If you know how to cook quinoa perfectly, you can easily make a wide variety of quinoa dishes for any meal with ease. In addition to being a superfood, quinoa is a beautiful blank canvas that can be adapted to use in any of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes.
Below, you will find my favorite quinoa recipes that happen to be healthy, filling, nutritious, and most importantly delicious.
How To Cook Quinoa Perfectly
If you want to know how to prepare quinoa for cooking, you have come to the right place. Below I have outlined the different methods that you can follow for perfectly cooked quinoa every time.
As with all quinoa recipes, make sure to rinse quinoa first. Then, follow how to make quinoa with one of the effortless options below:
- On the Stove Top: Stovetop quinoa, or as some call it, steamed quinoa, is easy to prepare. We like to refer to this as “quinoa rice” in my house because it is so versatile.
- In the Microwave: Microwave Quinoa is the fastest and easiest way to get quinoa from the package to your table in under 10 minutes.
- In a Rice Cooker: Rice Cooker Quinoa is pretty much hands-off and ideal for when you want to accomplish multiple tasks in the kitchen at one time.
- In an Instant Pot: Pressure Cooker Quinoa is another hands-off cooking method that allows you to set-it-and-forget it for a super convenient cooking experience.
Now that we talked about how to cook it, let get to the fun part. Healthy quinoa recipes are easy to come by once you learn how to use this pseudo-grain in recipes and make it a part of your weekly meal prep.
Here is a list of some of my favorite quinoa dishes broken down into breakfast, lunch, vegetarian, and dinner categories.
Fast and Easy Recipes for Breakfast:
Believe it or not, quinoa makes a fabulous breakfast. As filling as oatmeal and as tasty as cereal, quinoa keeps you full and focused throughout the morning with its high protein content. Some of my favorite delicious quinoa recipes for breakfast include:
- Quinoa Breakfast Porridge – Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of steel cut oatmeal and my almond milk oatmeal. However, quinoa porridge is a great alternative when you need a break from your everyday routine. Packed with plant protein, this recipe keeps you plenty full until lunch. Plus, just like oatmeal, you can top it off with whatever you have on hand. Berries, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, etc.—the sky’s the limit!
- Quinoa Crunch – Raw quinoa gets a major upgrade (and serious crunch factor) when it’s tossed with almonds, sesame seeds and maple syrup, then baked to golden perfection.
- Instant Pot Quinoa Breakfast Bowl – Put your Instant Pot to good use with a make-ahead and super simple quinoa recipe where almond milk is the star.
- Quinoa Porridge in Microwave – Quick and easy never tasted so good with this customizable breakfast bowl. Ready in about 15 minutes, this fast and easy bowl is one of my favorite ways to eat quinoa for breakfast.
Quinoa Lunch Recipes:
If you’re looking for healthy lunches with quinoa , these meal prep recipes are a dream come true. The best part is that you can take them work with you because they store well.
Want to get a head start? Batch cook quinoa on the weekend and mix one of these simple quinoa salad recipes a day. Then, you’ll have food right at your fingertips all week long.
- Quinoa Avocado Salad – Quinoa salad recipes get a serious upgrade with the addition of creamy avocado. Toss this veggie dish in my go-to quinoa salad dressing—lemon vinaigrette—and there really is nothing better.
- Kale Quinoa Salad – This easy quinoa salad is one of the top rated recipes on the blog. I call it the superfood grain salad, as it perfectly balances sweet, salty, creamy and earthy flavors in one nutritious bowl.
- Thai Quinoa Salad – Feeling a bit global? Try this Thai-inspired quinoa salad recipe! Not only does it feature crunchy vegetables, but it also includes my go-to Asian salad dressing—sesame ginger dressing—made with almond butter.
- Quinoa Black Bean Salad – No one can resist the protein and sweet vegetables of this Mexican-inspired meal. One of my favorite quinoa bowls, this recipe is made by mixing quinoa with black beans, corn, and bell pepper and then drizzling it with lime juice salad dressing. This is one of my favorite quinoa lunches to take to work, as it is easy to store and carry.
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad – I cannot talk about my favorite quinoa recipes and not mention this salad. This garden-fresh dish is packed with Mediterranean favorites like kalamata olives, feta cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes. Made with simple ingredients, it comes together in less than 30 minutes.
- Southwest Quinoa Salad – The secret to this savory recipe is simple: chili lime vinaigrette! Not only does it add tangy and spicy flavors to this complex dish, but it also complements the sweet red peppers, cilantro and black beans. I think this is the best quinoa salad recipe if you are a fan of Tex-Mex flavors.
Vegetarian Recipes Made With Quinoa
Vegetarian quinoa bowls to serve for lunch or dinner, or to meal prep for the week are my favorite. Versatile and tasty, they give me the choice to go completely plant-based or add a small portion of lean meat protein.
- Lemon Quinoa – This is the perfect seasoned quinoa side dish that does double duty as a blank canvas for both lunch and dinner. It is made by cooking white quinoa with shallots and then flavoring it with fresh ingredients like lemon zest, Italian parsley and radishes.
- Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl – This quick bowl recipe is made by mixing roasted sweet potatoes and red onion with black beans and quinoa. I also added a touch of Middle Eastern flair with a tahini yogurt sauce that brightened every flavor in this hearty and healthy quinoa recipe.
- Butternut Squash Quinoa – Sweet, tangy, crunchy and colorful, this is one of those quinoa recipe ideas that is simple enough for weekday enjoyment, but elegant enough for a holiday meal.
