Quinoa may be a “health food,” but that doesn’t mean you will lose weight every time you use the grain. Yes, the grain is packed with protein and loaded with essential amino acids and fiber, but once you add less virtuous, calorie- and fat-laden ingredients to the mix, those quinoa recipes you found online may not be the best dish for trim-down success.
To help all you health-minded quinoa lovers out there, we’ve scoured the net. Whether you’re looking for a new go-to healthy lunch or a virtuous take on your favorite “bad” food, you’re sure to find something you’ll love in this collection.
1. Quinoa Pilaf
Nutrition: 230 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 320 mg sodium
This vegan-friendly recipe pairs salty, sweet, and tangy flavors, which play off each other so well you won’t even notice you’re eating a healthy dinner. Add some shrimp or chicken to it if you want to round out the meal with some extra protein.
2. Mexican Quinoa and Chicken Salad
Nutrition: 413 calories, 19 g fat (3 g saturated), 375 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 21 g protein
This Mason jar salad only takes around 30 minutes to prepare, and you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days. In this case, the extra time will only make the dish even more flavorful as the lime juice, cilantro, and garlic soak into the chicken and quinoa. Think meal prep, but without the dried-out meat.
3. Healthy Quinoa Chicken Curry Bowls
Nutrition: 315 calories, 8.9 g fat (1.7 g sat fat), 289.3 mg sodium, 7.9 g fiber, 8.4 g sugar, 23.7 g protein
Flavorful chicken thighs, warming spices, and a hefty dose of protein. This comforting dish can be made in your slow cooker. Don’t have one? Don’t fret: It comes together easily in one pot and the stove does almost all of the work.
4. Quinoa Veggie Burgers with Pickled Red Onions
Nutrition: 470.8 calories, 20.8 g fat (6.5 g sat fat), 1006 mg sodium, 4.2 g fiber, 6.5 g sugar, 17.9 g protein
Tangy goat cheese and pickled red onions team up to take this unique veggie burger to the next level. Looking to go lighter on sodium? Give yourself a thinner layer of goat cheese, which can still add maximum flavor in minimal amounts.
5. Quinoa Lentil Tacos
Nutrition: 301.2 calories, 8.6 g fat (2.6 g sat fat), 624 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 3.2 g sugar, 11.2 g protein
Though we calculated for avocado and lettuce toppings and one whole-wheat tortilla per person, there are simple ways to make them more indulgent without sending the calorie count sky high. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or cheese and don’t worry about that second tortilla: This recipe has so much satiating protein and fiber that you won’t even want it.
6. Mason Jar Quinoa Salad with Green Thai-Style Dressing
Nutrition: 505 calories, 22 g fat (10.4 g sat fat), 358.2 mg sodium, 10.6 g fiber, 14.37 g sugar, 12.6 g protein
Who says it has to be hard to pack yourself a gourmet lunch for the office? Meet the mason jar salad, a genius way to get complex flavor on the go. This one’s sure to keep you full until dinnertime. Pack as much spinach as you can at the top and use a scant teaspoon of coconut oil to prepare the sweet potato.
7. Quinoa Chicken Nuggets
Nutrition: 494.5 calories, 10.9 g fat (2.6 g sat fat), 733.3 mg sodium, 3.2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 72.1 g protein
Chicken nuggets get a double-dose of protein with a quinoa-based crust. You’ll love the satiating effect, kids will just love that they’re getting chicken nuggets. There will be no fighting at the dinner table tonight!
8. Quinoa Taco Bowl
Nutrition: 528.3 calories, 11.3 g fat (1.6 g sat fat), 197 mg sodium, 18.7 g fiber, 6.7 g sugar, 21.1 g protein
Ditch the unnecessary carbs. A couple of crispy tortillas on top of this flavor-packed bowl is all you’ll need to get your fix. Everything else in this taco-inspired dish is fresh, healthy and—most importantly—filling.
9. Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Nutrition: 574 calories, 20.4 g fat (4.3 g sat fat), 125 mg sodium, 17.2 g fiber, 2.7 g sugar, 21.1 g protein
Plenty of protein and fiber in a presentation worthy of your fanciest dinner party. Enjoy an entire half of squash and say goodbye to late night snacking.
10. Garlic Butter Shrimp Quinoa
Nutrition: 298 calories, 13.5 g fat (6.2 g sat fat), 621 mg sodium, 3.0 g fiber, 0.7 g sugar, 15.9 g protein
Need something indulgent that won’t break the calorie bank? Look no further. Plenty of lean protein and fiber with the indulgent touch of garlic butter. Your friends will never know it’s so low-cal.
11. Moroccan-Inspired Quinoa Pilaf and Salmon
Nutrition: 310 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 780 mg sodium
The Moroccan pantry is one of the finest on the planet, overflowing with powerful spices, tantalizing condiments, and healthy whole grains. This sweet and savory combination of spices could be rubbed on chicken or pork, but it takes especially well to the (healthy) fattiness of salmon. Quinoa makes for a healthy, complex, textured, and filling pilaf. It might become your new favorite thing to pair with salmon!
