It’s weird to think that quinoa recipes were once a novel find on the internet. The formerly obscure-in-mainstream-American-cooking ingredient has become a food blog regular—not to mention, a pantry staple for a lot of people who are cooking in the time of quarantine. The dainty, delightfully fluffy grain-like seed is versatile and fast-cooking—which makes it a pretty handy ingredient during a pandemic (or just your average weeknight, back when those were still a thing).
So what does a healthy quinoa recipe look like? Well, quinoa itself is already packed with nutrition—rich in carbs and fiber, plus some protein. If you’re going to build a filling and nutritious meal around quinoa, you’re off to a great start—you’ll just want to round it out. Generally, a satisfying and enjoyable meal contains three or four food groups to provide a variety of nutrients and flavors, Rachael Hartley, R.D., certified intuitive eating counselor and owner of Rachael Hartley Nutrition, tells SELF. Quinoa’s got the carbs covered, so you’ll likely want to add some additional protein (eggs, lentils, beans, tofu, chicken), a fat (olive oil, nuts, butter, cheese), and, ideally, some kind of fruit or vegetable (broccoli, berries, squash, spinach).
We sifted through the bajillion-and-one quinoa recipes out there and rounded up 31 fantastic ones for you to try out. (A lot of these recipes—salads, skillets, stir fries—are well-balanced meals in themselves. Some, you’d want to serve as a side or bulk up for a meal.) Happy quarantine quinoa cooking.
A note about the word healthy here: We know that healthy is a complicated concept. Not only can it mean different things to different people, it’s a word that’s pretty loaded (and sometimes fraught), thanks to the diet industry’s influence on the way we think about food. At SELF, when we talk about food being healthy, we’re primarily talking about foods that are nutritious, filling, and satisfying. But it also depends on your preferences, your culture, what’s accessible to you, and so much more. We selected these recipes with those basic criteria in mind, while also trying to appeal to a wide variety of nutritional needs and taste buds.