Quinoa is a pseudo-grain crop. Although it looks like couscous or bulgur (processed wheat products), formally, it is close to buckwheat. Quinoa is rich in minerals, gluten-free, and low in calories. The main way to prepare it is to boil it in water or milk. The unique taste and crumbly texture make quinoa super versatile – you can use it in salads, energy bars, or as a side dish for vegetable dishes. Vegetarians especially love quinoa because of its complete amino acid profile.
But what time should we eat quinoa to get the most out of it? Let’s find out.
What is the best time to eat quinoa? The best time to eat quinoa is breakfast (with yogurt, nuts, honey, banana, apples, and strawberries) and lunch (in salads with chicken, tuna, and shrimp) to get energy and power for the day. Quinoa can be eaten for dinner, too, with tomatoes, black beans, avocado, and feta cheese, and it is good for weight loss.
- Replaces cereals in gluten-free meals
- Contains more protein than all other grains
- Contains a complete set of essential amino acids (complete protein) like acid lysine, which belongs to essential, not synthesized by the body acids.
- Contains high content of fiber, vitamin B, and minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc)
Quinoa for Breakfast
Can I eat quinoa for breakfast? Quinoa is a great meal for breakfast as it is very nutritious and contains a lot of fiber, protein, iron, and zinc, giving you energy for the day. Quinoa for breakfast will keep you full for hours, thanks to the magnesium content, and Omega 3 fatty acids will be an excellent energy source.
The rules for cooking quinoa with a delicate and mild taste are almost always the same. You can boil it in water or add almond, coconut, or regular milk. In this case, you can add salt or honey, butter, cinnamon, and other additives.
How do you eat quinoa in the morning? In the morning, quinoa can be eaten with yogurt, nuts, bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries, honey, or jam. If you feel like eating savory quinoa, add vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, garlic, butter, parsley) to your meal. Quinoa goes with many ingredients, so the choice is unlimited.
Quinoa can be eaten with fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, and on its own. To not get bored of the same dish, try to diversify your breakfasts. You can even bake cookies with quinoa or make quinoa energy bars. Here are some interesting recipes to eat quinoa for breakfast.
Energy Bars with Quinoa for Breakfast
|Oat flakes||100 g|
|Flax seeds||2 tbsp|
|Pumpkin seeds||2 tbsp|
|Sunflower seeds||2 tbsp|
|Vegetable oil||1 tbsp|
|Dark chocolate||50 g|
|Ground cinnamon||2 tbsp|
- Peel and skin the apples (optional), cut them into cubes, and put them in a bowl of water and lemon juice so that they do not darken.
- Chop the walnuts nicely. Mash the banana with a fork. Melt the chocolate in a water bath.
- Boil quinoa for 20 minutes, put it in a colander, and drain off excess moisture. Mix with oatmeal, ground cinnamon, and salt.
- Add vegetable oil, honey, banana, and chocolate to the dry mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Add nuts and all seeds, and mix well.
- Cover the form with parchment. Put the mixture on the parchment and smooth with a spoon.
- Bake in a well-preheated oven at 170°C for 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into pieces. Enjoy!
Quinoa Cookies for Breakfast
|Cooked brown rice||1 cup|
|Cooked quinoa||2 cups|
|Sesame seeds||2/3 cup|
|Flax seeds||1/2 cup|
|Soy sauce||2 tbsp|
|Olive oil||3 tbsp|
- Soak flax seeds in ½ cup water and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Toast the flax seeds in a dry skillet.
- Combine cooked rice, quinoa, flax, oats, soy sauce, and olive oil in a food processor or blender and whisk until smooth. At first, the mass will beat into a ball, but gradually it will become softer. If it comes out dry, you can add a little water.
- Add sesame seeds. Mix. The dough will be very sticky.
- Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough in a thin layer. It can be sprinkled with nuts, spices, or herbs to taste.
- Cut with a knife in portions so that it is convenient to break. Cover with another sheet of parchment and bake for about 30 minutes at 175C until the dough is golden and crispy.