12. Roasted Red Pepper, Quinoa and White Bean Burgers
Nutrition: 736 calories, 18.2 g fat (3.2 g sat fat), 642 mg sodium, 30.6 g fiber, 6.9 g sugar, 37.3 g protein
We calculated for an open-faced burger with classic toppings: bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Just because it’s a veggie burger doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a healthy dose of bacon, too.
13. Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup with Quinoa
Nutrition: 409 calories, 12.5 g fat (2.1 g sat fat), 626 mg sodium, 6.6 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 15.7 g protein
Creamy, comforting soup—without the cream. You’d never know if we didn’t tell you. This indulgent but healthy soup is just as delicious and won’t have any negative effect on your waistline. Just make sure to look for low-sodium stock.
14. Toasted Quinoa Cashew Butter Cups
Nutrition: 238 calories, 14.2 g fat (10.3 g saturated), 28 mg sodium, 24.5 g carbs, 1.6 g fiber, 18.2 g sugar, 3.5 g protein
Fat-blasting coconut oil, cortisol-moderating dark chocolate, and satiating cashew butter come together so flawlessly, you’ll think you’re committing a flat belly sin. Move over Reese’s, you’ve been replaced.
15. Five-Minute Parfait
Nutrition: 260 calories, 2.8 g fat (0 g saturated), 78 mg sodium, 49.8 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 15.7 g sugar, 9.8 g protein
Fire up your brain cells, protect your bones and soothe your gut in just five minutes when you whip up this yogurt parfait. What’s more? According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, pomegranates contain ellagic acid, which might fend against cancer by suppressing estrogen production and preventing the growth of breast cancer cells.
16. Chicken Parm Quinoa Bake
Nutrition: 296 calories, 7.6 g fat (3.2 g saturated), 225 mg sodium, 25.7 g carbs, 3.6 g fiber, 3.6 g sugar, 30.6 g protein (calculated with all natural no salt added sauce)
Chicken Parm can be a waistline disaster. Breaded, fried, smothered in tomato sauce and oozing with cheese. Luckily for you, this dish is low in calories, fat, sodium and sugar, and boasting with satiating protein!
17. Kale Quinoa Salad with Beet-Pickled Eggs
Nutrition: 269 calories, 13.2 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 61 mg sodium, 26.7 g carbs, 5.3 g fiber, 3.7 g sugar, 11 g protein (calculated without salt)
Whether you’re a gym rat, spin addict, or on a sports team, this dish can boost your performance thanks to the purple root vegetable. In fact, according to a study conducted at Kansas State University, athletes who drank beet juice experienced a 38 percent increase in blood flow to muscles, particularly “fast twitch” muscles that affect bursts of speed and strength.
18. Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili
Nutrition: 364 calories, 6.4 g fat (1.9 g saturated), 431 mg sodium, 59.9 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 5.2 g sugar, 23.4 g protein
Thanks to the fibrous beans in this chicken chili, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer stomach in just a few bites. And it’s not just your typical fiber, but a form called “resistant starch,” that as its name implies, resists digestion, keeping you fuller longer.
19. Quinoa Cakes with Lemon, Olives, and Parsley
Serves: About 6
Nutrition: 200 calories, 8.3 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 343 mg sodium, 22.4 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber, 1.1 g sugar, 9.6 g protein
At just 200 calories a piece, these wholesome quinoa cakes are the perfect salad topper, appetizer or side dish to any protein.
20. Savory Zucchini Quinoa Loaf
Nutrition: 234 calories, 7.2 g fat (1.1 g saturated), 228 mg sodium, 36.7 g carbs, 10 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 9 g protein (calculated with 1 tsp of salt)
The green squash adds more than color to this loaf. It’s packed with hunger-squashing fiber, contains more potassium than a banana (which can stop belly bloat) and is super low in calories!
21. Easy Quinoa Pizza Bowls
Nutrition: 270 calories, 13.6 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 243 mg sodium, 23.7 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 3.7 g sugar, 14.4 g protein
Pepperoni pizza may not fit into your body goals, but this bowl version might. With just five ingredients, 270 calories and 14.4 grams of satiating protein, this is one slice that won’t expand your waistline.
22. Honey Lime Quinoa-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Nutrition: 361 calories, 5 g fat (1.6 g saturated), 53 mg sodium, 66.2 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 8.5 g sugar, 15.1 g protein
This dish knocks out nearly 40 percent of daily fiber recommendations, thanks to the orange spud superfood. Not to mention this dish is boasting with magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorus, potassium, and B6. With sweet potato recipes like this one, who really needs a multivitamin?
23. Chocolate Quinoa Bananas
Nutrition: 258 calories, 6.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 35 mg sodium, 45.7 g carbs, 5.4 g fiber, 10.2 g sugar, 7.2 g protein
Banish bloat, fuel your workout, boost your metabolism, fight cravings, and suppress your appetite with this seemingly-sinful meal.
