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5 Easy Quinoa Recipes From Breakfast to Dinner Plus FAQs

My husband and I both enjoy cooking. We like sampling and discovering new and different foods from all areas of the world.

Quinoa varieties in several different colors

Quinoa varieties in several different colors

Nutrition for Healthy Living

My professional history includes working as a registered nurse. One of the classes I particularly remember from nursing school focused on nutrition. In that class, we learned that choosing foods rich in nutrients and fiber can have a significant effect on overall health. I still have that textbook in our library today.

Quinoa has surfaced as one of the healthiest vegetable-based high-protein food sources readily available today in most supermarkets. Years ago, my husband and I purchased a big bag of it at Costco and started experimenting with different recipes.

I will happily share some of our recipes and hope you enjoy them as much as we do. You can easily use this product and turn it into meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snacks. It is such a versatile ingredient, as you will soon discover.

Recipes in This Article

  1. Quinoa with mixed berries and almonds
  2. Roasted chicken, vegetable, and quinoa soup
  3. Quinoa breakfast bowl with Greek yogurt, raisins, banana, and walnuts
  4. Tricolor savory quinoa with red onion
  5. Chocolate pudding with quinoa and chopped walnuts
5-easy-quinoa-recipes-from-breakfast-to-dinner

How to Cook Quinoa

In several of my recipes, I use already-cooked quinoa. It is so simple to do.

  1. Soak or rinse: Soak the quinoa by putting it in a sieve, placing it in a bowl of water, and letting it soak for a few minutes. Alternately, you can hold the sieved quinoa under running water for 30 seconds or up to 2 minutes. I prefer the first method (soaking) to conserve water.
  2. Measure and boil: After the soaking or rinsing process, place twice as much liquid (water, broth, milk, etc.) as the quinoa in a pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Add a bit of salt.
  3. Simmer and fluff: Simmer for about 15 minutes until the liquid is all absorbed and remove it from the heat. After a few minutes, remove the cover from the pan and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

I purposely make more than we plan to eat at one time to have extra on hand for other recipes. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days in a lidded container. Cooked quinoa is delicious for use in both hot and cold dishes.

Quinoa with mixed berries and almonds

Quinoa with mixed berries and almonds

Quinoa With Mixed Berries and Almonds

In the following recipe, I use a triple berry combination. We usually keep a frozen bag of berries in our freezer, and it contains raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. You could easily substitute any other fruit of your choice, fresh or frozen. My recipe makes a portion size for two servings of slightly warm to room temperature goodness.

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • 1 cup already-cooked quinoa (see instructions above)
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup thawed mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Heat the almond milk and already-cooked quinoa in a pan over low heat with the honey and almond extract until blended and warmed.
  2. Microwave the frozen berries for 45 to 60 seconds until thawed.
  3. Spoon the quinoa combination into the bottom of a bowl and top it with the berries and sliced almonds.
  4. For the best flavor, mix everything well so that you get all of the ingredients of this tasty breakfast in every bite.
Roasted chicken, vegetable, and quinoa soup

Roasted chicken, vegetable, and quinoa soup

Roasted Chicken, Vegetable, and Quinoa Soup

Every time my husband and I shop at Costco, we almost always bring home a roasted chicken. It is a bargain at $4.99. Their roasted chickens are large, juicy, and delicious.

We cut off some of the meatier portions, and then I boil up the rest of the chicken, bones and all, in water. When cool enough, I debone the chicken and cut up the meat into small pieces for adding to soups or plates of pasta. I also defat the stock.

I hope you enjoy my thick and tasty soup recipe below using the stock and boneless chicken pieces. If you want thinner soup consistency, add more chicken stock or broth to suit your taste.

Ingredients

  • 10 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup quinoa, uncooked
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I use the Penzeys brand)
  • 1½ cups deboned chicken, cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Put the chicken stock or broth into a large kettle on the stove.
  2. After rinsing the quinoa, add it to the broth.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 45 to 60 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors are blended.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Quinoa breakfast bowl with Greek yogurt, raisins, banana, and walnuts

Quinoa breakfast bowl with Greek yogurt, raisins, banana, and walnuts

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl With Greek Yogurt, Raisins, Banana, and Walnuts

The inspiration for this breakfast bowl came from thinking about how I often add extra ingredients when cooking oatmeal. However, in contrast to oatmeal, which I usually eat warm, I prefer eating this quinoa bowl cold. If you are getting ready to hit the gym for a good morning workout, eating this meal should give you loads of energy. It has plenty of protein with not only quinoa but Greek yogurt and walnuts. The amounts below are for two servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold cooked quinoa
  • ⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus extra to drizzle over the top, to taste
  • 1 medium banana, sliced
  • ¼ cup walnut halves and pieces