- Allow to cool and divide into pieces along the lines. Store in a plastic container.
Quinoa for Lunch
How do you eat quinoa for lunch? For lunch, quinoa can be added to salads with chicken, beef, pork, veal, shrimp, salmon, vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onion) or added to soups (with vegetables like red pepper, celery, carrot, kale, beans, zucchini or to creamy soups with tomato sauce, parmesan, and bone broth).
Like with breakfasts, quinoa for lunch is a great meal for those who follow a healthy lifestyle and want to be in good shape. For lunch, you can try quinoa, chicken, and avocado cream bowl, grilled scallops with orange quinoa, quinoa, and Teriyaki salmon bowl, stuffed peppers with quinoa and eggplant filling, Asian chicken and quinoa salad, lentil and quinoa salad.
Quinoa is very nutritious, boils quickly and tastes like brown rice, and is gluten-free. What is also important, quinoa is not very high in calories. 100 grams of cooked quinoa contains only 120 kcal. Remember to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking it. Otherwise, the dish may have an unpleasant bitter aftertaste.
Try these unusual but very healthy recipes with quinoa for lunch.
California Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Crab
|Fresh mint||5 g|
|Shiso (Beefsteak plant)||10 g|
|Lemon juice||3 tbsp|
|Vegetable oil||2 tbsp|
|Crab meat||150 g|
|Salt, pepper||5 g|
- Boil pre-soaked quinoa for 15 minutes and let it cool.
- Peel the mango, avocado, apple, and cucumber and cut them into small cubes.
- Peel the previously defrosted shrimp from the shell, and disassemble the crab meat into fibers.
- Mix the oil with lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients with the dressing, and put in a salad bowl. Add crab and shrimp.
- Garnish with mint and salad when serving.
Quinoa Patties with Vegetables
|Olive oil||30 g|
|Salt, pepper||5 g|
- Boil quinoa. Grate the carrots on a fine grater and chop the onion.
- Chop the spinach finely.
- Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, stir in the quinoa, half a lemon, flour, and egg. Mix well. Add salt and pepper.
- Form patties and fry in vegetable oil on both sides until golden brown.
Quinoa for Dinner
Quinoa was named a superfood for a reason. This pseudo-grain culture is based on many beneficial components that facilitate the work of the gastrointestinal tract and, simultaneously, give a feeling of fullness. Therefore, supporters of a healthy lifestyle and diet lovers actively use quinoa in cooking. And quinoa is also good for weight loss.
It is good to eat quinoa for dinner as it has complete protein, which builds muscle tissue, and magnesium, which gives you the feeling of fullness. Quinoa also has tryptophan, which has a sedative effect and helps you sleep better. Quinoa is slowly digested and does not cause spikes in blood sugar.
Quinoa has low-calorie content and glycemic index. Unlike cereals, for example, oatmeal, quinoa can be eaten even as a late dinner, and you will not gain excess weight. Quinoa is an excellent source of the main building block of the human body. Therefore, on a diet, you do not have to worry about the lack of meat, which is especially good for vegetarians. You can gain muscle mass and achieve beautiful body relief thanks to quinoa. Quinoa is gluten-free, so it is suitable for the therapeutic diet, particularly for the gluten-free menu.
Quinoa has a positive effect on the immune system, restores hormones, starts metabolism and fills with energy. Quinoa is also beneficial for iron deficiency and varying degrees of anemia. Quinoa removes toxins, strengthens bones and improves the condition of hair, preventing hair loss.
Quinoa is an excellent source of calcium which is required to improve the structure of bones, teeth, nails. Since quinoa contains no gluten, people with atherosclerosis, migraines, and diabetes can eat it. Quinoa enhances all metabolic processes, accelerates blood, saturates cells with oxygen, and makes the skin elastic.
Quinoa contains many B vitamins, which are responsible for the psychoemotional environment of a person. As a result of frequent and dosed consumption, sleep quality improves, and unnecessary anxiety and apathy decrease.
See also: Ultimate Guide on How to Store Quinoa
Here are some interesting recipes with quinoa for dinner. Enjoy healthy yet delicious meals and stay energetic!
