Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes: 25 Reasons to Love this Gluten-Free Grain


I was first introduced to quinoa when traveling in Chile many years ago.  We sampled three courses of the most amazing vegetarian cuisine while visiting a small rural village. It was an elaborate feast, but the star was a perfectly prepared quinoa timbale. We were traveling light, with little room for souvenirs, but I had to purchase a bag of that amazing whole grain. Little did I know it would pop up just a few years later as a gluten-free superstar in the Northern hemisphere. Today those little seeds are so popular that I have 20 dairy-free quinoa recipes to share! But first, we’ll start with a quick round-up of quinoa health benefits.

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also Gluten-Free!) + Quinoa Health Benefits

Quinoa Health Benefits

There have been some arguments against the healthfulness of grains by the paleo community. But quinoa is actually a “pseudo-grain” that’s more akin to beetroots and spinach than cereal grains. Here are some little known quinoa benefits that are worth noshing on.

Food Supply Good Guy – Quinoa has been identified as a high-nutrient food with impressive biodiversity, making it valuable for food security worldwide. At this time, quinoa is not a GM food, and it is grown mostly in South America and Canada. It’s available in equally nutritious white/golden, red, and black varieties (all pictured above).

Superfood Status – Antioxidants aren’t just for fruit. Quinoa has concentrated amounts of the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol that rival high-flavonoid berries.

Fat Fighter – The unique combination of antioxidants and other phytonutrients in quinoa seem to have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. This may be the reason why preliminary studies point toward quinoa as beneficial in inflammation-related problems, such as obesity.

Heart Healthy – Quinoa possesses more healthy fatty acids (monounsaturated and Omega-3) than cereal grains, such as wheat, yet it doesn’t oxidize as quickly as expected. This means that quinoa retains a significant amount of this beneficial fat when cooked.

Protein Powerhouse – Unlike most other vegetarian foods, quinoa is recognized as a complete protein with a full array of essential amino acids.

Bone Builder – Quinoa isn’t a superpower of calcium on its own, but it does provide more than most other grains. It’s also rich in magnesium, which works in synergy with calcium to help increase its absorption.

But how should you enjoy all of those wonderful health benefits? With these dairy-free quinoa recipes!

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes

All of these dairy-free quinoa recipes are gluten-free too! Most are also plant-based or have a vegan option.

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

When freshly cooked quinoa is blended, it becomes a little sticky and helps to bind little patties like these. Enjoy these quinoa bites as a snack or appetizer.

Cheesy Dairy-Free Quinoa Bites - plant-based, gluten-free, delicious, versatile, no fillers, and healthy!

Overnight Oats with Quinoa Crumble, Chocolate, and Coconut

Toasted quinoa adds nuttiness to this healthy topping. It’s also great on dairy-free yogurt parfaits.

Easy Overnight Oats with Quinoa Crumble, Chocolate, and Coconut (Dairy-free, Gluten-free Recipe; Vegan option)

Spring Quinoa Bowl with Healthy Hollandaise Sauce

Once cooked, quinoa is fluffy, has a slight nutty flavor, and is about 1/3 the size of a grain of rice. It’s a great base for meal bowls like this.

Spring Quinoa Bowl with Vegan Holandaise Sauce Recipe - Healthy, no oil, dairy-free, gluten-free and delicious!

Grapefruit Quinoa Breakfast with Blueberries

Quinoa might not be a cereal grain, technically speaking, but it still makes a fabulous hot breakfast cereal.

Quinoa Grapefruit Blueberry Breakfast

Quinoa Cocoa Molasses Crunch Granola

This crunchy granola is spiked with all kinds of healthy ingredients. It’s still a classic oat granola, but has several tasty and nutritious additions.

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also gluten-free!)

Quinoa Veggie Burgers

This innovative recipe blends ground quinoa with chickpeas for the perfect bite.

Quinoa Health Benefits + 20 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also gluten-free and vegan!)

Chilean Butternut Squash Quinoa with Arugula

This unique flavor combination includes blueberries and butternut squash for a naturally sweet and savory flavor.

