Toppings for Quinoa


Enjoy quinoa for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Quinoa has a subtle, slightly earthy flavor that you can pair with many different toppings. Although lighter, with a crunchier texture than rice, quinoa can replace rice in almost any dish and cooks in about half the time. Quinoa comes in different colors: white, pink, orange, yellow and black, which has a slightly stronger flavor. Besides experimenting with flavors, you can also experiment with color combinations when topping quinoa.

Top of the Morning

  • For creamy breakfast quinoa, replace the water in your recipe with milk. Use low-fat dairy milk or almond, oat or soy milk, which give the quinoa a creamier texture. Top hot quinoa with the same sweeteners, nuts, fruits or spices that you would add to oatmeal. Add cold milk to the cooked quinoa to increase the creaminess, if desired. Pleasing combinations include cinnamon, raisins and honey, or almonds, apples and honey. Go simple with just one or two fruits, such as banana or berries. Or, top quinoa with yogurt and nuts.

Top This for Lunch

  • For lunch, make a quick quinoa bowl. Cook the quinoa ahead of time so you can reheat it in the microwave. Try a burrito bowl by heating orange or red quinoa and black beans seasoned with chili powder and garlic powder. Top with your favorite burrito additions, such as chopped lettuce and tomato, guacamole or sliced avocado, cheddar cheese and salsa. For an Italian-style bowl, heat quinoa and cannellini beans. Top with steamed Italian-blend frozen vegetables, warmed pasta sauce and basil or dried Italian seasoning.

Over the Top Salads

  • If you have quinoa in your refrigerator, top a plateful with any vegetables or other salad topping, such as boiled eggs or cooked chicken, you have available. Toss with vinaigrette. Or, steam fresh sugar snap peas and let them cool. Top a plate of cold quinoa with the peas, toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, olive oil and pepper. Add toasted pine nuts, grape tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice and salt to cold yellow quinoa. Make a fresh berry and quinoa salad with blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers and red onions. Finish with balsamic vinaigrette.

Top-Off-the Day Dinner Ideas

  • Make a simple side by sauteing scallions, minced garlic and parsley in olive oil. Toss on top of a bowl of freshly cooked white quinoa, and add salt and pepper. Or, simmer cannellini beans, kale and sliced red pepper in water for about four minutes. Add to warm quinoa with your favorite pesto. Combine quinoa and brown rice and top with sauteed fresh vegetables for a hearty main dish. Saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, and add cut fresh vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, broccoli or mushrooms; cook until tender. Add kale or spinach in the final minutes. Place the vegetables over the rice and quinoa and dress with a sauce, such as tahini, lemon juice, water, salt and crushed red pepper or a balsamic vinaigrette.

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