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the quinoa, yogurt, raisins (reserve a few for topping), cinnamon, vanilla, and honey.
  2. Divide into two portions and put into serving bowls.
  3. Top with the sliced banana, walnuts, and a few of the raisins.
  4. Drizzle with a small amount of extra honey to taste, and enjoy!
Tricolor savory quinoa with red onion

Tricolor savory quinoa with red onion

Tricolor Savory Quinoa Recipe With Red Onion

As shown in the photo above, I used cooked tricolor quinoa as a base to drape a piece of marinated and peppered salmon over it. It makes a tasty substitute for rice or mashed potatoes and is a healthier alternative. Paired with some steamed broccoli, it made a delicious meal.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup uncooked tricolor quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Saute the chopped onion in the olive oil for a few minutes in a pan on the stove until slightly softened.
  2. Place the quinoa in a sieve and soak in a bowl of water for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the water. Alternately, rinse the quinoa under running water.
  3. In that same pan with the sauteed onion, add the rinsed quinoa, chicken broth, and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Fluff the quinoa, and use as you wish for savory dishes.
Chocolate pudding with quinoa and chopped walnuts

Chocolate pudding with quinoa and chopped walnuts

Chocolate Pudding With Quinoa and Chopped Walnuts

Pudding is such an easy dessert to make—and it pleases kids and adults alike. Thinking of the texture and nuttiness of quinoa, I thought it would make a great pairing with chocolate pudding. To add even more to that nutty texture, I added chopped walnuts. If you did not know, you would think it is only nuts in that pudding!

I used a 5.9-ounce package of chocolate Jello pudding mix and followed the package directions. After adding the quinoa and nuts, it makes six servings of a little over five ounces each. We give it our thumbs up for flavor, especially topped with sliced strawberries!

Ingredients

  • 1 (5.9-ounce) package chocolate Jello pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk (not soy milk)
  • ½ cup cold cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Sliced strawberries for garnish

Instructions

  1. Per package instructions, beat the pudding mix and milk with a whisk for 2 minutes.
  2. Add in the quinoa and chopped nuts.
  3. Spoon into 6 serving dishes and garnish with sliced strawberries.
  4. Chill until ready to eat. Any leftovers should be refrigerated.
Quinoa growing on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca

Quinoa growing on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca

FAQs

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a broad-leafed plant in the amaranth family that can grow to heights ranging from three to nine feet tall. It has edible leaves and seeds that have fed livestock and humans for many thousands of years. Today, it is primarily grown for the seed harvest.

What Does Quinoa Taste Like?

I would describe the flavor as being somewhat nutty. It also has a slightly crunchy texture. That makes it easy to combine with other foods that can be either sweet or savory. Some of the recipes above show how versatile an ingredient it can be.

Is Quinoa a Grain?

Many people mistakenly think that quinoa is a grain. It is not a grain but the seed of a plant. That tiny seed contains a powerhouse of healthy nutrients!

Is Quinoa Gluten Free?

Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest. However, some people with allergies to wheat and rice might also be sensitive to quinoa. Those unused to eating high-fiber diets might wish to start slowly adding more of it to meals over time.

How Many Varieties Are There?

There are thousands of varieties, and the seeds come in several colors, including purple, yellow, orange, and green, but the most commonly found ones available in grocery stores are red, black, and white. The darker colored ones contain more of the beneficial antioxidants.

Where Is It Grown?

Most of the quinoa worldwide comes from Peru and Bolivia, although it is also grown elsewhere. It can tolerate a variety of soil conditions. For the harvesting process, the weather must be dry. Typically picked by hand, combines now do some of that work in places.

What Is Saponin (and Why Does It Matter)?

Quinoa has an outer covering that contains a sticky coating known as saponin. The saponin gives the seeds a bitter taste, and in fact birds typically do not eat wild or cultivated quinoa for this reason. Most varieties sold in grocery stores have the saponin already removed; however, it is still a good idea to soak or rinse the seeds in cold water before using them in recipes.

Is Quinoa Good for You?

It makes a "superfoods" list because of its high protein content that contains all nine essential amino acids. For this reason, NASA is considering the growth of it for long space flights in the future.

Eating quinoa can potentially be beneficial for disease prevention such as cancer, diabetes, and heart problems. It might even help those who need to shed excess pounds. To learn more about these potential benefits, follow the source links at the bottom of this page.

