Getting your just desserts with quinoa

Close up of red and white quinoa.

Cooked red and white quinoa

When you think of quinoa, you may think of a main course or side dish. But, you most likely don't consider how you can prepare quinoa in your dessert recipes. But, quinoa lends itself well to many desserts. With its fluffy texture, nutty taste, and delightful “pop,” quinoa can take desserts to a new level by adding another complex layer to the taste and texture of your favorite treats. Let's see how we can take a different look at dessert with quinoa.


Since quinoa can be a direct replacement for rice, why not have a quinoa variation on the classic rice pudding? Cooking quinoa this way brings out the creamy deliciousness and the sweetness of raisins and apple juice will take over the rest of the recipe. Another pudding option to consider is simply adding to cooked quinoa, ripe, mashed bananas and a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon. How many dessert recipes do you have with this sort of nutritional kick?


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.


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.


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?