If you’re trying to lose weight, you know all too well the challenges that come with trying to find great tasting food that ties into your weight loss goals. Not surprisingly, the foods that taste the best are usually the ones that are bad for you, often loaded with calories, salt, sugar, or fat, and, in many cases, all four. That said, there is one food that is low in calories, tastes great, and is an excellent source of protein–quinoa.
If you’re not already familiar with quinoa, it is a gluten-free seed that resembles rice and contains nine essential amino acids.
Unlike rice, however, quinoa has a grainy texture that many have described as similar to that of oatmeal. If you have never tried quinoa before, this article is for you, as we will be detailing a few not only healthy, but delicious quinoa recipes that will make your mouth water. If you are a vegetarian, you needn’t fret, as we have you covered too.
Here are 10 delicious quinoa recipes:
QUINOA BREAKFAST CEREAL
Regardless of your weight loss goals, it’s always a good idea to start the day with a healthy breakfast. Although quinoa is probably not the first thing to come to mind, it can make for a great-tasting, healthy breakfast. For example, it can be used to make a hearty breakfast cereal packed with protein and complex carbohydrates that will get you through the morning. To get you started, here is a list of the ingredients that you will need:
- 1 cup of dry, white quinoa
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- A dash of sea salt
- ½ cup of soy or almond milk
As you may have noticed, the ingredient list is short, which means less prep time and more time enjoying a delicious meal. Now it’s time to mix all of these wholesome ingredients together; here are the instructions for a great tasting breakfast cereal:
- Pour the dry quinoa in a large pan and then add water, honey, and salt; stir the ingredients together until they are thoroughly mixed, bring to a boil and allow the mixture to cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and pour it into a serving bowl before adding warm milk of your choice.
- To add a splash of color and some more nutritional value, consider topping your cereal with fruits like apricots, bananas, or nuts and enjoy.
QUINOA-BASED BREAKFAST OR MID-DAY SMOOTHIE
For those who lead busy lives, a sit-down breakfast is not always ideal; if this is the case for you, you’ll enjoy a quinoa-based breakfast smoothie. As a side note, it also makes for a great mid-day snack. That said, let’s take a look at what the ingredient list entails:
- ½ cup of cooked of quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- A frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1 ½ cups green tea
Again, we try to keep the ingredient list as minimal as possible for those who prefer spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying their meals. That said, let’s take a look at how to whip up this delicious tasting smoothie:
- Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until you achieve a smooth consistency.
- If you prefer a sweeter smoothie, consider using a red quinoa-based, gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate instead.
Needless to say, preparing a smoothie requires minimal instruction; once everything is blended together, pour yourself a glass and enjoy.
ALMOND JOY MID-DAY SNACK BARS
Going overboard when it comes to snacking is a great way to derail your weight loss goals. With only 94 calories, a quinoa-based, gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate is a great way to satisfy your hunger without ruining your long-term goals. That said, it is important to note that these snack bars do require a fair bit of prep and cook time for quinoa recipes like this one, but they are well worth it. Plus, they can be refrigerated, allowing you to enjoy them throughout the week. Here is what you’ll need in the way of ingredients:
- 1/3 cup dry quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- 2 cups water
- 12 whole dates
- ½ cup skinless whole almonds
- ½ cup grated coconut
- ¼ cup of gluten-free chocolate chips
Now that we have detailed what you need for this recipe, let’s focus our attention on making this delicious goodness:
- Pour your quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate into a small saucepan and cover with a lid.
- Bring water and quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate to a boil and then allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Allow mixture to cool and then place it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours
- After cooling, add almonds, dates, coconut, and gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate and place mixture into a food processor to combine all ingredients.
- After the ingredients are combined, pour them into a mixing bowl and start shaping them into candy bar-like shapes.
- Melt chocolate over low heat and drizzle some on each bar and place bars back into the refrigerator to cool for about an hour.
PROTEIN BARS TO FUEL YOUR WORKOUTS
If you’re really into fitness, quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate snack bars can be a great way to fuel your body for those strenuous workouts. Similar to the almond joy bars, these protein bars will require a fair bit of prep and cook time, but they too can be stored in the refrigerator for when you need a great pick-me-up or a snack to take with you on the way to the gym. Here is what you will need to get started:
- ½ cup rinsed quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- 2/3 cup water
- 16 pitted dates
- ½ skinned almonds
- 1/3 cup crunch peanut or almond butter
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- Pour water and quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate into a pan and cover with a lid.
