20 Ways to Eat Quinoa All Day

From breakfast through dessert, put the protein-packed superfood to delicious use with these inventive recipes.

May 8, 2015
Photograph courtesy of Damn Delicious

It’s no secret that quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s a complete protein, gluten-free, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients such as iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. But you may be surprised to find out that it’s not technically a grain. It’s actually a seed related to spinach and beets!

More: Your Ultimate Whole Grain Cooking Guide 

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Regardless of its classification, the super-seed is a versatile ingredient and it can easily be used as more than just a substitute for rice. "Quinoa has a slight nutty flavor, but it's otherwise very neutral so it takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it -- it works with just about everything,” says Jeremy Bringardner, co-executive chef of LYFE Kitchen. You can use it as a base for your vegetarian meals, as a side dish for dinner, and you can even sneak it into your desserts for a nutritional boost!

It’s also very easy to cook and difficult to mess up. “You can overcook it and it won’t be ruined,” says Bringardner. “The texture will be softer, almost like stuffing, but it will still taste good.” Just don’t forget to give it a good rinse first. “The rinsing step is important to wash away the slight bitterness,” he says.

Not sure how to cook with quinoa? Don’t worry -- we’ve got you covered. We tapped some of our favorite books and bloggers for their best quinoa recipes. Here are 20 healthy ways to eat quinoa -- from breakfast to dessert!

Vanilla Pear Quinoa Granola from Strength and Sunshine 

Photograph courtesy of Strength and Sunshine

Quinoa flakes and uncooked quinoa seeds add unique texture and flavor to this healthy granola recip, while the pear contributes a subtly sweet flavor. This makes a delicious addition to your breakfast routine or a great homemade gift!

Fruit and Quinoa Parfaits from Eat Spin Run Repeat 
Make a batch of quinoa on Sunday and you’ll have a super easy, gluten-free breakfast ready all week. Toss some into a bowl or glass with fruit, and breakfast is served. These parfaits also make great grab-and-go morning meals. Just assemble all the ingredients in a mason jar or other container ahead of time.

More: 13 Amazing Mason Jar Salad Recipes

Samoas Cookie Quinoa Bowl from A Whisk and Two Wands 
A creamy breakfast bowl that tastes like Girl Scout Cookies? Yes please! This non-dairy recipe is sweetened with dates and combines nut butter, cashew milk and quinoa to give you a healthy does of protein while satisfying your cookie craving.

Funfetti Breakfast Quinoa from Food Faith Fitness 

Photograph courtesy of Food Faith Fitness

Another fun take on a warm breakfast bowl, this recipe has only six ingredients and tastes like funfetti cake! The protein powder swirl topping makes this treat extra creamy -- and healthy!

Berry Quinoa Kale Salad from Tina Muir
One of the easiest ways to use quinoa is as a base for a salad. This super easy blend combines the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory goodness of berries, honey, and apple cider vinegar for a delicious and healthy lunch.

Sweet Scallops and “Fried” Veggie Quinoa from Cotter Crunch 
Looking for a twist to your usual stir-fry? In place of traditional ingredients like sesame oil and soy sauce, this fried quinoa recipe uses coconut butter (or oil) and tamari, which adds a sweet and savory flavor and makes the dish gluten-free.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Quinoa and Lemon Tahini Sauce from The Roasted Root

Photograph courtesy of The Roasted Root

Need a new recipe for Taco Tuesday? The lemon tahini sauce adds a unique twist to your regular Mexican fare, and the sweet potato offers extra fiber and vitamin A. The best part? You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time. 

Peruvian Stuffed Avocados from Go Dairy Free 
This vegan and gluten-free recipe brings together the power of two superfoods – quinoa and avocados! Avocados are rich in healthy fats and a good source of fiber, folate, potassium and Vitamin K. 

Quinoa Chicken Salad from Healthy Nibbles & Bits 
The combination of summer fruits and vegetables -- think strawberries, tomatoes, basil and radishes -- makes this healthy chicken salad perfect for warmer weather!

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers from Damn Delicious 

Photograph courtesy of Damn Delicious

Another great option for Meatless Monday, these stuffed peppers are packed with filling healthy grains and veggies.

Colorful Quinoa from Fitaspire 
This fiber-filled quinoa salad definitely lives up to its name, thanks to the addition of brightly colored berries, pomegranate seeds, avocado, and spinach.

Quinoa Kale Bean Burgers from The Happy Health Freak 
Combining quinoa, beans and kale, these burgers pack a powerful nutritional punch. Serve them up for your next backyard barbeque!

Spinach Quinoa Patties from Back to Her Roots 

Photograph courtesy of Back to Her Roots

You’ll want to have a batch (or two!) of these healthy patties on hand in your refrigerator or freezer. Use them as a substitute for veggie burgers, an on-the-go snack, or a nutritious dinner side dish. You can top them with sour cream, tzatziki, or hummus for added flavor. 

Quinoa Tabouli from Nutritious Eats 
Swap quinoa for bulgur for a new take on tabouli, a traditional Mediterranean salad. Bonus: Since the salad is served cold, you can prep it ahead of time.

Veggie & Bean Quinoa Bites from Nutritioulicious 
Tired of the same old lunch options? Mix it up with these veggie and bean quinoa bites. Eggs and chickpeas give them an extra dose of protein, and they also make a great breakfast or afternoon snack.

Blueberry Quinoa Smoothie from The Body Reset Diet Cookbook 

Photograph courtesy of The Body Reset Diet Cookbook

Yep -- you can toss quinoa in your blender, too! This recipe from celeb trainer Harley Pasternak will round out your breakfast or post-workout snack with a healthy dose of fats, protein, and fiber.

Crab Fried Quinoa with Spicy Peanut Sauce from Ari’s Menu 
If you love spicy Thai food and peanut sauce, you need to try this recipe. It’s loaded with hearty vegetables and is a fun version of fried rice.

Apple Quinoa Bake from Nutrition Starring You 
Didn’t think you could use quinoa in dessert recipes, did you? This baked apple treat calls for only seven ingredients, and it contains no dairy, nuts, or added sugars. Oh, and it's low in sodium, too!

Quinoa Brownies from Nosh and Nourish 

Photograph courtesy of Nosh and Nourish

You’ll never guess the secret ingredients in this brownie recipe. But don’t tell! No one will notice they're eating a healthy brownie. 

Carrot Cake Quinoa Bites from Pancake Warriors 
Vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and high in protein? That’s right. These little bites taste just like carrot cake and are actually good for you!