30 quinoa recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Quinoa is high in protein and nutrients, tastes great and is one of the fastest wholegrains you can make.
Published 21 January 2018 | Updated 21 August 2023
Greek quinoa bowl with chickpeas and eggplant

Quinoa (say ‘keen-wha’) is actually a seed and not a grain. Rich in protein, plus a source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, it’s a popular gluten-free choice. White, black and red quinoa varieties vary in depth of flavour. Quinoa flakes, flour and pastas are also available. It is always a good idea to rinse quinoa before cooking, otherwise it can taste a bit gritty.

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Quinoa is fairly mild-tasting with a slight nuttiness, maybe even a little grassy like wild rice. Individual quinoa grains are tiny, smaller than wheat berries, barley, or even millet grains. When cooked, the quinoa germ unfurls to form a small, translucent halo around the grain.

Although quinoa flour is by nature gluten-free, it may be processed in a facility that also processes wheat and other gluten-laden grains. If important, check the manufacturer's website to make sure yours is made in a gluten-free facility.

When buying quinoa

You’ll most often find two types of quinoa at the stops: tri-colour or white. Black quinoa is a rarity, usually found only in health-food stores.

Quinoa can also be ground into a flour for use in reduced-gluten or even gluten-free baking and cooking.

How to use quinoa

  • Make quinoa hummus by replacing half the chickpeas in homemade hummus with cooked, chilled quinoa.
  • Use cooked, chilled quinoa in stuffings for chicken, turkey and capsicums.
  • Bulk out mince with cooked quinoa in meatballs, patties and meatloaf.
  • Use it to bulk up and add texture to soups. Add rinsed and drained quinoa 15 minutes before the end of cooking time.
  • Use cooked quinoa instead of breadcrumbs to coat chicken or veal schnitzels.
  • Kick off the day with some quinoa porridge: bring ⅓ cup quinoa and ⅓ cup water to the boil in a small saucepan. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add ⅓ cup skim milk and simmer, covered, for a further 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Serve with fresh or dried fruit, nuts and a little honey if you like it sweeter.