Endeavoring to eat more healthy foods is always fun—at first.
A few months ago, I realized I’d gotten into a rut with my quinoa recipes. It was time to find some new, exciting different ways to prepare quinoa . . . before my family staged a mutiny.
As I experimented, I found some delicious recipes with this grain and, of course, others that didn’t exactly pan out (no pun intended). Though wildly different, there was one thing they had in common: they all qualified as “creative.” Try some of these different ways to prepare quinoa, with at least a few guaranteed to delight your family.
Starting the day sans-sugar is a commitment my family has stuck to for years. Avoiding the sweet stuff means we get more whole grains and good fats to start each day, which is nice, but it requires more creativity from the meal planner (that’s me). Thankfully, quinoa delivers the variety we crave without demanding much mental energy from me. Here are a handful of ways you can sub in quinoa for traditional breakfast starches:
- Replace half of your usual pancake batter with cooked quinoa.
- Prepare your oatmeal with quinoa instead. You can still use the butter, syrup, blueberries, cinnamon, and whatever other fixings you usually use to enhance the whole grain. But simply sub the main character (oats) with cooked quinoa and organic cream, instead.
- Pop a handful of uncooked quinoa into your favorite breakfast smoothies for an unexpected (but fun) crunch.
- Make egg quiche without the flour by using a thin layer of cooked quinoa instead of pie crust on the bottom of the casserole dish.
Broccoli Basil Bakers
My favorite breakfast recipes with quinoa are those that involve cheese! Here’s an original I cook up often, called “Bethany’s Broccoli Basil Bakers.”
Start by collecting your ingredients. You will need:
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. refined coconut oil
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups broccoli florets, cooked
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 cups cheddar, shredded
- 1 tsp. paprika
First, sauté the onion in the coconut oil. Then preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Next, spoon the mixture into lightly-greased cupcake tins.
Finally, bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the eggs are set.
Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, and enjoy!
After a busy morning, I’m always excited for lunch, but I know better than to pound conventional carbs. When I’m craving salty starches, I’m tempted to assemble a salad that’s mostly croutons. To combat the midday cravings, I substitute cooked and cooled quinoa in place of the croutons that often slow me down.
The crunch tends to deliver even more satisfaction than I had experienced with croutons.
Nutty Quinoa Bites Snack
When the kids get home from school, they typically have a long way to go until supper is served. Don’t reach for the chips and cookies. Instead, whip up a few nutty quinoa bites!
This nutty, flourless laddu snack looks just like the Asian original and requires only five ingredients.
The components you’ll want to gather are:
- ½ cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1/3 cup natural nut butter
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. raw local honey
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
To make the treats, simply combine all the ingredients, mixing well.
Form the dough into balls about the size of a ping-pong ball. Place each one on a plate, and pop them in the fridge for a half-hour (or until firm). Then serve with organic milk and a napkin for a slow-burning energy boost that the whole family will enjoy.
Dinner is the easiest meal of the day to incorporate quinoa—because you can use it in lieu of any recipe that calls for rice or couscous. Do you need a few specifics ideas? Nab inspiration from these swaps:
- Enchiladas with quinoa instead of rice
- Paella with quinoa instead of meat
- Fried polenta and quinoa cakes with marinara
- Steamed cabbage rolls stuffed with quinoa and lentils
- Cabbage noodles browned in sesame oil, mixed with cooked quinoa, and served with soy sauce
- Quinoa in corn chowder
- Vegan quinoa and lentils with curry powder
- Quinoa-stuffed sweet potatoes or peppers
What’s your favorite way to serve your family the most amazing grain on earth? Share your quinoa creativity with us by tweeting @TomsofMaine!
Image source: Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.