Creative ideas with quinoa

Mushroom stuffed with spiced quinoa.

Creative cooking with quinoa

You may have already tried the recipe on the box of quinoa and found the stuffed peppers delicious. You may have already started to gather a few favorite quinoa dishes. But, if you keep making the same recipes over and over, you may get just as tired of quinoa as you have with rice.

Creative quinoa ideas that may surprise you

It could be time to try a few new ideas for cooking with quinoa and see how creative you can be. Not only are these ideas delicious, but they are also meant to show you that quinoa doesn't have to be trapped behind the same old recipes.

Bakery goodies

Just to show the versatility of quinoa, we look to our local bakery for inspiration. Quinoa flour is a great gluten free substitute when the need arises, but cooked quinoa can also be incorporated into your recipes. By adding cooked quinoa to your baked goods, you get a surprising little snap, courtesy of the little quinoa curly-que. You also get the added chewy texture that quinoa is known for.

One of the favorite ways to incorporate quinoa into your baking is to incorporate it right into your batter. You can also add cooked quinoa to the icing or filling for another unique take on your favorite baked good. Cooked quinoa has enough texture to mimic chopped nuts in some cases. Quinoa meal can add the type of texture you would expect from cornmeal. So, as you can see, it takes a bit of experimenting, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Pancakes

Ah, yes. Pancakes are a great place to include quinoa. By using some cooked quinoa in your pancake batter, not only do you make a well rounded meal loaded with complex protein, vitamins, and minerals, but you also add a bunch of fiber. This means that you will eat less and feel full longer than if you just had your basic pancakes, which are simply carbohydrates topped with liquid sugar. You can also use quinoa flour or meal in the pancake batter for an incredible flavor and texture.

Parfait

Parfaits are an excellent option for a nutritious breakfast when made with the right ingredients. With fruit, granola, and yogurt, you get a well rounded breakfast in a stacked cup of deliciousness. Quinoa is a great replacement for the granola in this tasty treat because it has the crunch you are looking for, but it also doesn't mask any of the flavors of the fruit or yogurt.

The best thing about adding quinoa to your parfait is that the light and healthy dish you know becomes a power packed breakfast, lunch, or snack. The quinoa provides everything your body needs to get through a long day. Your parfait is not only a delicious way to start out the day, but your body can start working overtime speeding up your metabolism and giving you the right kind of fuel to burn all day long.

Cookies

You may not think to put quinoa in your cookies, but a variation of the time-tested oatmeal raisin cookie has never been more delicious. There are also other applications where quinoa can make a debut, such as in your gingersnap cookies or even a welcome addition to a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. Of course, quinoa doesn't work well with the lighter cookies, like shortbread or Madeline, but a hearty cookie can stand up to the extra heft and texture of quinoa. Of course, using quinoa flour or meal is another way to incorporate quinoa, but without changing the cookie as much as cooked quinoa would.

Brownies

If you didn't think brownies could get any better, think again. Adding cooked quinoa to your brownie mix will add a good deal of chewiness and a slight crunch as well. Using a red quinoa will add even more crunch; maybe enough to eliminate the nuts in your brownie recipe. That slightly bitter taste of quinoa is also a natural compliment to the sweetness of the fudge chocolate brownie.

Cupcakes

Not only does having quinoa in your cupcakes produce a pleasant appearance, but you just can't beat the texture. The addition of cooked quinoa to the batter, filling, or frosting changes the texture and taste of the cupcake. Once you get away from the thought of the cake texture of cupcakes, you can go wild with choices. Grated vegetables, fruit, and all sorts of concoctions can be used in cupcakes. So why not quinoa?