Check out our favorite delicious and easy quinoa recipes, from enchiladas to quinoa salad recipes to vegan chili. You’re sure to find a favorite!
In just a few years, quinoa has become a majorly popular food. When Alex and I first started A Couple Cooks eight years ago, quinoa was relatively new. This supergrain is now a staple in our weekly meals, and it’s super delicious too. Over the years we’ve created all sorts of quinoa recipes. So we thought we’d share our top 10 easy quinoa recipes with you! All these quinoa meals and dishes have become family favorites in our house, and we hope they will in yours too!
Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is one of the world’s most perfect foods (according to some) due to its high nutritional content. It’s actually a seed, not a grain, which makes it naturally gluten free. Compared to other vegetables, quinoa is high in protein, calcium, Vitamin B, and iron. Fun fact: apparently the Incas thought it was sacred, because eating it regularly appeared to provide a long, healthy life. Because of all these benefits, we love making quinoa recipes!
Whether you’re a lover or a hater, one thing is true. Quinoa right out of the pot is pretty bland. You’ve got to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make it taste amazing. Here’s our best quinoa recipe to make it into a perfectly seasoned side dish. Just a few simple ingredients transform it from bland to bursting with flavor! Even quinoa haters will will want to take another bite…promise.
Here’s a quinoa recipe that’s beautifully fresh and saves well for meals throughout the week: kale quinoa salad! It’s full of healthy ingredients: quinoa, kale, peppers, carrots: and then covered in a delicious, ultra tangy dressing! It’s so flavorful and keeps that flavor 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Lunches just got way more exciting! It also works as a side salad for healthy dinners.
These loaded quinoa tacos are one of our very favorite inventive ways to eat quinoa! They’re delicious vegetarian taco recipe, featuring a taco spiced quinoa taco filling, bell pepper slaw, spicy sour cream (or vegan sour cream), and feta cheese! And they take only 30 minutes to make, putting them at the top of our list of easy quinoa recipes.
Another fantastic quinoa salad...Quinoa Tabbouleh! There’s something about the combination of herbaceous parsley, bright lemon and crunchy tomatoes and cucumber that makes magic. Traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat, a quick cooking whole grain. But seeing as quinoa is the grain of the moment…why not try it with quinoa? Turns out it works perfectly, making a delicious gluten free spin on this classic salad.
Next up in our list of easy quinoa recipes, this quinoa fried rice! This unique take on fried rice is made with quinoa instead of rice, and packed with baby greens: spinach, chard and kale. Alex and I make quinoa fried rice without a recipe all the time as an easy weeknight meal. Once you make this recipe a few times, you can get the hang of it and customize to use up the veggies in your fridge. This is one of our top favorite quinoa meals: and especially for using up leftovers, since it’s made with cold quinoa!
These delicious vegetarian enchiladas are stuffed with artichokes and quinoa! They’re a filling vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for feeding a crowd. When Alex first tried this quinoa recipe, he said the meatiness of the filling reminded him of chicken — which is big praise for a recipe that has no meat. Oh and they also look gorgeous! Topped with thinly sliced red onion rings, the lovely purple circles contrast against the bright Monterrey jack cheese, fresh cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco.
This quinoa stuffed peppers recipe is a colorful and delicious healthy dinner, full of Mediterranean flavors like lemon, parsley and feta. Roasting peppers is quite easy: it takes just 30 minutes and you can do it while preparing the remainder of the recipe. To make the quinoa filling, saute shallot and garlic, then add the quinoa, chopped pistachios, parsley, paprika, oregano and lemon. Then stuff the filling into the peppers and sprinkle everything with a healthy dose of feta cheese (or omit for vegan).
Next in our list is one of our favorite vegan quinoa recipes: these tropical mango bowls! They take just 30 minutes to make and are full of zesty flavor. The quinoa bowls include fresh mango, red pepper, red cabbage, avocado, fresh greens, cilantro and cashews. It’s topped off with a vegan cashew citrus drizzle, a combination of cashews, orange and lime juice, and fresh ginger. It’s so, so good and tastes like it took hours to put together! It’s a quinoa salad recipe that doubles as a main dish.
This protein-packed quinoa chili is a fan favorite! It’s simple and flavorful, light on the chili powder so the other flavors can shine. The secret ingredients are a bit of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chili peppers in adobo (available at most groceries in the ethnic foods aisle), and a bit of white wine vinegar stirred in at the end for some brightness. It’s gotten rave reviews for years!
This Mediterranean quinoa salad features greens, feta cheese, kalamata olives and a quinoa tomato sofrito blend. It’s a copycat of a Panera quinoa salad we made as a reader request! Sofrito is a sauce used as a base in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Latin American cooking. In Spanish cuisine, it’s garlic, onion, paprika, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. The quinoa tomato sofrito blend has an almost meaty texture, and makes this a hearty and filling main dish salad.
This quinoa recipe takes a bit of time to put together, but it’s totally worth it! These flavorful quinoa burgers are easy to make and keep well in the fridge for several days. You can eat them with a bun, or place them on a bed of greens for a gluten free option. Top with hummus and avocado and dig in!
Last up in our quinoa dishes: quinoa bowls! Bowl meals are so popular these days, and often they’re on our table because it’s one of the easiest ways to turn random ingredients into a healthy dinner! But here’s the thing: you can’t just throw anything into a bowl. A good grain bowl has to be well-seasoned, and play up contrasts in color, texture and flavor. This one is Greek-inspired and stars our easy canned chickpeas with seasoned quinoa, colorful veggies and tahini sauce.
How to cook quinoa
There are a few ways to cook quinoa. Over the years, Alex and I have messed up quinoa numerous times: cooking it too fast so it’s hard and crunchy, or overcooking it so it’s mushy. I will say, how to cook quinoa is not a simple matter! We have two methods we like to use to cook quinoa:
Perfect Quinoa on the Stovetop This is our master recipe for cooking quinoa on the stovetop and the correct quinoa to water ratio. It takes about 25 to 30 minutes, and it requires a little baby sitting to make sure the liquid is cooking out evenly, but it’s mostly hands off.
Optional: ¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs, like chives, basil, dill, oregano, thyme, cilantro, or Italian parsley, ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
Rinse the quinoa using a fine mesh strainer, then drain completely. Place quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer where the water is just bubbling for about 15 to 17 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed. Check by pulling back the quinoa with a fork to see if water remains.
Turn off the heat and let sit with the lid on to steam for 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Stir in the butter, dried oregano, garlic powder, and kosher salt. If using fresh herbs, stir in the herbs (and feta cheese, if using). Taste and add additional salt if necessary.