Blueberry, Arugula and Butternut Squash Quinoa Recipe - dairy-free + vegan, gluten-free, healthy and great for lunch boxes, a light vegetarian meal or holiday side.

Sugar-Free Fudge Brownie Quinoa Cookies

Quinoa flour is beloved in many gluten-free recipes due to its fine grind and higher protein. It’s a natural fit for healthy sweets like this.

Sugar-Free Quinoa Fudge Cookies Recipe (gluten-free and dairy-free)

Thai Peanut Quinoa Bowls

This healthful meal has pescetarian and plant-based options.

Kickin’ Quinoa Salad with Aji Amarillo Dressing

This light and spicy recipe uses red quinoa, but you can use whatever color you have on hand.

Quinoa Salad with Aji Amarillo Dressing

Veggie Quiche with Quinoa Crust

Yes, the crust is made from quinoa! The filling is made with eggs. If you confuse eggs with dairy, you’re not alone. See this post: Are Eggs Dairy? If you need an egg alternative, see my Egg Substitute Guide.

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also Gluten-Free!) + Quinoa Health Benefits

Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

This complete meal is a really popular recipe for lunchboxes and potlucks.

Southwestern Bean & Quinoa Salad With Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Put down the rice and grab quinoa next time you want to stuff some peppers. It’s a tasty swap.

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also Gluten-Free!) + Quinoa Health Benefits

Pantry Quinoa 

This recipe can be served hot or cold and is made straight from pantry ingredients! It uses chicken, but you can swap in vegetable broth and your favorite vegan protein, if desired.

Quinoa Chicken Vegetable Salad

Chai Spice Apple Bread

If you don’t count quinoa as a grain, then this recipe is technically grain-free! Either way, it’s a beloved family recipe created by my friend Kim, who is a nutritionist.

Gluten-Free Chai Spice Apple Bread Recipe - also dairy-free, optionally nut-free

Butter-less Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

You can use another flour, but my friend Meghan likes to use quinoa flour in this healthy crumble recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Recipe - Butter-Less, Dairy-Free, Wholesome and Your Choice of Gluten-Free or Not!

Savory Vegan Stuffed Pumpkins

This is such a fun and impressive recipe for the holidays. It looks so elegant, but is quite easy.

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also Gluten-Free!) + Quinoa Health Benefits

Quinoa Sloppy Joes

This is a hefty but healthy vegan version of a classic American sandwich.

Vegan Quinoa Sloppy Joes Recipe

Tuna & Broccoli Quinoa Patties

These make such a great little meal for lunches or a light dinner.

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also Gluten-Free!) + Quinoa Health Benefits

Down-Home Drumstick Sheet Pan Dinner with Quinoa Blend

This easy sheet pan meal is served over a blend of quinoa and rice.

Easy Drumstick-Quinoa Sheet Pan Supper

Copycat True Foods Kitchen Ancient Grains Bowl

I haven’t had the privilege of visiting a True Foods restaurant, but definitely want to try this bowl recipe!

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also Gluten-Free!) + Quinoa Health Benefits

The Ultimate Superfood Salad

This greens and grains salad is loaded with 10 superfoods, including quinoa!

The Ultimate Superfood Salad Recipe - dairy-free, gluten-free and a vegan option

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

My friend Page really knows how to make delicious recipes with pure, simple, healthy foods, and this salad is no exception.

25 Dairy-Free Quinoa Recipes (also Gluten-Free!) + Quinoa Health Benefits

Instant Pot Italian Meatballs & Spaghetti

This ingenious recipe uses quinoa in the meatballs!

Instant Pot Italian Meatballs without Dairy, Eggs, Gluten & Breadcrumbs Recipe from An Allergy Mom's LIfesaving Instant Pot Cookbook (dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)

Buddha Bowls with Roasted Winter Vegetables

This is my kind of meal. Roasted vegetables and whole grains plus a flavorful sauce is the ultimate healthy comfort food.

Sheet Pan-Style Buddha Bowls

For More Healthy Dairy-Free Recipes, Get Eat Dairy Free!

Eat Dairy Free - Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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