In recent times, quinoa has increased in prominence as people have come to know the amazing health benefits associated with this grain. But no matter how healthy a food is, it doesn’t do you any good unless you actually eat it.
Here are 10 great ideas for ways to get more quinoa in your diet.
1. Quinoa Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, and starting out with quinoa is a great way to start your day. This recipe makes a hot quinoa cereal spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
2. Quinoa Pancakes
Another great way to sneak quinoa into your breakfast is to make quinoa pancakes. These pancakes are delicious, thick, and moist.
3. Quinoa Parfaits
You may think of parfaits as exclusively sweet dishes, but you can actually make some delicious savory parfaits with quinoa. This recipe combines Greek yogurt, lemon, dill, quinoa, cucumber, avocado, parsley, pine nuts, and olive oil to make a refreshing, unique, and healthy meal.
4. Quinoa Flour
Cooking whole quinoa isn’t the only way to eat it. If you buy quinoa flour, you can use it in some of your baking. Quinoa has a unique, nutty flavor, so it will likely affect the final taste of your baked good, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just find recipes that the taste will complement instead of contradict. Also, be aware that quinoa flour may be heavier than wheat flour.
You will likely need to experiment to find the perfect amounts, but you can probably substitute up to about 50% of the wheat flour a recipe calls for with quinoa flour. For more information on substituting quinoa and other flours, check out this information from vegkitchen.com.
5. Quinoa as a Side
Of course, eating quinoa doesn’t have to mean sneaking it into other foods. One of the easiest ways to eat quinoa is simply to prepare it by boiling, then use it as a replacement for rice, potatoes, or whatever other starches you would usually eat. Quinoa can go well with chicken, beef, or just about any strongly-flavored main course you decide to make.
6. Add to Soups
Another great way to get quinoa into your diet is to add it to soups, much like many people do with rice. If you want, you can find soup recipes that specifically include quinoa, like this one for chicken and quinoa soup. Alternately, you can just add quinoa to your favorite existing soup recipes. Just make sure you give the quinoa enough time to cook.
7. Add to Salads
You can add quinoa to salads. Prepare your salad using your greens of choice, then add boiled (but cooled) quinoa over the top. Add additional toppings such as boiled eggs, nuts and seeds, chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, or bits of meat. Add your favorite dressing, and you have a delicious salad with a hearty serving of vegetables, healthy whole grain (in the form of quinoa), and some protein.
8. Quinoa Desserts
The first word that comes to mind when you think of quinoa may not be “dessert,” but the fact remains, there are a lot of great dessert recipes that make great use of quinoa. If you like coconut and vanilla, try this recipe for coconut quinoa pudding. It has a delicious coconut flavor, and a wonderful texture.
Quinoa almond joy bars are another great dessert option. This recipe uses uses dates as its sweetener. In addition to the quinoa and dates, this recipe uses almonds, coconut, chocolate chips and water. If you love candy bars but don’t like all of the sugar and mystery ingredients, this is a great option for you.
Finally, try this recipe for gluten-free carrot cake, which makes great use of quinoa flour. The cake has an absolutely delicious whipped coconut topping, but if you like, you can also substitute it for an equally divine cream cheese frosting.
9. Quinoa Smoothie
Smoothies are another unexpected place where quinoa can shine. Before you add the quinoa to your smoothie, you’ll want to prepare it either by soaking or boiling. Then, simply blend as usual. There is a large variety of different sorts of smoothies that you can put quinoa in, but this recipe here uses ice, honeydew melon, peaches, banana, and spinach.
10. Popped Quinoa
For an unusual, but fun treat, try swapping out popcorn for popped quinoa at your next movie night. You can find more information on popping quinoa here, but basically, you will heat oil in a saucepan as you would for corn, then add a little uncooked quinoa to the pan.
Popped quinoa doesn’t puff up quite as dramatically as popcorn, but it still can be a lot of fun. Season as you would popcorn, then share with the family. We’re pretty sure they’ll love it.