Quinoa is rich in nutrients, tasty, and versatile. It can be used in place of rice, couscous, barley, or any other grains. Get more of this healthy superfood in your life by trying some of these easy and delicious Vegan Quinoa Recipes!
Quinoa cooks in just about 15 minutes, making it perfect for getting lunch or dinner on the table quickly. It can also be used to make breakfast, snacks, and even dessert!
I’ve rounded up the best Vegan Quinoa Recipes for all times of the day that the whole family will love!
What is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the edible seed of the flowering Chenopodium plant, related to spinach, chard and beets. Though technically it is a seed, it is classified as a grain or sometimes called a pseudograin. [source]
Naturally gluten-free, it’s a great alternative to more common grains for those with Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance.
Types of quinoa
While there are surprisingly more than 120 varieties of quinoa, there are 4 common varieties sold in grocery stores today: white, red, black, and tri-color. You may also find quinoa flakes and quinoa flour. Following is a quick summary of each .
White ~ White quinoa is the most common variety. It cooks up soft and fluffy with a mild nutty flavor.
Red ~ Red quinoa, which cooks up to be more brown than red, is hearty and chewy and holds its shape quite well.
Black ~ Black quinoa tends to retain a bit more crunch than white quinoa quinoa and is just a tad sweeter.
Tri-color ~ Tri-color quinoa isn’t a variety of its own, but simply a combination of white, red, and black quinoa. It is my go-to for most vegan quinoa recipes because of the rainbow of colors.
Flakes ~ Similar to how rolled oats are made, quinoa flakes are created by steam-rolling whole quinoa. They cook super quickly and can be used like oats for breakfast, in baking, or as a breading.
Flour ~ Quinoa flour is produced by finely grinding quinoa seeds. It can be used in baking to replace other flours in varying amounts, though it is not a 1:1 substitute for wheat flour. To experiment with quinoa flour, I suggest finding a recipe that specifically uses it, like the cupcake recipe in the list of vegan quinoa recipes below.
Quinoa is often referred to as a superfood due to its impressive nutritional profile.
It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It’s naturally gluten-free, high in fiber, healthy fats, and boasts many key vitamins and minerals.
How to cook
Regardless of which cooking method you choose, be sure to rinse the quinoa really well under cold water first. This will remove any bitterness caused by the saponin coating on the seeds.
While most quinoa purchased in grocery stores today has been rinsed before packing, it’s a good idea to rinse it again yourself just in case and to also remove any dust or debris from the packaging itself.
Since quinoa seeds are quite small, I find a fine mesh sieve to work best for rinsing. The seeds will fall through holes of a traditional colander.
Below are guidelines for cooking white quinoa. Red and black quinoa may take a few minutes longer to cook. Check your package directions for more specifics.
Stove top: This is my preferred method of cooking quinoa. It cooks in just 12 to 15 minutes and is mostly hands off.
Most packages will tell you to use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid. Personally, I find this to be too much liquid and the quinoa turns out mushy. I prefer a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 1 ¼ cups liquid.
Add the rinsed quinoa and water (or broth) to a pot with a sprinkle of salt, if desired. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 12 to 15 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit untouched for another 5 to 10 minutes before using a fork to fluff it up.
Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker: 1 cup quinoa to 1 ½ cups liquid and a sprinkle of salt, if desired. Seal the valve and cook for 1 minute under high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully vent the valve to release any remaining pressure. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Because the Instant Pot takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to come to pressure and another 10 minutes to release, this 1-minute cooking method actually takes longer than cooking it on the stove!
You can also cook quinoa in the microwave, oven, or slow-cooker, but with two super easy methods above, I suggest you just go with one of those!
Pantry: Store uncooked, dry quinoa in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place for up to one year. I like using mason jars in the pantry.
Fridge: Cooked quinoa can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer: You can also freeze cooked quinoa. Let it cool completely. Spreading it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet will speed up the cooling process. Once cool, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. It should keep well for up to 6 months.
Pro tip: Freeze quinoa in 1 or 2 cup portions to easily thaw and add to your favorite vegan quinoa recipes!
Pro tips and tricks
~ Rinse quinoa well before cooking to remove any bitterness.
~ Do not stir while cooking!
~ Cook the quinoa in broth instead of water for added flavor. Note: Do not do this if you plan to use the quinoa in a sweet dish.
~ Once the liquid has absorbed, turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit untouched for another 5 to 10 minutes.
~ Use a fork to fluff up the quinoa. Do not stir with a spoon or spatula!
~ Make a big batch and freeze in 1 to 2 cup portions to easily add to your favorite vegan quinoa recipes on the fly!
It’s both! Quinoa is classified as a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate as well as a complete protein.
Yes! Quinoa contains protein, fiber, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, zinc, and more! [source]
Quinoa has a mild, slightly nutty flavor. It works well in both savory and sweet applications.
Yes, quinoa should be rinsed well under cold water before cooking. This will remove any of the bitter tasting compounds, called saponins, that coat the seeds.
NO! Bring the liquid to a boil, stir in the grains, then cover and let simmer until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit with the cover on for another 5 to 10 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork.
Stirring during the cooking process will cause the quinoa to clump up and become mushy.
And, be sure to use a fork to fluff it up, not a spoon or spatula which will again make it clumpy.
To make quinoa more flavorful, try cooking it in broth instead of water. You can also add sauté aromatics, like onion and garlic, in a pot, and add spices or herbs, then add the dry quinoa and liquid to the same pot and cook until tender. Only do this for savory vegan quinoa recipes, however, as you don’t want those added flavors in sweet dishes.
More vegan recipe ideas
- Healthy Rice Recipes
- Vegan Black Bean Recipes
- Vegan Chickpea Recipes
- Vegan Lentil Recipes
- Vegan Bowls Recipes
- Vegan Appetizers
- Vegan Pasta Recipes
I hope you love these recipes as much as we do! If you try any of them, please leave a comment below with your feedback.
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For even more easy family recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook!