Creative quinoa recipes

Oct 1, 2008 at 1:17 p.m. ET

Quinoa is a protein-packed grain that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, adding a distinctive texture and nutty flavor. Never heard of quinoa? Look for it in the rice and pasta aisle at your local supermarket or at your local whole foods store - it comes packaged as well as in bulk. Then give these three delectable quinoa recipes a try.


What is quinoa?

Quinoa is an ancient, nutty-flavored grain that was highly esteemed in the Inca culture. Also referred to as the "mother grain," dating back 5,000 years, this good for you grain is protein-rich, gluten-free and incredibly versatile in the kitchen. Even better, it cooks in 15 minutes – faster than many other whole grains – and can be transformed into dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as healthy desserts.

Creative quinoa recipes

Banana Cranberry Quinoa Bread

Makes 1 loaf

This tender and flavorful bread is ideal for busy moms – bake a loaf and have it on hand for a quick breakfast or snack.

1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey
2 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8X4X2.5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together spelt flour, quinoa flakes, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together honey, bananas and eggs. Mix dry and wet ingredients together just until moist. Stir in cranberries.

4. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Busy cook's tip: Once bread is cooled, cut into slices and freeze for on the go bars. When ready to eat, simply microwave to rewarm.

Toasted Quinoa Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe courtesy of Northern Quinoa Corporation

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 sliced green onions
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili sauce (Tabasco)

1. Rinse quinoa and drain (not necessary if using Norquin brand quinoa). Put quinoa in a pot over medium-high heat and dry toast until a few grains begin to pop.

2. Add water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.

3. Mix carrots, pepper, parsley and green onions in a large bowl. Add quinoa and toss to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon and lime juices, soy sauce or tamari, garlic and chile sauce.

4. Pour over salad and combine well. Chill until serving time.

Quinoa-Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Serves 4

Tired of the same old burger and rice stuffed green bell peppers? Try substituting sweet peppers for the bells, and quinoa for the rice. The quinoa gives this dish a nutty taste and more protein.

5 cups water, divided
8 medium-sized sweet peppers also called chile dulce or cubanelle
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 (8-ounce) bag Mexican or taco style shredded cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium-sized pot, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add peppers to pot and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, set aside and let cool.

2. Brown ground beef in a large frying pan. Before beef is fully-cooked, add chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Once beef is completely cooked, add stewed tomatoes and half of the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and than let simmer together for 10 minutes.

3. In a medium-sized pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Add quinoa to beef mixture and stir together.

4. Stuff sweet peppers with quinoa beef mixture and transfer peppers to a 9X13-inch baking pan. These peppers will not stand upright like green bell peppers – lay them on their side. If there is leftover beef mixture, either stuff in open spaces between peppers in baking pan or freeze for next time this recipe is made.

5. Pour remaining amount of tomato sauce on top of peppers. Sprinkle with cheese and cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes then uncover and cook for an additional 15 minutes to lightly brown the cheese.

More creative recipes with quinoa

California Plum and Quinoa Salad
Turkey and Quinoa Picadillo
Southwestern Quinoa
Kid-friendly quinoa recipes