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5 Ways to Use Quinoa

If you have no idea what quinoa is, prepare to be delighted: This hearty grain is packed with protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. Plus, it’s crazy delicious. Here are the top ways to introduce quinoa into your life.

How to use quinoa, bowl of quinoa

You’ve probably noticed quinoa popping up in the menu at all your favorite restaurants. And, if you have no idea what the thing is or how to pronounce it, we’re here to help. Quinoa is pronounced “keen-wah” and is a fluffy grain packed with protein.

Related: Don't Give Up Carbs, Get Down with Grains

In fact, because it contains all nine essential amino acids, it’s considered a “complete” protein. Also, if you’re gluten intolerant, good news: Quinoa is gluten-free. It’s delicious, has a nutty flavor, and is extraordinarily versatile. Here are some great ways to use it:

Substitute it for rice

If you’re used to using rice in your stir fry or omelette, swap things up for a much more filling alternative. Anywhere you can use rice, you can use quinoa (we’re looking at you, burritos). But the best part? Quinoa is the fastest-cooking grain, so while brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, quinoa only takes about 10.

Turn it into an exfoliant

Beauty companies have gone gaga for quinoa, but they charge exorbitant amounts for quinoa-infused products. If you want a protein-packed scrub, make your own. It’s easy, cheap, and effective.

Use it in your food storage

You don’t have to be a food prepper to have food set aside in case of emergencies. Due to its high protein content and long shelf life, quinoa is a great choice for food storage.

Use it in salads 

Quinoa in salads tastes incredible. Seriously. Add in some chick peas and your favorite veggies to cooked quinoa, then add in some olive oil and salt. Or just follow this quinoa salad recipe.

Make protein bars 

Remember how quinoa is a complete protein? That also means it’s a great idea to have on hand throughout your day. Transform this mighty grain into a mighty delicious protein bar.  

Related: The Amazing Chickpea

Just because you may not be totally familiar with quinoa doesn’t mean it’s not a kitchen essential. Give any of those five suggestions a shot—we promise you’ll be a quinoa convert. But if those still don’t win you over, we still have one more trick up our sleeve: quinoa is amazing in cookies. Give this hearty quinoa cookie recipe a spin and see how much more filling (and delicious) your desserts become.  


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Jennifer Diffley
Jennifer Diffley is a SLC resident. She is a senior copywriter and has her MFA in creative writing from NYU. Jennifer is committed to health, but has an unhealthy fascination with outrageous shoes.