- Bring mixture to a boil and allow to simmer for roughly 15 minutes, then allow to cool.
- Pour mixture into a food-processor and add dates and pulse until mixture reaches a doughy consistency before pouring everything into a mixing bowl.
- Add peanut butter and almonds and shape into candy bar-like shapes
- Heat honey and chocolate chips until they’re both well combined and drizzle the mixture over your bars.
- Place your protein snack bar back in the fridge to cool for about 2 hours before consuming them.
Although hamburgers are usually the antithesis of healthy eating, quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate burgers with only 268 calories are a different story. Not surprisingly, the quinoa recipes for hamburgers involve a great deal of prep and cook time, but they’re chock full of flavor and worth the time spent making them. Here is what you’ll need to get started:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup diced onions (red)
- 1 cup quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate (cooked)
- One cup of drained brown lentils
- 1 can diced green chilies
- ½ cup oats
- ¼ whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cornstarch
- ¼ whole grain bread crumbs
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons honey
- Pour oil and onions into saucepan and cook onions until they’re tender.
- Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl before shaping into patties.
- In a separate pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and patties, cooking until both sides are a golden brown.
- Add patties to a bun with honey and other condiments of your choice.
If you’re a vegetarian with a taste for something that looks like meat, vegetarian meatballs are a great choice, and, best of all, they’re only 291 calories.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup rinsed quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- ¼ cup diced red pepper
- 1 cup drained green lentils
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ½ cup diced onion
- ¼ grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon parsley leaves
- ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Pour water and rinsed quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate into a pan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes
- In a separate pan, add onions, peppers, and olive oil and cook until ingredients are tender. Next, add oregano, garlic, and parsley to mixture and cook for one additional minute.
- Remove from heat and absorb excess water with a paper towel
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mash the mixture until the lentils are softened. Next, shape the mixture into meatballs and refrigerate them for 2 hours.
- Add olive oil a to non-stick pan and place meatballs on it; on a medium heat, brown all sides of the meatballs to a golden brown.
HEALTHY PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
If you’re a vegetarian, you will love these meatless Portobello mushrooms. In fact, even if you’re not a vegetarian, you’ll still love them.
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup pre-rinsed quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms with cap removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup whole grain bread crumbs
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped basil
- ½ cup fat-free feta chesse
- Heat oven to 375 degrees
- Add water and pre-rinsed quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate to a medium-sized pot, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
- Place mushrooms on a baking sheet with the open side facing up and brush them with olive oil. Allow them to cook for 10 minutes.
- Combine the remaining ingredient in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly
- Add mixture into each mushroom and bake them for 12 minutes. Allow mushrooms to thoroughly cool before eating them.
BLACK BEANS AND RICE ALTERNATIVE
If you a fan of black beans and rice, you are sure to love this quinoa-based gluten-free dish with black beans.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium diced, sweet onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2/4 uncooked quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- 1 can black beans
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup black pepper
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1 ¾ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- Heat olive oil in a large pan
- Lower heat and add sautéed onions until they are tender. Next, add garlic and saute for an additional minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients and then cover pan, bringing everything to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Use a spoon to fluff the mixture and enjoy
If you’re pressed for time and need a quick low-calorie snack before starting your day, you really can’t go wrong with the 364 calorie veggie wrap.
- 1 brown rice tortilla
- ¼ cup cooked quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- 1 grated carrot
- ¼ sliced avocado
- 2 tablespoons hummus
This is the easy part; you just have to add the ingredients inside of your brown rice tortilla, roll it up, and enjoy a delicious treat.
If you’re a fan of uncomplicated quinoa recipes, you’ll love this 184 calorie snack, and, best of all, the ingredient list is short and includes:
- 1 large avocado
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Goat cheese
- A dash of salt and pepper
- ½ cup cooked quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate
- 4 slices of toast
- Slice avocado and remove the pit
- Scoop avocado meat with a spoon and place into a small bowl
- Add quinoa-based gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate and lime juice, and thoroughly mix all ingredients
- Add a dash of salt and pepper
- Spread mixture on toast and top with goat cheese