- Quinoa Lentil Salad – If you’re wondering what to put in quinoa, look no further than this lentil salad that is chock-full of grains and legumes. It is made by simultaneously cooking quinoa and green lentils and then drizzling the mixture with my lemon vinaigrette for a filling, protein-packed lunch.
- Quinoa Tabbouleh – Here is a fun and gluten-free twist on Middle Eastern tabbouleh, featuring multicolor quinoa as the star. A colorful mix of fresh herbs and crunchy vegetables really makes this dish shine.
- Quinoa Power Bowl – This vegan and Meatless Monday-inspired meal will have you meal prepping on Sunday so it can power you through your busy week!
- Brussels Sprouts Sweet Potato with Quinoa – If you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, this recipe will convert you! I usually make this recipe when I have some leftover quinoa. Simply roast Brussels sprouts with sweet potatoes, mix them with quinoa, and drizzle the mixture with my fruity citrus balsamic dressing.
Healthy Dinner Ideas with Quinoa:
There are so many ways to cook quinoa for dinner, it’s no wonder this superfood gets all the glory. These tiny seeds add a hearty pop of plant-based protein to chilis, stews, tacos and so much more.
- Quinoa Chili – Quinoa main dish recipes are easy to master with this five-star combination. Beans, tomatoes and corn unite to create a gluten-free and vegan chili perfect for a crowd. This is one of my favorite dinner recipes to serve during the cold winter months.
- Vegetable Quinoa Stew – Garden-fresh vegetables and Peruvian spices bring simple quinoa meals to life. Finish this recipe with creamy avocado and fresh cilantro for an extra touch of comfort.
- Quinoa Black Bean Tacos – Fill a warm tortilla with quinoa taco meat for a quinoa dish you won’t be able to stop talking about. Topped with a generous dollop of my Avocado Dressing, this is the perfect Taco Tuesday recipe.
- Mexican Quinoa – This is one of my favorite vegan quinoa entree recipes that makes clean-up a breeze. All it takes is one pan and 30 minutes to reach this Mexican heaven. I usually make this dish in a pan, but after so many readers asked for it, I made sure to share its pressure cooker version, too. If you are one of them, be sure to check out my Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa, as well.
- Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash – I like to think of this vegan stuffed squash dish as one of those easy quinoa recipes I can turn to time and time again—especially during the holiday season. This recipe is a lifesaver if you have family members who follow a vegan and/or gluten-free diet.
- Turkey Pumpkin Chili with Quinoa – This quinoa recipe has fall written all over it. Its vibrant orange hue and photo-ready presentation will have your family and friends taking out their cameras.
Now that you have the most delicious quinoa recipes at your fingertips, you might need help with quinoa basics. Below are some helpful resources to help you take your quinoa recipes to the next level.
- How To Rinse Quinoa? It’s important to rinse quinoa to get rid of bitter-tasting saponin, a natural coating that protects the grain in nature. The best way to rinse quinoa is with a fine mesh strainer under cool running water for 30-60 seconds, or until the water runs clear.
- How To Season Quinoa? If you’re wondering how to flavor quinoa to make delicious quinoa recipes, look no further than a generous squeeze of lemon juice, drizzle of olive oil and tons of fresh herbs. However, that is just the beginning. There is much more you can do and I made sure to list them all in one place.
- Can You Freeze Quinoa? You sure can and I made sure to cover everything you need to know about freezing quinoa in this post.
What does quinoa go well with?
A simple quinoa pilaf or any of the other quinoa recipes I shared here are like a beautiful blank canvas you can serve with chicken, beef, turkey, or anything vegetarian. Below are some of my favorite recipes to serve alongside quinoa. Check them out if you are wondering what goes with quinoa for dinner.
- Chicken Fricassee
- Turkey Meatloaf
- Whole Roasted Chicken with Potatoes
- Cornish Hens
- Turkish Kofte
- Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry
If you try any of these recipes, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories. Thank you!
Best Quinoa Recipes: Mexican Quinoa
For The Mexican Quinoa:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion chopped
- 2 small bell peppers chopped (or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
- 1 can diced tomatoes with all their juices (15 oz.)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup water or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped – plus more as garnish
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 stalks of scallions chopped
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Handful of pumpkin seeds optional
- Heat oil in a 12-inch pan with a lid over medium heat. Add in the onion, peppers, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, 7-8 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the quinoa, black beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Give it a large stir.
- Pour in the liquid, put the lid on, and bring it to a boil. Then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20-23 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes or so and fluff with a fork. Right before serving stir in the fresh cilantro.
- Spoon the Mexican quinoa into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, and scallions. Serve with wedges of lime.
- Spices: Do not skip on sautéing ground cumin and coriander at the beginning. They are both oil-soluble spices, which means in order for them to release their flavors they need to interact with oil. If you want to make this recipe spicier, you can swap bell peppers with sliced jalapeños.
- Top it off with a dollop of sour cream or Mexican cotija cheese: I wanted to keep this recipe basic and vegan so I just garnished it with avocado slices and some fresh cilantro. However, if you don’t mind it being vegetarian, you can (in true Mexican fashion) top it off with some sour cream or cotija cheese as well.
- Want to make this in a pressure cooker instead? Try my Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa recipe.
- You can follow the recipe as written and cook your quinoa with the vegetables. Doing so takes about 20-25 minutes. However, if you are short on time and have some leftover cooked quinoa (like I did in the how-to video), you can add that in after the vegetables are cooked. This way you do not have to wait for the quinoa to cook. Once it is warmed throughly your meal will be ready.