Stock up on some quinoa, and you’ll be ready to make these easy quinoa recipes in no time!
I’m a huge fan of quinoa. It’s healthy, filling, and so versatile. It’s got a long shelf life, so it can hang out on your pantry shelf for a while until you’re ready to cook it up.
Plus, it’s great for meal prep: you can cook it ahead of time, then use it later in the week to throw together a quick meal.
Nutritional Benefits of Quinoa
First off, quinoa is super high in fiber. Not only that, but it provides many vitamins and minerals – including potassium, iron, magnesium, and folate – like that many people don’t get enough of it in their diets.
The high fiber and antioxidant content in quinoa helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which are important for decreasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Quinoa has twice as much protein as white rice (plus more fiber), but is just as versatile when it comes to cooking!
What does quinoa taste like?
Quinoa is an ancient grain that has a similar taste to rice, but with a slightly nuttier, lightly sweet flavor. It has a fluffy, slightly chewy texture.
Like rice, it absorbs the flavor of what it’s cooked in – such as chicken broth, coconut milk, or other liquids.
How is quinoa cooked?
To cook quinoa, bring water (or broth) to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for as long as the package directs – usually around 15 minutes. Keep your pot or saucepan uncovered while it cooks.
Then, remove the pot from heat, cover it, and let the quinoa steam for 5 more minutes. Lastly, fluff with a fork and enjoy!
You’ll want to use twice as much water as quinoa, and make sure to simmer the quinoa until it has absorbed all the liquid.
Pro tip: rinse your uncooked quinoa in cold water for about a minute, until the water runs clear. This helps make sure to remove any remaining saponin (a bitter-tasting – but natural – substance that can be left behind by the husks) from the quinoa.
Different Types of Quinoa
Quinoa comes in four colors:
- White Quinoa: This is the most versatile quinoa, and has the mildest flavor.
- Red Quinoa: This quinoa has a really crunchy texture, and a bolder, more savory nutty flavor.
- Black Quinoa: This one is harder to find, as it’s not as common. Like red quinoa, black quinoa is crunchier and nuttier than white quinoa.
- Tri Color Quinoa / Rainbow Quinoa: This type of quinoa combines all three colors of quinoa together for a variety of flavors and textures.
Easy Quinoa Recipes
And now for the quinoa dish inspiration!
Some of these quinoa recipes are among my most popular blog recipes ever, and for good reason! I’ve separated them into a few categories: quinoa salad, side dishes, quinoa breakfast ideas, and main dishes/desserts with quinoa.
For more on how to cook quinoa properly (and the health benefits of quinoa!), check out this post: Quinoa 101: How To Cook Quinoa + Quinoa Recipes.
Quinoa Salad Recipes
I love how refreshing, simple, and tasty this recipe is. Perfect for the holidays, potlucks, or even a casual fall meal! The cranberries give it a little sweet & tangy flavor, while the pecans give it a bit of crunch.
This cranberry quinoa salad recipe was actually served at our wedding, too!
This quinoa salad has a great balance of veggies, fiber, protein, and healthy fat. Super satisfying, healthy, and so dang tasty! Not to mention super easy to throw together.
Fun fact: this is one of the most popular recipes on my blog thanks to Pinterest (<- my account if you want to be friends!), where it’s a big hit!
This healthy grain salad is a great lunch option! The combination of quinoa, tons of veggies, a dijon vinaigrette, runny eggs, and feta cheese makes for a super satisfying meal.
It’s easy to take on the go, too!
This portable salad combines orange-infused quinoa and an orange vinaigrette for a burst of refreshing flavor. Great with sliced avocado on top.
This recipe calls for cooking quinoa in green tea. It brings out a super unique and delicious flavor!
I actually demo-ed this recipe live in person at an event at FNCE, the annual dietitian conference, one year – it was fun to show the audience how to make it!
Side Dishes + Snacks
This savory side dish packs a ton of flavor. It’s hearty enough to satisfy meat-eaters, but totally vegan and veggie-packed!
This is a perfect side dish for autumn or winter, with warm pumpkin flavors and spices. Simple and delicious!
This lemony spinach quinoa salad features kidney beans and feta for a tasty side dish or light lunch that’s easy to throw together.
This used to be one of my favorite meals to pack for work back when I worked in an office!
Yes, you read that right – quinoa + chocolate! This nutrient-dense, portable snack will be a hit with the whole family – especially chocolate lovers!
Quinoa Breakfast Recipes
This quinoa breakfast bake is a delicious make ahead breakfast. It’s lemony, bright, and fancy enough for brunch, too!
This coconut quinoa is a great way to mix up your typical oatmeal/porridge breakfast! It’s creamy with a deliciously chewy texture and flaky coconut and sliced banana on top.
Quinoa Main Dishes
This acorn squash has a delicious quinoa filling that’s flavorful and healthy. It’s easy to make and a great weeknight meal that also looks fancy enough for a holiday dinner!
This is a delicious and healthy instant pot recipe you’ll love. It’s comfort food with a lighter, veggie-packed twist.
(For more Instant Pot fun, check out this post: Healthy Instant Pot Recipes.)
Cooking quinoa in coconut milk amplifies its nutty flavor, making it a delicious and unique tasting side dish. It goes really well with Asian-inspired mains like this soy-glazed grilled shrimp and pineapple.
And there you have it: my favorite easy quinoa recipes! I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to make quinoa. Let me know in the comments below!
You might also like this vegan Mexican quinoa salad.
Looking for healthy meals that would go well with quinoa sides? Check these out: