8 Ways to Use Quinoa ...

Quinoa is a type of grain that is high in amino acids, folate, minerals, and protein, so there are lots of ways to use quinoa. This super grain was referred to by the Incas as "the Mother grain" and has been around for quite some time. There are a great many ways to use it since it has the consistency of cous cous but also absorbs different flavors. Here are just a few of my favorite ways to use quinoa for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.

1. Quinoa Pancakes

Yes, there are ways to use quinoa that makes unhealthy things healthier! Mix about one cup cooked quinoa in with your usual pancake recipe for a healthy and earthy taste. These pancakes have a similar consistency and taste as wheat pancakes, but have a higher amount of protein and dietary fiber. Check out Martha Stewart's quinoa pancake recipe for a yummy take on this healthy start!

2. Quinoa Porridge

There are a great many quinoa porridge recipes out on the internet. Some are fantastic, and some are meh. Look for recipes that use agave, banana, fruits, and some nuts to get a tasty and healthy start to your day. Some of my favorite recipes use milk and spices to cook the quinoa in. The yummy flavoring is absorbed into the quinoa for a delicious breakfast that is a nice change from the usual Starbucks run.

3. Trail Mix Balls

Snacking could be a competitive sport for me. That's why these tasty quinoa trail mix balls are so great! You can add them in as a yummy part of a bag lunch, or use them to stave off those afternoon cookie cravings. I found my favorite recipe over at eatliverun.com. She uses chocolate (yes!), cranberries, granola, and a few other goodies for a treat that is "like birdseed in the most delicious way."

4. Quinoa Salad

Quinoa has a ton of uses, and salads are no exception. You can add cooked quinoa over a pre-made salad for an easy energy boost, or use it as your salad base. There are some great quinoa salad recipes online, but my favorites include spinach, some feta, and a few veggies. The spinach and veggies give some added nutrients and the feta makes it just plain yummy!

5. In Bread?

Dried quinoa can be ground down and added in with wheat for breads. This is a great way to increase your bread's nutritional content without changing the ​chemical or physical structure. The best part is, this can also be done with a bread machine! Just plop all the ingredients into the machine in the morning, and come home to healthy baked bread. That is my type of welcome home.

6. Quinoa Patties?

There are about a billion quinoa patty recipes out there on the internet. ​Some are actual patties that can be used as vegan burgers and some are yummy quinoa balls that can be dunked in your favorite sauces. With all the possibilities, this could be a fantastic addition to a party, or a yummy family Meat Free Mondays dinner! When it comes to quinoa patties, the possibilities seem endless.

7. Over Veggies?

Cooked quinoa over some veggies can give a beautiful color and have a nutritional boost. This is a great option if you are in a hurry but want something other than broccoli steamed in soy sauce. Try adding quinoa over green beens for some restaurant quality presentation. You can also mix it in with stir fry for a fun and healthy twist on the usual! ​

8. A Rice Substitute?

Because quinoa has the consistency of rice, but without the gluten, it is great as a rice substitute. ​Simmer with one part quinoa and two parts water until all the liquid is absorbed. Then, you can use this healthy option for fried rice, stuffed peppers, with veggies, or plain. This is a great substitute that gives you loads more nutrients and is friendly to those unable to eat gluten. If you have extreme gluten allergies, be extra careful, some people are still effected by quinoa.

There we are, just a few ways to use this super healthy grain. Some of my favorite ways to use quinoa is as a healthier substitute in meals. What are some of the ways you use quinoa?