Quinoa: the seed with a name that’s hard for some people to pronounce (keen-wah). It’s very much like a grain, but is in fact a seed. Quinoa is touted as a super food, and for good reason! Vegans and vegetarians tend to keep stockpiles of quinoa in their pantries because it’s loaded with protein. According to CalorieCount, 1/3 of a cup of cooked quinoa has 160 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.
It’s also gluten-free, which is a big bonus for people like me that are gluten intolerant. Quinoa is available in a variety of colors such as white, black, and red. Its texture is definitely unique—fluffy and airy—yet also similar to couscous and barley. The problem with quinoa is that when people try it for the first time they usually eat it plain, with no seasoning. So of course they don’t like it. To get the full benefit, it’s best to use it in recipes, like these:
1. Superfood Wrap
A gluten-free wrap that’s also completely vegan! This one’s for garbanzo bean lovers! It’s a wrap chock-full of super food: you get kale and sweet potato along with garbanzo beans and quinoa.
2. Quinoa Breakfast
This recipe gives you eggs and quinoa, which are both complete proteins, with avocado as a healthy fat source. You can’t go wrong with this combination! Eat it all by yourself or split it with your honey.
3. Blueberry-Pecan Quinoa Breakfast Bowl (It’s Paleo!)
Have you been missing morning cereal since you went gluten-free? This breakfast bowl will blow your mind and you’ll never think about that processed boxed cereal again. Blueberries, pecans, and coconut with your quinoa is an amazing combination!
4. Quinoa Porridge
This porridge gives you all totally natural ingredients. You can make it ahead of time and eat it all week long for breakfast! Sweeten the porridge with a couple of dates and a shredded apple.
5. Collard Green Quinoa Wraps with Chili Seed Mix
These delicious wraps are packed full of quinoa, seeds, avocado, salsa, red cabbage, a little cilantro, and lime. What a colorful, vitamin and mineral-packed raw treat! Take these on your next picnic.
6. Spice Up Your Quinoa, South-Indian Style!
A quinoa version of Upma (traditional Southern Indian dish). Mix up your quinoa experience with this meal! This meal combines black mustard seeds, grated fresh ginger, and green chilies, with peas, carrots and quinoa. Make sure you have an adventurous spirit for this recipe!
7. Enchilada Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Many quinoa recipes are designed with vegans in mind, so it’s rare to find any with meat in them. This one absolutely makes my mouth water. Quinoa, chicken, garlic, Mexican spices, and cheese… how could anyone resist?
8. Quinoa Granola Bars
This one’s great to make for your kids or for your next hike. Hit up the bulk bins of your local grocery store and stock up on cashews, almonds, coconut flakes, dried cherries, oats, flax seed, and of course quinoa. This recipe creates 16 bars for about the same price as 2 or 3 prepackaged trail mix bars.
9. Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos with Roasted Cranberry Pomegranate Salsa
Get ready for a total flavor explosion in your mouth! They’re a little spicy, a little sweet, very healthy, and one of the prettiest foods I have ever seen! These tacos may contain sweet potatoes and cranberries, but don’t wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy these little beauties!
10. Quinoa Salad With Black Beans and Avocado
A southwest-style cold salad with quinoa is a special touch. It’s quick to make and delicious to eat. This salad would be delicious served over tortilla chips (like nachos) or in a gluten-free tortilla wrap.
Featured photo credit: Ambitious Kitchen via ambitiouskitchen.com