If you’re like most, you’ve heard of quinoa but you weren’t quite sure what it was, how to cook with it, or how to pronounce it!
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) looks like a grain but is actually a seed. It’s gluten-free, so it’s ideal for people with wheat allergies, and it’s light and fluffy—like rice or couscous.
When we asked for our readers’ best quinoa recipes for our 2019 recipe contest, we were impressed with the submissions that rolled in—over 100—that utilized this unique and healthy ingredient in both savory and sweet ways. These 3 recipes knocked it out of the park! We think you’ll enjoy them as much as we did.
2019 Winning Quinoa Recipes
1st Place – $250 WINNER
Superfood Hash with Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Kale, & Avocado
2 medium-sized heads of garlic
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
5 ounces kale leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes (optional)
1 cup cooked white quinoa
4 large eggs
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
Add the potatoes to a large pot of salted boiling water and simmer until tender. Drain and dry completely with paper towels.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute in hot oil until vegetables are soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cooked sweet potatoes, kale, vinegar, and chili flakes (if using) and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the quinoa and stir to combine.
Gently press hash down with a spatula and make four egg-sized wells in the hash with the back of a spoon. Crack eggs into the wells,
season with salt and pepper, and cover. Cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and top with sliced avocados. Serve immediately.
2nd Place – $150 WINNER
Chocolate Banana Quinoa Cake
2 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup sugar
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 tablespoon black chia seeds
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment and leave some hanging over the sides. Place the bananas, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, syrup, and sugar into a food processor. Pulse until fully puréed. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the quinoa, quinoa flakes, chia seeds, salt, and baking powder. Gently fold mixture to combine, then pour into baking pan.
Bake just until the cake is firm through to the center (30 minutes). Remove and allow to fully cool. Lift cake from pan by the parchment and cut into squares.
Microwave the chocolate on defrost in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Stir softened butter into the chocolate. Pour mixture into a zip-top bag, snip a small hole in the corner and pipe chocolate onto each square in a crosshatch pattern. Allow chocolate to set for 5-10 minutes before serving.
3rd Place – $100 WINNER
Colorful, Cheesy Quinoa Cups
Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
2 cups water
1 cup tricolor quinoa (or any other variety)
4 large eggs
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed, chopped, and squeezed dry
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with the cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil, and then stir in quinoa. Cover with lid, lower heat, and simmer until quinoa is tender and all liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and let stand 10 minutes to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg, ricotta cheese, flour, and baking powder until blended. Stir in quinoa, spinach, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes until combined. Divide into muffin cups and sprinkle tops with Parmesan cheese. Bake until quinoa cups are a little golden on top and have risen (about 20 minutes). Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Gently loosen and remove. Makes 12.
Congratulations to all our winners!
All three winning quinoa recipes appear in the 2020 Farmers’ Almanac.