6 Quinoa Dishes You Can Prepare In Under 20 Minutes

There’s a reason quinoa is favoured so highly by wellness enthusiasts. Besides being nutrient-rich and versatile, it is also easy to experiment with and can be prepped in very little time. You can use this grain as a base for several of your daily meals and can even prep them in advance and store them in the refrigerator. The process involves rinsing the quinoa, combining it with water or broth in a pot, and bringing it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the quinoa absorbs the liquid and becomes tender, usually around 15-20 minutes. 

Quinoa can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads and stir-fries to soups and pilafs, offering versatility in the kitchen. With its quick cooking time and ability to absorb flavours, quinoa is a convenient ingredient for both beginner and experienced cooks. If you’re looking for effortless and quick quinoa recipes, here are some which can be whipped up in 20 minutes!

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Mediterranean Vegetables

For this healthy recipe, you can start by cooking the quinoa according to the package instructions. While the quinoa is cooking, chop up a variety of Mediterranean vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, and red onion. Once the quinoa is cooked and cooled slightly, toss it with the chopped vegetables, canned chickpeas, crumbled feta cheese, fresh herbs (such as parsley or mint), and a simple dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Quinoa Upma

Quinoa upma can be a quick meal and can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can substitute semolina with quinoa to create a healthier version of this dish. Cooked with mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, and green chillies, quinoa upma is both flavorful and satisfying. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with coconut chutney for a delicious start to the day.

Quinoa and Vegetable Soup

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat and sauté diced onions, carrots, and celery until softened. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a simmer, then add cooked quinoa, diced tomatoes (canned or fresh), and a variety of chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, and green beans. Season with Italian herbs, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender, then serve hot with crusty bread.

Quinoa Khichdi

The comforting one-pot dish can easily be modified to make it healthier. Simply replace the rice with quinoa for a nutritious variation. Cooked with lentils, vegetables, and a blend of spices like cumin, turmeric, and garam masala, quinoa khichdi offers a hearty and wholesome meal. You can use yellow moong dal since it cooks faster and also complements quinoa.

Quinoa Tikki

Though this may take a tad longer than 20 minutes if you use more than five ingredients, you can prep in advance. This follows the recipe of a simple aloo tikki. For a healthier twist, replace the potatoes with cooked quinoa. Mix cooked quinoa with mashed chickpeas, finely chopped vegetables like carrots, peas, and bell peppers, and a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Form the mixture into small patties and shallow fry until golden brown and crispy. Serve quinoa tikkis with mint chutney or tamarind sauce 

Quinoa and Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Cook quinoa and season with a bit of salt and lime juice. If you want them soft, simply soak them in water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a can of black beans in a small saucepan over medium heat and season with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Assemble your burrito bowls by layering the cooked quinoa with the seasoned black beans, diced avocado, salsa, shredded cheese, and any other toppings you like, such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, or sliced jalapeños. Serve with lime wedges on the side for an extra burst of flavour.