When it comes to plant-based protein, quinoa is a powerhouse source. But making the same ol’ grain bowl or stir fry dish can get old—fast. And sometimes, like when you take a spin class after work and get home starving, 15 minutes just seems like too long to wait for dinner.
Fortunately, forward-thinking healthy food brands are finding new ways to use the grain. Rounded up here are five products to reinvent mealtime. Get ready to be obsessed.
Scroll down to see 5 buzzy quinoa products out now.
If you’re vegan, getting enough protein in the morning can be a challenge: With bacon and eggs off the table, the struggle is real. (There’s only so much peanut-butter nutrition bars a girl can eat.) But with these quinoa-based powders, all you have to do is stir it in your go-to alt-milk, coconut water, or regular tap and you’re good to go.
Since the blends are mixed with fruits like mango, banana, and raspberry, you’re still getting a hint of sweetness without any added sugar. And as a bonus, the company donates 2 percent of sales to sponsor children through the non-profit Compassion, so you can feel extra good as you sip your smoothie on the way to work.
Not a smoothie person? This quinoa hot cereal gives you something yummy to curl up with while packing 10 grams of protein per cup—and only 2 grams of sugar. (A touch of lucuma fruit is added for sweetness.) As you can imagine, the consistency is grainer than oatmeal—AKA crunchier—but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying. It’s also gluten-free and non-GMO.
Pro tip: Top it off with your favorite fruit to make the flavor and texture more complex and delish.
Anyone trying to live a gluten-free life knows that not all alternative pastas are created equal. Whether the problem is that it tastes funky or just doesn’t make you feel great, it’s hard to find the perfect substitute. Recently, quinoa pasta has been on the rise and one of the leading brands is Andean Dream, which sells other quinoa-based foods like cookies and soup.
Their quinoa pasta line has spaghetti, orzo, shells, macaroni, and fusilli—all with 6 grams of protein per serving. Let all-you-can-eat pasta nights commence.
This just-out product is a mealtime game-changer. All you do is put the quinoa in a bowl, stick it in the microwave for 90 seconds, and voila! Dinner is served. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the packets are rounded out with other good-for-you ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, and anti-inflammatory spices.
Ancient Harvest does also offer up a plain version, flavored solely with sea salt, in case you want to incorporate the quinoa into something else you’re making, like a big salad. Either way, this time-saver is a meal-prepping win.
Maybe you don’t want quinoa to be the main event of your meal and you’d rather have it as an add-on. Carrington Farms just released a ready-to-eat puffy quinoa topper that’s perfect for sprinkling on your salad, oatmeal, yogurt, and beyond—anything you want to add a healthy crunch to. Try baking with it to add a little texture and protein to your muffins and cookies. Sometimes, all you need is a sneaky, secret ingredient to really take a recipe up a notch.
While you’re out stocking up on quinoa, be sure you’re not making one of these food shopping mistakes even healthy people commit. And this is what it’s like to hit up Trader Joe’s with a registered dietitian.