Last updated on May 4th, 2019 at 05:08 am
If you want to start eating healthier add quinoa to your diet! It is an easy change that can have tremendous benefits – quinoa can help you lose weight, improve your digestion and even reduce inflammation. Here I’m sharing 10 easy and healthy quinoa recipes you can start with.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of quinoa 3 years ago. Everybody was raving about it and I hated it. But here’s the thing: I hadn’t even tried it before I judged this angel disguised as a tiny grain. Once I had it, I started loving it.
Health Benefits Of Quinoa
Quinoa is a highly nutritious food that isn’t high in calories. This is the one quality we’re looking for in
- contains high amounts of magnesium, manganese, protein, folate, fiber, and iron
- can help you lose weight due to its high fiber and protein content
- gluten-free, so also suitable for those with sensitivities
- might have anti-inflammatory properties due to its antioxidant content
Quinoa is not really a cereal, it’s a seed and it’s more nutritious than most grains. My search in the USDA National Nutrient Database delivered this result for 1 cup of cooked quinoa:
- 222 kcal
- 8.4g Protein
- 3.55g Total fat
- 39.4g Carbohydrate (30%)
- 5.2g Fiber (21%)
- 2.8mg Iron (16%)
- 118mg Magnesium (37%)
- 281mg Phosphorus (40%)
- 318mg Potassium (7%)
- 2mg Zinc (25%)
- 0.198mg Thiamin (18%)
- 0.204mg Riboflavin (18%)
- 0.228mg vitamin B-6 (18%)
- 78µg Folate (20%)
Note that the daily value percentages (%) are rough estimates made using the US recommendations for females, 19 years or older. They vary and depend on multiple factors (among others your weight).
How To Cook Quinoa
Quinoa cooks super quickly. We’re talking around 10 minutes.
- One thing you need to do before you start is to, please, make sure to rinse the quinoa really good. It contains saponins that give it a bitter taste, but washing will get rid of them. For that purpose, I actually boil some water using my electric kettle and wash the quinoa with the hot boiled water 2-3 times inside the pot I will be cooking it in.
- Now that your quinoa is clean, add water to the cooking pot in 1:2 ratio. Means, 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water. Then cover with a lid and cook at medium to medium-high heat. To speed things up, I usually use the rest of the hot water.
- Once the water is boiling and you see most of it is absorbed by the quinoa, reduce the heat (this could take around 4-5 minutes). Let simmer at the lower temperature for about 5-10 minutes, covered with the lid.
- Then turn off the heat and let quinoa sit covered for 5 minutes.
How To Use Quinoa In Meals
Quinoa is more nutritious, therefore healthier than rice and for me, definitely, easier to cook than brown rice. So, wherever I would usually use rice, I add quinoa instead. On the side of curries, to make fried rice, risottos and my favorite way: in salads. I sometimes also like to use it instead of pasta – it’s definitely the healthier, less processed option.
10 Healthy Quinoa Recipes Ready in Less Than 30 Minutes
Most of these recipes require only one pan or are bowls that can be put together in less than 15 minutes. To speed things up, I highly recommend pre-cooking the quinoa whenever you have the time, on the weekend or in the evening. You can then store the cooked quinoa in the fridge for 3-4 days.
1. Tomato and Basil Quinoa Risotto
This delicious tomato and basil quinoa risotto is a 10-minute meal I made pretty spontaneously before I had to head out to an event one evening. Since then, it’s been one of my go-to quick and easy meals. With sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, a little bit of garlic, some basil, and zucchini this quinoa dinner recipe is healthy, fresh and super comforting. It’s also vegetarian and gluten-free. You’ll find the recipe below.
You need around 10 minutes to make this simple, but delicious and healthy quinoa risotto – it’s a great meatless dinner!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 4 fresh tomatoes, small to medium-sized
- 3 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 30min
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small zucchini or 1/2 large
- handful basil
- handful arugula
- 1 garlic clove
- some mozzarella
- some parmesan
- For the tomato sauce: Blend 2 fresh tomatoes with the sundried tomatoes (soaked before), basil and garlic. I used a hand blender for this step, but you can use any food processor you have available.
- Chop the other two fresh tomatoes and zucchini.
- In a medium-sized pan add the chopped tomatoes with 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook for 1 min. Then add the tomato sauce you just made. Stir in the quinoa, for about 1-2 minutes and mix well.
- Add zucchini and arugula – again mix well. Add some more olive oil.
- Turn off heat and add the cheese (optional).
- And you’re done. Most efficient 10 min of your life, right?
2. Quinoa, Tomato And Avocado Salad
Turn a simple tomato and cucumber salad into something more filling and delicious by adding not only quinoa but basil, feta cheese, and avocado. You will find the recipe here.
3. Quinoa Fried Rice
My sister made this healthier version of fried rice in an effort to feed her toddler something different than bread and olives. I don’t know about him, but I couldn’t stop eating this, and we’ve been making it ever since because it’s delicious and takes 10 minutes. It’s similar to my vegetable fried millet recipe, you can find the recipe on her (new) blog here.
4. Quinoa, Chickpea & Green Bean
If you want to cut down on animal products and eat a little bit healthier, meals like this one will make you feel like you can do it. This is a very easy vegan dinner recipe with quinoa, chickpeas, green beans and vegetables. It’s highly nutritious, tasty and my mom loved it, even though she was expecting grilled chicken for dinner. You can find the recipe here.
5. Avocado, Chicken And Quinoa Salad
A healthy quinoa salad recipe with chicken, avocado and roasted red peppers. A nutritious, filling and tasty salad recipe that is great for lunch! Or dinner. You can find the recipe here.
6. Meal Prep Tuna & Quinoa Salad
If you’ve got some canned tuna, make this delicious salad. Whether you actually meal prep it or not doesn’t matter – it’s nourishing, full of flavor and beyond easy to make. You can find the recipe here.
7. Lentil Quinoa Soup Recipe
Another way to use quinoa is to simply add it to soups! Try this one with lentils and broccoli, the recipe is here.
8. Bean and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
I don’t want to say I like one of my kids, ahem recipes, more than the others, but this lettuce wrap recipe as unsatisfying as it might sound is my favorite. It’s light, but it’s also FULL OF FLAVOR – the spicy bean dip, the salad, the creamy avocado sauce…you just can’t go wrong with these delicious vegan lettuce wraps. The recipe is here.
9. Avocado, Cucumber And Quinoa Salad
This avocado, cucumber and quinoa salad has a more Asian flavor and is great if you’re craving sushi or something lighter. The recipe is here.
10. 5-Minute Mediterranean Bowl
You can make this
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