40 Healthy Ways to Cook With Quinoa {Recipe Roundup}

November 10, 2015

Start cooking this popular ancient grain with 40 healthy quinoa recipes for every meal of the day. 

Quinoa is a nutrient-rich ancient grain that can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Here are 38 healthy quinoa recipes to try. @jlevinsonRD

This post was compiled with the assistance of Nutritioulicious intern Amanda Mateer

Although relatively new to most Americans, quinoa has been a staple of the of Inca diet in Bolivia, Peru, and Chile for over 5,000 years. In fact, quinoa means “the mother grain” in the Inca language. While some people may still not know how to pronounce this grain, quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa, by the way) has quickly become a pantry staple in our house.

Despite its use as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed and referred to as a pseudo grain – similar to buckwheat and teff, other ancient grains that have recently become popular. You also may be surprised to learn that quinoa comes from the same family as Swiss chard, spinach, and beets, and since it’s actually a seed, it’s gluten free.

Compared to other gluten-free grains, quinoa contains more antioxidants, fiber, iron, and most notably protein. In fact, quinoa is one of the only plant foods that’s a complete protein – meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Recent research has shown health benefits of quinoa including its potential in managing type 2 diabetes and its positive effect on appetite control and blood lipid profile, including triglycerides and cholesterol.

Quinoa is often used in dishes in place of rice and other grains, but it is increasingly being used as a gluten-free flour substitute and for a variety of other culinary uses. Personally, my favorite thing about quinoa is how quickly it cooks up – 15 minutes is all it takes!

To help you join in on the recent quinoa craze we’ve compiled a roundup of nutritious and delicious quinoa recipes that can be used for round the clock meals, as well as healthy on-the-go snacks for the whole family!


Warm up with a hot bowl of quinoa for breakfast. A great substitute for traditional oatmeal. Try this Cherry Vanilla Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @heathermason86

Cherry Vanilla Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @ The Nutty Nutritionist

Quinoa Breakfast Bars @ The Lean Green Bean

No Need to Stop for Breakfast Bars @ Craving Something Healthy

Coconut Quinoa Breakfast @ Fannetastic Food

Banana Nut Quinoa Bars are a great way to eat quinoa for breakfast or a healthy snack. They’re gluten free and full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. @afinks

Banana Nut Quinoa Bars @ The Wholesome Dish

Green Eggs Quinoa Muffins @ Nutrition a La Natalie

Overnight Almond-Chia Breakfast Quinoa @ Homemade Nutrition

Quinoa Breakfast Nibbles @ The Nutrition Twins

Coconut Cream Pumpkin Quinoa Porridge @ Cotter Crunch


Corn and Black Bean Quinoa Salad @ Small Bites by Jessica

Quinoa Greek Salad for One @ Nourished Simply

Autumn Apple Quinoa Salad @ Meal Makeover Moms

Triple Berry and Quinoa Salad with Mixed Greens places sweet berries and nutty quinoa amidst a backdrop of earthy mixed greens, cucumbers, and peppers, all pulled together with a balsamic vinaigrette for a colorful and scrumptious salad. @healthyideaspl

Triple Berry and Quinoa Salad with Mixed Greens @ Healthy Ideas Place

4 Ingredient Quinoa Salad @ Fannetastic Food

Southwest Quinoa Salad @ Chocolate Slopes

Cranberry and Kefir Quinoa Salad @ My Menu Pal

Delicate quinoa mixed with tender sweet corn, tossed with arugula, and then drizzled with a honey/lime/chive dressing. @mkhandbook

Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Avocado &  Bacon @ Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds @ Chocolate Slopes

Entrees and Side Dishes

Quinoa Gratin @ Eating with a Purpose

Veggie and Bean Quinoa Bites @ Small Bites by Jessica

Coconut Quinoa Bowl @ Eat Real Food

Curried Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Pepitas @ Nourish. Breathe. Thrive

These grilled eggplant quinoa stacks are a healthier version of chicken & eggplant parmesan. @AnneDanahyRD

Grilled Eggplant Quinoa Stacks @ Craving Something Healthy

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa @ Smart Nutrition

One-Pot Black Bean Quinoa Chili with Avocado @ The Nutrition Twins

Buffalo Chickpea Quinoa Burgers with “Blue Cheese” Dressing @ The Foodie Dietitian

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Pumpkin Seed & Cherry Quinoa Pilaf @TheSpicyRD

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Pumpkin Seed & Cherry Quinoa Pilaf @ The Spicy RD

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Squash @ Plant Eaters’ Manifesto

Quinoa-Stuffed Cornish Hens @ Small Bites by Jessica

Black Bean Fried Quinoa @ Marisa Moore Nutrition

Six ingredient stuffed tomatoes with whole grains can be eaten as part of a main dish or as a vegetable side. @RDKitchen

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes @ RDelicious Kitchen

Spicy Quinoa Skillet @ Hungry Hobby

Colorful Quinoa Tabouleh @ Mom’s Kitchen Handbook


Gluten free Orange Date Cake made with quinoa flour in a slow cooker @reganjonesRD @healthyaperture

Gluten Free Slow-Cooker Orange Date Cake @ Healthy Aperture

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookie Bars @ Simply Quinoa

Quinoa Banana Bread @ Cotter Crunch

Multi-Grain Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies @ Go Dairy Free

Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls @ The Yooper Girl

If there aren’t enough recipes here for you, my friend and fellow dietitian Holley Grainger shared 12 Dietitian-Approved Healthy Quinoa Recipes on her blog last week!

What’s your favorite way to cook with quinoa?

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  1. Yum!! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of eating quinoa-it’s such a versatile grain! Mouth watering round-up-I want to try one of everything 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing my Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash!

    1. I’m totally with you EA! And I love the ease of making it too! Will be sharing some more quinoa stuff this week – stay tuned!

    1. Thanks so much Melanie! I feel like lately I fly through boxes of quinoa. I need to buy it in bulk. Look out for some more quinoa stuff from me later this week too 😉

  2. That Buffalo Chicken Quinoa has my name all over it! I love the versatility and variety you have shared here. Who would have thought there’s so much you can make with quinoa!?

    1. Thanks Katie! Besides the quick 15 minutes it takes to make a batch of quinoa, my favorite thing about it is its versatility! Have fun experimenting!

  3. Quinoa is my favorite grain to date! I don’t think I can go one week without eating the stuff. Thanks so much for including my coconut quinoa bowl!! So many new recipes to try 🙂

    1. Thanks Sally! Both those recipes you made sound great! My kids loved quinoa when they were between 1-2 and now it’s hit or miss. Depends on their mood! You know the drill – keep putting it in front of them!