Quinoa vs. Rice vs. Couscous

  • Quinoa vs. brown rice (similarities): Both are high in fiber, contain minerals good for health, are gluten-free, and good for digestion. People with Type 2 diabetes benefit from eating foods like these because they take longer to digest, providing better blood sugar control. Eating high-fiber foods might even result in better weight control.
  • Quinoa vs. brown rice (differences): Quinoa wins the nutritional value competition with brown rice because of this one fact. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need to function. People who follow vegetarian diets are sure to appreciate this. The usual foods people eat that are complete proteins include meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. When solely relying upon a vegetarian diet to meet those needs, one must become educated on proper food pairings or rely upon supplements to get the same effect.
  • Quinoa vs. couscous: Nutritionally, quinoa comes out on top. Couscous is a tiny pasta made from durum wheat, so it is not gluten-free. It does contain significantly more selenium, but quinoa has fewer carbs, more fiber, protein, manganese, folate, and iron. It also has that winning combination of having all essential amino acids!
  • White rice vs. brown rice: White rice is the less nutritious choice. Brown rice has more fiber, antioxidants, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fewer carbs and calories. The sole exception is that enriched white rice does contain more iron and folate.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2021:

Hi Yves,

I am so pleased that you enjoyed reading these recipes and plan to make some of them. Thanks for your comment.

Yves on July 05, 2021:

You knocked it out of the park with these four recipes, Peggy! All of them sound delicious. I make a lot of chicken soup... but I hadn't tried a soup with such thickness. And that chocolate pudding looks to die for.

Thanks for these recipes. I plan to use them.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2021:

Hi Liza,

Happy 4th of July to you also! I hope you enjoy cooking with quinoa. It is fun incorporating something new into our diets occasionally. Thanks for your comment.

Liza from USA on July 04, 2021:

I have never incorporated quinoa in my cooking, Peggy. However, I am aware of the nutrition of this high-protein food. I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes you've mentioned here. I thought it would be great to cook something new in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing, Peggy. Happy 4th!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 01, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

I think that many people think that quinoa is a type of grain. You are not alone in that presumption. I hope you give it a try someday!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 01, 2021:

Hi Adrienne,

We do enjoy eating quinoa for breakfast, as you can see from my photos. These are merely a couple of ideas. It is so versatile! Thanks for your comment.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 30, 2021:

Peggy

I always thought quinoa was a grain.

I have never tried it, but you make it look delicious.

I love fruit, yogurt & all these great ingredients.

Maybe one day I will try them.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 30, 2021:

Hi Heidi,

It is good to know that there are frozen quinoa and vegetable sides available to purchase. It makes it easy to whip up a meal without too much effort. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 28, 2021:

Hi Vanita,

I will bet that you could come up with all kinds of ways to use quinoa in vegetarian recipes as it is the seed of a plant. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 28, 2021:

Hi Denise,

Yes, some of these dishes can easily be made vegan. You should really appreciate getting all 9 essential amino acids when eating quinoa since you are on a vegan diet. Thanks for your comment. Have a blessed day!

Adrienne Farricelli on June 28, 2021:

Quinoa is quite new to me, but I have been enjoying it for breakfast as an oatmeal lately after reading about its health benefits. I am eager to try the quinoa oatmeal recipes with bananas you have shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 28, 2021:

Hi Rozlin,

I am happy to hear that you learned about quinoa and are willing to try it someday. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 27, 2021:

Hi Vidya,

I am pleased that reading this article inspired you to try using some quinoa. Enjoy these recipes with my blessings.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 27, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

Sometimes we fall into patterns of eating, but it is good to mix it up on occasion. At least you are familiar with quinoa. It is indeed a superfood! Sending good wishes your way today!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 27, 2021:

Hi Rozlin,

It is always fun to learn about new foods with which we may be unfamiliar. Thanks for taking the time to learn about quinoa, including leaving your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 27, 2021:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

It sounds as though your daughter has an interest in cooking. Good for her! She must be following in your footsteps? I grew up cooking following in my mother's footsteps.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 27, 2021:

Hi Bill,

I agree! Knowing about the health aspects of eating quinoa, it pays to add more of it to our diets. Thanks for your comment.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on June 27, 2021:

Love quinoa! We don't cook much at home, but do have some frozen quinoa and vegetables sides in the freezer. Actually, I find it much tastier than plain rice. And these recipes sound amazing. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely week ahead!

Vanita Thakkar on June 27, 2021:

I would love to try vegetarian versions of these recipes. We don't have quinoa regularly, though I have tried it sometimes, having heard about its health benefits. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Rosina,

I will be curious to know how you like quinoa with breakfast. In addition to these recipes, I have also made a frittata using it as one of the ingredients. Have fun!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Devika,

Enjoy these healthy meals with my blessings. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on June 26, 2021:

Thanks for the recipes. Although they aren't exactly vegan, they can be made so. I like the breakfast receipe. I can use vegan yogurt and agave nectar to replace the Greek yogurt and the honey. Thanks.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Nithya,

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do. Thanks for your comment.

Rozlin from UAE on June 26, 2021:

Hi, Peggy. I have never tried quinoa. I learnt a lot from your hub. Thanks for sharing. I will get quinoa and try your recipe someday. They sound delicious and healthy too.

