Quinoa Part II: Only the Good

Quinoa Part II: Only the Good

Three of My Favorite Quinoa Recipes

You know what’s really, really good for you? Quinoa. You know what I buy in bulk and add to just about everything? Quinoa!

I’m here to come to the defense of quinoa since poor Joc has had some bad luck with it. And that’s not to say that everything I’ve ever done with it has been great, because it hasn’t, but I have found a few recipes that I really like and I’d love to share them.

These three recipes are some that I make over and over and which have become “go-tos” in our house. The first of these recipes my husband frequently requests. This is a man they have nicknamed “Meat”, by the way. Just sayin’. The second one I love but Josh could take it or leave it. The third? We both love!

Before we get cooking with quinoa here are a few tips, tricks, and other uses for it:

  • Always rinse your quinoa under cool water before cooking.
  • Toss a small handful into soups and stews for added interest and a nutritional boost.
  • Toast quinoa in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes before cooking for extra flavor.
  • Grind toasted and cooled quinoa in a food processor or coffee grinder to make a gluten-free flour.
  • Use in place of oats with milk to make a delicious, protein-packed porridge for breakfast.
  • Top your salads with a 1/4 cup cooked quinoa and make them a little heartier.

Fun, right?

Now. On to the actual cooking.


 Meat-Lover’s Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Adapted from Eating Well
Quinoa Burger


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa (red or white)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cremini, portobello or white button mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans, toasted then finely chopped (See tip below)
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 small whole-wheat burger buns or buns of your choice


  1. Combine water and rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  4. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and spices; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Beat egg in a medium bowl. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, cheese, pecans, oats and soy sauce; stir to combine. Scoop scant 1/2-cup portions of the mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into 8 patties, about 3 inches wide, leaving about 1 inch of space between each patty. (The mixture will be crumbly; patting it into burgers on the baking sheet makes it easier to work with. The patties hold together very well once baked.)
  6. Bake the burgers until crispy, 28 to 30 minutes. Serve on buns with your favorite garnishes.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Individually wrap and freeze cooked burgers for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a skillet with a little oil.
  • For the best flavor, toast nuts before adding to recipes. Spread whole nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. For chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.



Lasagna-Style Quinoa Casserole

Adapted from Eating Well
Quinoa Lasagna


  • 2 cups water, salted
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced portobello mushrooms (or any kind of fresh mushrooms you have on hand)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, thyme or Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini (approximately one medium zucchini)
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Lightly grease a 9 x 13″ casserole dish with olive oil.
  2. Combine water and rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan. (You can also add seasoning to the water or use chicken or vegetable broth instead for more flavor.) Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cook covered for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Evenly spread the quinoa in the prepared dish. You can also cook the quinoa before hand to cut down on prep time.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Wipe out the saucepan, then add oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until transparent and starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are softened and very little moisture is left in the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and tomato sauce. Stir until hot. Remove from heat.
  5. Combine cottage cheese and egg in a medium bowl; mix well. Stir in Parmesan, basil and oregano.
  6. Spread one-third of the sauce over the quinoa. Make a layer of all the zucchini, then all the cottage cheese mixture, then half the remaining sauce, then all the spinach. Finish with the remaining sauce and spread mozzarella on top.
  7. Bake until hot and cheese is melted, bubbling and slightly browned around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.



Baked Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

Adapted from She Knows

Turkey Quinoa meatballs


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 handful baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (or less for a milder spice)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or oregano, thyme, basil… whatever you have)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (You can use regular breadcrumbs as well)
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl add ground turkey, cooked quinoa, spinach, red onion, garlic, Sriracha, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs and egg. Stir until combined. You can also mix these with an electric mixer to speed things up.
  3. Roll into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and add to prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until firm and cooked throughout.
  5. Serve with tomato sauce over pasta or on sub buns with cheese as a meatball sandwich.

I hope these recipes inspire you to  step outside your comfort zone a bit and do some experimenting with this funny, versatile, little seed that is all the craze right now. There are so many possibilities.

Now go make some quinoa!

Did you enjoy these recipes? Were they a flop for your family or did they gobble them right up? Let us know!



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