The Magic of Quinoa

Quinoa is a vegan’s best friend. Not only does this little seed contain all 12 amino acids (making it a full protein source), it is incredibly versatile – and it is quick and easy to cook. Quinoa comes in several different colours and forms. Whole seed quinoa comes in white, black, and red varieties. Other quinoa products include quinoa flour (GREAT for gluten free baking) and quinoa flakes, which add a nice crunch to dishes such as fruit crumbles.

Quinoa has a baking cooking method. Bring 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Done! I usually use water for the liquid, but you could use veggie or meat stock for added flavour.

Althoug quinoa is GREAT in salads, many people don’t realize its versatility. Quinoa can be used to make porridge, smoothies, baked goods, soups, and many other sweet and savoury dishes. I am going to share some of my favourite quinoa recipes that are not salads. Some of them I have created, while others I have adapted. Hope you enjoy!


Strawberry Banana Quinoa Smoothie

These smoothies are packed with protein and are very filling. They are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a pre/post workout snack.

For one smoothie:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • almond milk (enough for desired thickness – I used about 1 1/2 cups)
  1. Place first four ingredients in blender or Magic Bullet and top up with almond milk. Puree until smooth.



Quinoa Banana Bread

This banana bread is soooooo tasty and filling! It’s best topped with all natural peanut butter.

For 1 loaf:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or gluten free alternative)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2 organic free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 chocolate chips, nuts, or raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mash bananas. Whisk in eggs and syrup, then stir in oil and quinoa. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, and pour into prepared pan.
  3. Allow to bake for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert loaf onto rack.



Spanish Quinoa

This quinoa bowl reveals how well this seed can be used to tie together leftovers into one delicious meal. Adapted from traditional Spanish rice, this dish is spicy, savoury, and hearty.

For one meal:

  • 1 cup leftover spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup each of sliced black olives, chickpeas, corn
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  1. Heat sauce with quinoa in a saucepan or in the microwave, stirring to combine.
  2. Add all other ingredients and enjoy.



Quinoa Mushroom Soup

I got this recipe from my quinoa cookbook, “Quinoa Revolution” by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. This cookbook is chock full of great recipes for any meal of the day. This one showcases how quinoa can thicken and add a creamy richness to soup. I served my soup with homemade bread.

For 6 servings:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups stock (I used vegetable)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic (made by roasting a whole bulb of garlic with olive oil wrapped in tinfoil at 400 degrees for 30 minutes)
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • additional toppings such as cheese or sour cream
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, covered, for 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, covered, for another 7 minutes. Remove 1 1/2 cups of this mixture and set aside.
  2. Add stock, water, quinoa, roasted garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Puree soup in a blender (be careful to cover blender tightly, as hot liquid will splash when blended). Return soup to saucepan and stir in spinach and reserved mushrooms. Cook until heated through.




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