrup or honey, coconut oil, coffee (optional), and dark chocolate for a healthy and satisfying dessert any die-hard chocolate fan will love.
21/21 – Spiced Quinoa Apple Pie Parfait
Who knew this combination worked so well? How Sweet Eats did, and this recipe is a sweet ending to any meal!
The apples are roasted and caramelized and layered with Greek yogurt and spiced quinoa for a delectably healthy treat.
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