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.
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.
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.
Toasted quinoa adds nuttiness to this healthy topping. It’s also great on dairy-free yogurt parfaits.
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.
Quinoa might not be a cereal grain, technically speaking, but it still makes a fabulous hot breakfast cereal.
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.
This innovative recipe blends ground quinoa with chickpeas for the perfect bite.
This unique flavor combination includes blueberries and butternut squash for a naturally sweet and savory flavor.
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.
This healthful meal has pescetarian and plant-based options.
This light and spicy recipe uses red quinoa, but you can use whatever color you have on hand.
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.
This complete meal is a really popular recipe for lunchboxes and potlucks.
Put down the rice and grab quinoa next time you want to stuff some peppers. It’s a tasty swap.
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.
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.
You can use another flour, but my friend Meghan likes to use quinoa flour in this healthy crumble recipe.
This is such a fun and impressive recipe for the holidays. It looks so elegant, but is quite easy.
This is a hefty but healthy vegan version of a classic American sandwich.
These make such a great little meal for lunches or a light dinner.
This easy sheet pan meal is served over a blend of quinoa and rice.
I haven’t had the privilege of visiting a True Foods restaurant, but definitely want to try this bowl recipe!
This greens and grains salad is loaded with 10 superfoods, including quinoa!
My friend Page really knows how to make delicious recipes with pure, simple, healthy foods, and this salad is no exception.
This ingenious recipe uses quinoa in the meatballs!
This is my kind of meal. Roasted vegetables and whole grains plus a flavorful sauce is the ultimate healthy comfort food.