4 Tasty, New Ways to Enjoy Quinoa

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(Photos: Morena Escardo/Demand Media)

Only a few years ago, quinoa was virtually unknown outside its native South America. Now it’s a beloved staple in grocery stores, restaurants and homes around the world. In fact, because of its great nutritional value ─ and its compatibility with dietary restrictions ─ quinoa is being considered by NASA as food for astronauts on long-duration space flights. Quinoa is a complete protein, so it’s a perfect addition to vegetarian or vegan diets. Additionally, it’s gluten-free, so it’s a lifesaver for those with dietary restrictions. With its mild flavor and versatile texture, quinoa looks, feels and tastes like a grain. This makes it an ideal ingredient if you are looking to replace grains in your recipes. 

1. Gluten-Free Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes These quinoa chocolate cupcakes have a light, spongy texture and a very delicate taste: not too sweet, not too chocolaty, and with a mild hint of quinoa. Making them only requires two bowls and 10 minutes of your time, with another 20 minutes in the oven. These little quinoa cupcakes make a wonderful sweet treat for people who suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Add some dried coconut and cranberries, or pecans and chocolate chips for different variations. Get the recipe here.

Related: Can You Train Your Brain to Crave Healthy Foods? 

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2. Quinoa and Amaranth Supercharged Breakfast Think of breakfast as warming up a car’s engine after a cold night outside. That’s one reason why a bowl of hot oatmeal is a beloved breakfast staple around the world. But you don’t have to limit yourself to oats. Quinoa will also warm and comfort you when eaten hot and slightly moist. Its taste is mild and welcomes most flavor and texture additions, including spices, honey, maple or carob syrup, dried fruits and flax seeds, as in this recipe. The best part about eating quinoa for breakfast is that it keeps your sugar levels stable throughout the morning, which means fewer cravings, more energy, a balanced mood and a clear mind. Get the recipe here.

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3. Vegetarian Quinoa Chili Chili is traditionally made with beef, although there are many popular variations, such as chicken chili and vegetarian chili. Vegetable chili, made with only beans and veggies, and perhaps some vegetarian meat to replace the ground beef, is now a staple in most meat-free kitchens, and for good reason. This Mexican-inspired vegetarian quinoa chili has so much flavor, thanks to the vegetables, chili peppers and spices. It’s satisfying — even for the most passionate meat-eaters. Get the recipe here.

Related: Eat These Foods, Stay Healthy

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4. Healthy Quinoa Bars Energy bars (a.k.a. protein bars) are popular snacks these days. Many enthusiasts may not realize, however, that some of these so-called health foods are packed with sugar, preservatives and other unwholesome ingredients. So, if you reach for a pre-packaged energy bar when a mid-morning craving kicks in, you may not get the energy boost you’re expecting. The solution: Make your own energy bars at home. Preparing protein bars from scratch gives you total control over what goes into them. These quinoa bars are a great option, as the quinoa, tahini, coconut oil and nuts are full of healthy fats and protein that will help you stay energized and on top of your game throughout the day. Get the recipe here.

The original article “8 New Ways to Enjoy Quinoa That You May Not Have Tried" appeared on LIVESTRONG.COM.

By Morena Escardo

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