Quinoa Salad with Pumpkin and Spinach
|Fresh spinach||200 g|
|Pine nuts||50 g|
|Olive oil||1 tbsp|
|Lemon juice||1 tbsp|
|Balsamic vinegar||1 tsp|
|Salt, pepper||5 g|
- Peel the pumpkin, cut it into pieces and bake in a well-preheated oven at 200°C for 25-30 minutes.
- Boil the quinoa according to the instructions on the package after soaking it.
- Fry pine nuts in a dry frying pan.
- Wash and dry spinach leaves.
- For the dressing, squeeze the juice from half a lemon, and add olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix.
- Combine spinach leaves, diced pumpkin, and quinoa. Add roasted nuts and parmesan (or any hard cheese).
- Season the salad and garnish with balsamic sauce.
Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts
|Brussels sprouts (preferably fresh)||500 g|
|Olive oil||4 tbsp|
|Dried dill||1 tbsp|
|Balsamic vinegar||1 tbsp|
- Cook the quinoa for 20 minutes until it is tender.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Wash the onions and cabbage thoroughly. Cut the leek into slices and the cabbage into halves. Grate garlic.
- Combine the cabbage, onion, garlic, oil, dill, and vinegar in a baking dish. Salt the dish and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Combine cabbage with vegetables before serving. You can add a few chopped raisins and almonds.
Why Should You Eat Quinoa?
- Quinoa contains more protein than any cereal, up to 20%. At the same time, the protein is complete, that is, it contains all the amino acids necessary for the body.
- Quinoa is gluten-free. So if, for example, a salad recipe contains trendy couscous and bulgur, and you can’t eat gluten, you can easily replace them with quinoa.
- High magnesium levels (100 g of quinoa contains 58% of the daily value) can reduce hunger if you are on a diet or are under stress. Magnesium soothes the nerves, and you no longer need the uncontrolled “seizing” of a stressful situation.
- Quinoa contains a significant amount of fat – about 6% of dry weight. This does not make it too high in calories (like rice or oatmeal, 100 g of dry quinoa contains about 370 kcal), but it adds benefits: the bulk of the fats in quinoa are beneficial Omega3 acids.
- Quinoa has an anti-inflammatory effect on our body and contains a lot of dietary fiber – due to this, it is slowly digested and does not cause spikes in blood sugar.
Quinoa is an extremely healthy meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, quinoa will give you energy for the day and improve brain activity. For lunch, quinoa will give strength to your muscles and reduce hunger. For dinner, quinoa will calm your nervous system and ensure a deep sleep, reducing anxiety and eliminating stress.
Quinoa is rich in vitamins A, C, and group B and contains more protein than rice and couscous. Quinoa also has vegetable fiber, Omega-3, lysine, potassium, zinc, selenium, iron, phosphorus, and choline.
Quinoa can be used for various dishes. For example, you can enjoy quinoa with yogurt, nuts, banana, apples, blueberries, honey, or jam for breakfast. For lunch, quinoa will go with meat (beef, pork, veal, chicken) or seafood like shrimp or salmon. For dinner, you can enjoy quinoa with vegetables (tomatoes, zucchini, beans, carrot, onion, parsley, and garlic). Quinoa tastes good sweet, and savory. Do not forget to rinse quinoa thoroughly to get rid of bitterness.
Due to its low glycemic index, quinoa is beneficial for diabetics as it lowers blood sugar levels. Also, quinoa benefits the nervous system and activates the “hormone of joy,” improving mood. Due to its relatively low-calorie content, quinoa helps in weight loss, so nutritionists recommend including it in the diet. The fiber in its composition suppresses hunger and promotes the breakdown of fats.
Regular quinoa consumption increases the body’s resistance to disease, the skin regenerates faster, and sugar and cholesterol levels are kept within normal limits. Quinoa is useful for strengthening bone tissue, improving the functioning of the digestive tract, and relieving inflammation. Antioxidant substances in the composition prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.