Stay safe and happy, dear friend

VIDYA D SAGAR on June 26, 2021:

I have heard of it's immense health benefits, but never tried. Your article has inspired me to try. The breakfast and pudding are the ones I loved most and am going to try first. Thanks for sharing these easy to make, healthy, delicious recipes, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Audrey,

I am so glad that you now have some new ideas of how to use quinoa. I even added it to a meatloaf that turned out well.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada,

I am pleased that you enjoyed reading about the additional health benefits of eating quinoa. Stay safe over there!

manatita44 from london on June 26, 2021:

A great read, Peggy! I have used it several times although not recently. I use rice and a lot of berries now, but yes, quinoa is a superfood indeed and I will return to it shortly. Great article.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

Your father's favorite quinoa recipe sounds delicious. I may do something similar soon. Thanks for the idea. Sending blessings your way!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Louise,

Once you purchase some quinoa, and start cooking with it, you will probably always want to keep some of it in your pantry.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021:

Hi Bill,

At least you can no longer say that you have never heard of quinoa. Haha! Stay cool up there this weekend. Right now, at 11:25 A.M., it is 89 degrees and sunny. Of course, with the humidity, it always feels warmer than that.

Rozlin from UAE on June 26, 2021:

Hi, Peggy. I have never tried quinoa. I learnt a lot from your hub. Thanks for sharing, my friend. I will get quinoa and try recipes some day. They sounds delicious and healthy too. Stay safe and healthy, dear friend

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 26, 2021:

Versatile and healthy! You demonstrate that this is worth trying for anyone not familiar with it. You included a lot of good recipes here. I bet my daughter would like to experiment with these. She is discovering her own sense of health consciousness and sense of adventure in the kitchen as she volunteers to occasionally cook for us while home from college this summer.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on June 26, 2021:

They all sound wonderful. Quinoa is not something that we eat very often but I do like it. Perhaps we need to get more creative with recipes such as these? Thank so much, Peggy, for sharing these wonderful sounding recipes.

Rosina S Khan on June 26, 2021:

Great protein-rich quinoa recipes appropriate for breakfast and dinner. I will try out the breakfast one as a start. Thank you for sharing, Peggy.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 26, 2021:

Peggy these are creative and sounds like healthy meals. You have created an interesting way to cook such recipes. I think I will try a few of your healthy meals.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 25, 2021:

Thank you for sharing these easy to make healthy quinoa recipes, will try them out,

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 25, 2021:

Hi Liz,

I am pleased that you enjoyed learning more about quinoa, its health benefits, and some recipes using it. Thanks for your comment.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on June 25, 2021:

I love Quinoa! What a nice surprise to find these recipes. It so happens that I've been searching for new ways to use Quinoa. Thank you, so much!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 25, 2021:

Great informative article about Quinoa, with interesting and delicious recipe options!

I prefer food with health benefits, and therefore, these are definitely on my list! Thank you for sharing the additional information!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 25, 2021:

Hi Dora,

I am pleased that you liked each of these recipes. Enjoy them as you give them a try, and thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 25, 2021:

Hi Mary,

I also make a quinoa salad similar to yours, but without cranberries. Yours sounds good! Thanks for your comment.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on June 25, 2021:

Hi Peggy, This is an excellent hub. The Recipes are unique and fascinating. Quinoa salad with vegetables and chicken is one of my father's favorite dishes. He also used to add in some Avocado as well. I love to eat quinoa. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I had a great time reading your fantastic article. Stay safe and healthy.

Blessings and Love

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on June 25, 2021:

I've never cooked with quinoa before, but I really like the sound of these recipe's. Thanks Peggy!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 25, 2021:

I've never heard of it but then I don't eat vegetables, so that might have something to do with it. lol I'm sure it's tasty for people who like those things that come out of the ground. :) Happy Weekend, to you! Here's an oddity you will never again see in your lifetime: it's going to be hotter in Olympia than Houston this weekend.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 25, 2021:

Hi Pamela,

We started experimenting with quinoa in recipes many years ago. It is nice to know that it has so many health benefits. Thanks for being the first to comment.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 25, 2021:

This is a very useful and interesting article. Quinoa has become increasingly popular in the UK in recent years. I appreciate the mix of information about quinoa and tasty recipes.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 25, 2021:

Thank you for these creative recipes. I love quinoa. The breakfast bowl is the first one I'll try. I like them all.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 25, 2021:

I love quinoa and often add it to salads or make a quinoa salad with cut-up peppers, cucumber, nuts, and cranberries. Thank you for expanding on the benefits of quinoa. I like the Q and A.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 25, 2021:

These recipes sound excellent. I have wondered about quinoa as compared to couscous, so you answered that question. I have bookmarked this article in my computer to refer back to it for those recipes.

I appreciate you sharing all of this good information with us, Peggy.

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