Quinoa is a seed that is grown in South America. It is one of the most versatile ingredients to have in your kitchen. It has a nutty flavor and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is a good source of protein, fiber and iron, making it a great choice for vegetarians looking to increase their vegetable intake without sacrificing taste.
Quinoa has been cultivated for over 5,000 years, but it is only recently that it has become popular outside of its native region. In recent years, quinoa has been touted as an alternative grain to wheat or rice because it contains all nine essential amino acids needed by humans. This makes quinoa especially valuable to vegans or people with food allergies who may otherwise struggle to get enough protein in their diet without adding meat or eggs (which are both high in saturated fat).
The health benefits of quinoa extend beyond just providing protein for your body though: it also contains several essential minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and manganese along with B vitamins thiamin (B1), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), riboflavin (B2), folate and vitamin E.
Food With Quinoa
We always have quinoa on hand because it’s nutritious and simple to prepare. With eight grams of protein and a whopping eight grams of fiber per cup—hello, gluten-free, plant-based protein source—quinoa is almost unbelievable nutrient dense. Quinoa also has the elusive “complete protein,” which is a protein that contains all nine of the required amino acids. Very few sources of plant-based protein can make that claim. Although quinoa is officially a seed, most people consider it to be a grain and substitute it for grains like oats or rice.
How to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa is quite simple to prepare. Employ this ratio: 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa (either water or stock). When the water is boiling, add the quinoa that has been rinsed. For about 20 minutes, with the lid on, cook the quinoa until the water has been absorbed and it is soft. You might be interested in some quinoa recipes now that you are aware of how healthy quinoa is and how to prepare it. We’ve included 30 of our most favorite, go-to quinoa dishes, though! These simple quinoa recipes range from wholesome dishes to substantial bowls and breezy quinoa salads that are sure to please.
Our Favorite Quinoa Salad Recipes
- Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad. This curried cauliflower quinoa salad with is so simple. It’s the perfect vegetarian weeknight dinner! Hello meatless Mondays!
- Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Apples. Healthy and autumnal, this vegetarian quinoa side dish is hearty and pretty, too.
- Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing. Beans and quinoa mean this quinoa salad recipe is loaded with protein, and we’re all about the zesty, tangy avocado dressing that tops this keeper of a quinoa recipe!
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Spring Greens . Loaded with olives and sun-dried tomatoes, this filling, healthy quinoa recipe would make a wonderful lunch or light dinner.
Quinoa Bowl Recipes
- Quinoa Bowl. With chicken and black beans on top, this quinoa recipe doubles down on the protein! It’s a bowl of nutrition and it tastes good, too!
- BLT Quinoa Bowls. Everything we love about a BLT, in quinoa bowl form! Basically, this quinoa recipe is pure genius.
- Quinoa Egg Bowl with Pecorino. Inspired by her love for Caesar salad, Melissa Clark created this super delicious quinoa bowl! Finished with a runny egg, it’s proof that healthy doesn’t have to mean completely without indulgence.
- Mango Quinoa Bowls. A mango-topped quinoa recipe that’s fast, healthy and delicious. We love that it’s drizzled with a tangy vegan cashew sauce.
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls. The cilantro-lime crema that finishes this quinoa bowl is the absolute best, and it’s easy, too!
Easy Quinoa Recipes
- Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf. A way-healthy spin on classic meatloaf, this easy quinoa recipe makes great leftovers, too.
- Creamy Italian Quinoa Soup. With more than a cup of half-and-half in it, this ultra-creamy soup isn’t exactly the picture of health, but it is bursting with flavor and it comes together fast. We just love it.
- Roasted Carrots and Red Quinoa. A lemony miso dressing lifts and lightens this hearty quinoa side dish recipe. Eat it as a side or light main.
- Quinoa and Egg Enchilada Skillet. This egg-topped skillet dinner shows how versatile quinoa can be—the whole, simple meal is built around this healthy pantry staple. Healthy, easy, one-pan—what more could we ask for?!
- Pesto Quinoa with White Beans. White beans and homemade arugula-basil pesto dress up quinoa in this super quick salad that’s the ideal vegetarian make-ahead lunch.
- One-Skillet Mexican Quinoa. Loaded with corn, black beans and spices, this Mexican quinoa recipe is a filling, ultra-healthy vegetarian one-pan dinner that everyone will love.
- Quinoa Salmon Bake. Another one-pot, super-healthy quinoa recipe, loaded with everything good for you and nothing that’s not. It’s easy, feel-good food. Win, win, win.
