16 Hearty and Healthy Quinoa Recipes

Go Beyond the Grain Bowl

Zucchini Patties With Quinoa

 The Spruce Eats / Jennifer Perillo

Quinoa is a popular alternative to pasta and rice for a reason—it's high in protein, naturally gluten free, and extremely versatile. It has a nutty taste and a pleasant, chewy texture. Technically a seed, quinoa makes an excellent base for salads and bowls, a delicious addition to veggie burgers and breads, and a nutritious breakfast porridge.

  • 01 of 16

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

    The Spruce 

    Cookies may sound like a sinful breakfast, but this high-protein, vegan, refined sugar-free recipe is a great way to start your day. Cocoa powder and peanut butter add decadent flavor, maple syrup lends a bit of sweetness, and quinoa and rolled oats provide texture and nutrition. Use gluten-free oats to make the cookies gluten-free.

  • 02 of 16

    Quinoa, Tuna, and Chickpea Salad

    Quinoa, Tuna, and Chickpea Salad

    Bill Boch / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images 

    For a one-dish meal that's easy to pack up for lunch, combine quinoa, tuna, chickpeas, spinach, tomato, and herbs. This salad is high in healthy protein that will give you energy to make it through the day. A light dressing of garlic, lemon, and olive oil replaces the standard mayo-based tuna salad dressing.

  • 03 of 16

    Savory Quinoa Egg Muffins With Spinach

    Savory Quinoa Egg Muffins With Spinach

    Bill Boch / Getty Images 

    Leftover cooked quinoa makes these egg muffins a breeze to throw together in the morning. Leave out the cheese if you're vegan and freeze a few for a busy morning. Simply defrost overnight in the fridge, then pop in the microwave when ready to eat.

  • 04 of 16

    Quinoa with Pasta Sauce and Cheese

    Quinoa with Pasta Sauce and Cheese

    The Spruce / Jennifer Meier

    Swap carb-heavy noodles with quinoa in pasta sauce for a gluten-free alternative. Tossed with tomato sauce and cheese, it'll satisfy your pasta cravings without weighing you down. Add cooked and drained Italian sausage, ground beef or turkey, or sautéed vegetables for a hearty main dish.

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  • 05 of 16

    Low-Fat Southwestern Quinoa Salad

    Low-Fat Southwestern Quinoa Salad

     Cultura / Magdalena Niemczyk-ElanArt / Riser / Getty Images

    Combine tomato, corn, black beans, jalapeño, and a lime dressing to cooked quinoa for a healthy Southwestern salad. It only takes a few minutes to put together and is light enough to be a side dish, but also flavorful enough to serve as the main. Pack it up for low-fat lunch.

  • 06 of 16

    Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa Burrito Bowl

    Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa Burrito Bowl

     The Spruce / Jennifer Meier

    This protein-packed, one-bowl meal cooks effortlessly in the slow cooker. Serve the burrito bowls topped with your favorite garnishes, like shredded cheese, sour cream, green onion, cilantro, and avocado.

  • 07 of 16

    Zucchini Patties With Quinoa

    Zucchini Patties With Quinoa

     The Spruce / Jennifer Perillo

    Reminiscent of latkes, these zucchini patties have a crisp crust and a tender interior. Quinoa adds protein and nuttiness and the sour cream dipping sauce makes the patties a tasty side dish or a vegetarian appetizer. Remember to give your shredded zucchini a good squeeze before adding it to the mix.

  • 08 of 16

    Curried Quinoa Pilaf Salad

    Curried Quinoa Pilaf Salad

    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak 

    Spiced with curry and ginger and studded with cashews and raisins, curried quinoa pilaf salad is a flavorful side dish for grilled meat, fish, or tofu. Serve hot or cold and add a sprinkle of fresh parsley if you have it on hand.

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  • 09 of 16

    Maple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

    Maple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

     The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

    Featuring all of the flavors of traditional oatmeal, this maple cinnamon breakfast quinoa can be made using freshly cooked or leftover grains. The recipe is vegan and gluten-free as written, but regular milk can be used instead. Top with dried fruit of your choice and slices of banana or apple.

  • 10 of 16

    Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad

    Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad

    The Spruce 

    Quinoa is already a superfood, so combined with lots of fresh veggies it makes the ultimate healthy salad. The dish will keep for up to three days in the fridge, so make a batch and pack it as a guilt-free lunch. Swap out the veggies to suit your taste.

  • 11 of 16

    Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

    Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

    The Spruce 

    Add quinoa to your vegetarian stuffing for extra protein. This recipe is vegan and can be made gluten-free by using toasted gluten-free bread. Don't skip the fresh herbs.

  • 12 of 16

    Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers

    Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers

     Brent Hofacker / Getty Images

    Vegan and full of good nutrition, quinoa and black bean burgers are a tasty stand-in for meat. Serve these like a traditional burger with the usual condiments, or make them Southwestern by topping with guacamole, tomato, and red onion.

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  • 13 of 16

    Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf

    Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf

     vanillaechoes / Getty Images

    Simple enough for a weeknight meal, but pretty enough for a Thanksgiving table, grilled vegetable quinoa pilaf is a flavorful gluten-free side dish. Grilled beets and acorn squash add color and naturally sweet flavor, pairing nicely with salty feta cheese and walnuts.

  • 14 of 16

    Blueberry Vanilla Quinoa Bowl

    Blueberry Vanilla Quinoa Bowl

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    A simple porridge of quinoa, milk (dairy or nondairy), vanilla, and fresh blueberries is a quick and easy protein-rich breakfast. You can serve it hot or cold, making it a good all year dish. Sweeten with a little sugar, honey, or maple syrup.

  • 15 of 16

    Healthy Honey Quinoa Bread

    How to Make Healthy Honey Quinoa Bread

    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

     

    Quinoa adds a light nuttiness and chewiness to this whole wheat honey bread. Serve as a side dish at dinner with salad, use for gourmet sandwiches at lunch, or toast and top with avocado or nut butter for breakfast.

  • 16 of 16

    Vegan Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

    Vegan Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

     lauraag / Getty Images

    Sweet, buttery acorn squash is stuffed with quinoa, parsley, raisins, and pecans for a wintertime feast. Serve as a main dish to vegetarian guests or as a substantial side dish to meat-eaters. Swap the raisins for dried cranberries or the pecans for another nut for your own take on quinoa-stuffed acorn squash.