Quinoa is an awesome gluten-free whole grain. Well, to be precise it’s actually a seed, but with all nine essential amino acids, tons of fiber, iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, & vitamin E and manganese, there’s no need to get all technical! Its subtle, nutty flavor and texture (something between chewy and fluffy) make it a great addition to and/or substitution for side dishes, main dishes and even desserts. Here are 10 new ways to love quinoa!

quinoa guacamole

1) Guacamole
Adding quinoa to guacamole makes turns this dip into a zesty side dish or even a meatless Monday main dish. You’ll get protein, “healthy” fat and whole grains to keep you full of energy and satisfied! Plus, quinoa is a good source of the flavonoids Quercetin and Kaempferol, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.

Recipe at Girl Makes Food

quinoa granola bar

2) Granola Bars
Making granola bars with quinoa will give you a bar full of whole grains, fiber and protein that is naturally gluten-free (no need to use unnatural processes or ingredients to remove any part of the grain).

Recipes and inspiration: Quinoa granola bars on Pinterest

quinoa pizza

3) Pizza Crust
We all know that cauliflower can make a great gluten free crust, but quinoa bakes into a golden, chewy crust that resembles an original pizza crust. Plus, you get an additional boost of protein.

Recipes and inspiration: Quinoa pizza crust on Pinterest

quinoa risotto header

4) Risotto
When you cook quinoa in the manner of risotto, where broth is absorbed little by little, it takes on a softer, velvety texture. It, also, contains many phytonutrients and antioxidants, which can have positive anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

Recipes and inspiration: Quinoa risottos on Pinterest

quinoa brownies header

5) Brownies
Regular flour tends to be processed so finely that our bodies absorb and convert it to sugar almost immediately. Since quinoa has not only protein but also fiber (and a lower glycemic index) it’s slower to release its sugar, making it a great flour substitute in brownies.

Recipes and inspiration: Quinoa brownies on Pinterest


6) Summer Roll
A summer roll is non-fried, “sushi” type roll that is full of crunchy vegetables sandwiched between creamy avocado and fluffy rice. By switching to quinoa, you’ll get extra iron for healthy blood cells.

Recipes and inspiration: Quinoa summer rolls on Pinterest
quinoa mac cheese

7) Mac & Cheese
Is there anyone who doesn’t love mac & cheese? By substituting quinoa for the noodles and butternut squash for the heavy cream, you can feel good about serving 5-ingredient quinoa mac & cheese (recipe by Simply Quinoa) to the kids and also eating it yourself!

quinoa smoothies

8) Smoothie
Looking for a way to add protein to your post-workout smoothie? Try blending some quinoa with fruit and Greek yogurt for a filling drink that will help repair your muscles and replenish your energy.

Recipes and inspiration: Quinoa smoothies on Pinterest


9) Overnight Quinoa
Oatmeal is great, but you have to add nuts, Greek yogurt or peanut butter to it to ensure a filling, protein-rich breakfast. Quinoa is alread a complete protein itself, and also an excellent source of dietary fiber. This helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after a meal, aids in weight loss and lowers bad cholesterol levels.

Recipes and inspiration: Overnight quinoa on Pinterest


10) “Breadcrumb” Coating
If you’re looking for a nutritious flavorful coating, quinoa is the answer. Unlike typical breadcrumbs or panko, it’s a good source of magnesium, which helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong and your heart beat steady.

Recipes and inspiration: Quinoa “breadcrumb” coating on Pinterest

 Joanne Perez, MS, LDN, RD has over twenty years of experience. She has also worked as an RD in the US Army where she was an officer for 5 years. Joanne believes that nobody & no body is perfect, but everybody & every body is unique—and eating in the real world is all about moderation, variety, balance & fun! Learn more about Joanne and how to work with her here.