24. Turkey Quinoa Meatballs
Nutrition: 274 calories, 7.9 g fat (1.9 g saturated), 488 mg sodium, 31.9 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 5.6 g sugar, 17.6 g protein
These mini meatballs are made with lean ground turkey, panko bread crumbs, and quinoa. They make the perfect appetizer or protein to add to any pasta dish.
25. Light Cheeseburger Quinoa Skillet
Nutrition: 315 calories, 9.6 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 234 mg sodium, 32.8 g carbs, 4.2 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 24.3 g protein (calculated without salt)
We admit it: We’re kinda burger obsessed, but we love that we can ditch the empty calorie bun and sub in quinoa instead. It’s kind of like hamburger helper, only this version won’t wreak havoc on your waistline. Just make sure to pick a grass-fed beef, which is naturally leaner than its counterparts.
26. Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Kale
Serves: 4 to 6
Nutrition: 280 calories, 10.3 g fat (1.4 g saturated), 1019 mg sodium, 40.8 g carbs, 8.9 g fiber, 9.2 g sugar, 9 g protein
Prep it ahead, take it to work, freeze it . . . this soup is the jack of all trades. Beans and quinoa is a bone-warming combo for colder months, but light enough to be enjoyed in warmer weather, too.
27. Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies
Serves: 2 dozen
Nutrition: 188 calories, 7.6 g fat (1.4 g saturated), 71 mg sodium, 24.4 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 9.5 g sugar, 7 g protein
Believe it or not, you can actually lower your risk of developing diabetes by eating these cookies! Along with being delicious, peanut butter has been accredited with everything from lowering death risk, healthier muscles and nerves, and weight loss. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, lower the risk of developing diabetes by almost 30 percent. Here’s why: Peanut butter contains genistein, a compound that turns down obesity genes and reduces your body’s ability to store fat.
28. Quinoa Zucchini Boats
Nutrition: 292 calories, 10.6 g fat (4 g saturated), 166 mg sodium, 37.9 g carbs, 5.7 g fiber, 5.5 g sugar, 14 g protein (calculated with no salt added tomato sauce)
Looking for a guiltless, gluten-free pizza recipe? These zucchini boats have all the pizzazz of a pie, without the empty calories, sodium and fat. Plus, they’ve got 14 grams of filling, muscle-building protein that’ll keep your flat-belly goals on track.
29. Caribbean Salmon Quinoa Bowls
Nutrition: 475 calories, 4.7 g fat (<1 g saturated), 243 mg sodium, 85.3 g carbs, 15.5 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 25 g protein
By the time March rolls around, we all need a vacation. Transport your taste buds to the Caribbean with this salmon quinoa bowl. Wild salmon is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that fights off metabolism-slowing inflammation and breast cancer prognosis. Not to mention, it’s a great source of protein, a nutrient that increases post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35 percent!
30. Quinoa Cauliflower Chowder
Nutrition: 228 calories, 8.7 g fat (4.4 g saturated), 477 mg sodium, 28.4 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5.9 g sugar, 10 g protein
One bowl of chowder from Red Lobster contains 400 calories, 29 grams of fat and 1,290 milligrams of sodium. No, thanks! Whip up this instead and knockout 80 percent of daily vitamin C recommendations with just one serving!
31. Pine Nut Broccoli Quinoa
Nutrition: 182 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 30 mg sodium, 18.8 g carbs, 2.6 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 5.6 g protein
Although they’re often overlooked, “pine nuts are an excellent source of manganese, a powerful inhibitor of free radicals, [which cause damage to the body and can play a role in the development of cancer and aging],” says Angela Lemond, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They’re perfect tossed with any greens, sauteed on their own or added to quinoa bowls like this one!
h any greens like this wholesome dish.
32. Quinoa Apple Salad with Honey Lemon Mint Vinaigrette
Nutrition: 433 calories, 12 g fat (1.5 g saturated). 9 mg sodium, 69 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 12.6 g sugar, 13.2 g protein
The Honey Lemon Mint Vinaigrette on this salad does more than add flavor; it helps you burn calories. In fact, in 2003, researchers tested the influence of 14 different herbs and spices on the activities of digestive enzymes pancreases and small intestines of rats. They found that mint was one of the spices that enhanced these activities, more effectively turning food into energy. Although you’re not a rat, your digestive system functions similarly.
33. Quinoa Chocolate Bark
Nutrition: 162 calories, 10 g fat (5 g saturated), 1 mg sodium, 21 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 2 g protein
Do you usually bring some sort of treat to parties or family get-togethers?? With just two ingredients (which are both superfoods), it doesn’t get much cleaner than this chocolate bark. Translation: You won’t have to feel guilty about this one.
34. Asparagus Feta Quinoa Salad
Nutrition: 338 calories, 23.4 g fat (6.7 g saturated), 522 mg sodium, 23.3 g carbs, 2.7 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 8.7 g protein (calculated with no salt added diced tomatoes)
Boost the nutrition and flavor of your feta with amino-acid-boasting quinoa and asparagus. The green contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants, and it’s super low in calories.