Out-of-the-box ways to use quinoa

Quinoa is a grain that’s become popular in the last several years because of its many health benefits. It’s packed with protein, iron and magnesium, and has twice the amount of fiber of any other grain. These components battle gallstones, support heart heath and bone growth, and reduce cholesterol – talk about some good stuff! However, people are starting to get bored with throwing it in salad or using quinoa in place of rice, so they’ve made more creative meals. As a student of an online culinary school, you probably have some interesting quinoa recipes of your own. Here are a few more to add to your arsenal:

Quinoa pudding has a similar consistency and texture to tapioca or rice varieties. This sweet treat also incorporates fruit and nuts for a protein-packed and vitamin-filled dessert (or breakfast). Start by cooking the quinoa in a mixture of milk (you can use non-dairy versions too), cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and a pinch of salt. The amount you use of each is your decision – play around to find a balance that fits your tastes. The milk will get a film on top as you cook – just fold it back into the rest of the milk. After the quinoa is cooked, let it sit and cool, then top it off with strawberries and chopped pistachios.

If you’re sick of veggie or black bean burgers, pick up some quinoa for a meat-free slider dish. The patties are made of quinoa, vegetable stock, chickpeas, provolone, breadcrumbs, eggs, spices and veggies. Cook the quinoa and let it cool over night, then mix it with the egg, breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, spices and coarsely chopped cooked chickpeas. Form the patties and cook them in a frying pan. You can top these sliders however you want, but you may consider trying avocado slices and chipotle mayonnaise.

Mix cooked quinoa with broccoli, sliced cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on one side of a wheat tortilla. Fold one side of the tortilla over the other, then cook it in a frying pan until the cheese is melted. This quick recipe has all the health benefits of quinoa. Consider dipping the quesadilla in homemade guacamole or pico de gallo.

Make your chili recipe as usual, but add cooked quinoa for a hearty texture and healthy benefits. This alteration is especially good for meatless chili, as it adds protein and keeps you satisfied longer than a chili without it. Serve shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips on the side as toppers.

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