Vegan Quinoa Recipes
- Lentil Soup with Quinoa and Mushrooms. It doesn’t get much more satisfying than this super easy vegan quinoa soup. Lentil and quinoa team up to make it brim plant-based protein.
- Quinoa Black Bean Burgers. Everyone needs a great DIY vegan burger recipe, and this version is easy to love. Simply spiced and quick to put together, we love how quinoa gives it some heft. Yum!
- Overnight Quinoa. Made with both oats and quinoa, this riff on classic overnight oats is an easy way to add even more nutrition to that quick and easy breakfast. Dairy free, gluten free, and vegan, it’ll suit just about any dietary need, too!
- Smoky Quinoa Soup. Smoked paprika is one of our favorite ingredients, and it finds a happy home in this easy vegan quinoa recipe.
- Moroccan Quinoa Soup. More like a stew than a soup, this comforting vegan quinoa recipe is a great one to make on a meal-prep day and enjoy all week as leftovers.
- Six Ingredient Breakfast Quinoa. Vegan, high-protein and low-effort, this easy recipe for breakfast quinoa is everything we want breakfast to be. Top it with fresh berries and call the day kicked off!
- Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups. A lot of breakfast quinoa recipes veer towards the sweet side of things—and nothing wrong with that! But we really love this savory spin on quinoa for breakfast.
- Blueberry Quinoa Muffins. Moist, gluten-free and ready in just 30 minutes—sign us up!
- Sweet Breakfast Quinoa Recipe. Maple syrup, orange zest and a little cinnamon flavor this sophisticated take on quinoa porridge. Topped with a dollop of ricotta, you’ll be in breakfast heaven.
Quinoa Recipes with Chicken or Turkey
- Turkey Stuffed Peppers. Spiced with fresh jalapeños and taco seasoning, and sprinkled with pepper jack cheese, turkey-stuffed peppers are a protein-packed, veggie-laden, hassle-free meal that everyone will love.
- One-Pot Chicken, Quinoa, Mushrooms & Spinach. This is the kind of thing we really crave in fall and winter—herbs and spices, moist, juicy chicken thighs and quinoa make for an incredibly fragrant, healthy one-pan dinner.
- Chicken-Quinoa Salad with Green Goddess Dressing Recipe. Three of our favorite things—quinoa, chicken and green goddess dressing—in one perfect quinoa recipe.
- Chicken Quinoa Soup. Perfumed with lemongrass and rosemary, this warming chicken soup is a healthier riff on the classic chicken noodle and we’re all for it.
- Creamy Bacon Quinoa & Chicken Skillet Casserole. How can something with the phrase “creamy bacon” in the title be healthy?! Well, it can. Click through and see just how healthy this easy quinoa recipe is.
- 1/3 cupquinoa, rinsed
- 2/3 cupwater or chicken stock
- 1 tbspolive oil
- 1small onion, finely chopped
- 1carrot, grated
- 1red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lbsground turkey
- 2 tbsptomato paste
- 1/4 tspcayenne pepper
- 1 tspgarlic powder
- `1 tsponion powder
- 2 tbspWorcestershire sauce
- 2 tspsalt
- 1 tsppepper
- 2 tbspbrown sugar
- 2 tspWorcestershire sauce
- Bring the quinoa and water or chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Heat an oven to 350° F.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot and bell pepper, sauté until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool. In a large bowl, stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, cooked veggies, tomato paste, cayenne, onion and garlic powder, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Combine the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire in a small bowl. Rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.
- Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160° F. Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Favorite Quinoa Salad
I present to you my preferred quinoa salad! I love all of the quinoa salad recipes I’ve shared over the years, but this one is unquestionably my favorite.
This quinoa salad is tasty, crisp, and revitalizing.
Fresh cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, chickpeas, fresh parsley, and a garlicky olive oil and lemon dressing are all that are needed to make it. The salad is somewhat reminiscent of tabouleh, a bulgur- and tomato-based herbed Lebanese salad.
The Best Quinoa Salad
Three reasons to love this recipe:
- This quinoa salad recipe is also very easy to toss together, especially if you use leftover quinoa (see recipe note). The recipe uses my preferred quinoa cooking method, which yields fluffy quinoa every time.
- This salad packs great for lunch, picnics, road trips and plane rides.
- Bring this allergy-friendly salad along to your next potluck—it’s vegan/dairy free, gluten free, and nut free, for all to enjoy.
Although this recipe doesn’t taste very “simple,” it has many advantages that make it a go-to option in my kitchen. I hope it ends up becoming your go-to recipe for quinoa salad as well! Please remark and let me know how it goes for you.