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Best Substitute For Quinoa: 9 Superfood Ideas

Other whole grains like amaranth, bulgur, and buckwheat can substitute for quinoa without sacrificing nutritional value. The following text will provide you with further inspiration.

Quinoa is one of my staples, although not for everyone’s taste. So it’s important to me to employ healthy, novel ingredients in my culinary explorations.

If you can’t eat quinoa or want to try a new grain, you have options. My top nine are in this article.

9 Best Substitute For Quinoa featured image | Girl Meets Food

Quinoa: super nutritious grain

For millennia, Andean farmers have grown quinoa, a healthy grain-like crop from the quinoa plant. The Incas revered it as the “mother of all grains.”

Health-conscious people like quinoa because it’s high in protein, fiber, and minerals. A gluten-free and complete protein, it provides all nine important amino acids.

Some common varieties of quinoa are:

  • White quinoa: Mild, nutty, and the most popular kind. It makes salads and side dishes with a fluffy texture.
  • Red Quinoa: Firmer than white quinoa, it tastes earthy and nutty. It’s perfect for heartier soups and stews.
  • Black quinoa: Sweeter and earthier than white or red quinoa. It also stays firm in pilafs and grain bowls.
  • Tri-Color Quinoa: This combo of white, red, and black quinoa offers different flavors and textures. It makes salads and vegetable burgers colorful.
  • Purple Quinoa: This antioxidant-rich type has a sweet, nutty flavour. It enhances dishes with color and nutrients.

Like rice, quinoa works well in salads, soups, and stir-fries. As more individuals choose plant-based foods, its popularity has skyrocketed!

What’s the best substitute for quinoa?

3 types of quinoa grain in white small bowls | Girl Meets Food

Let’s explore some of the best substitutes for quinoa to discover your ultimate favorite. All are packed full of health benefits!

  • Amaranth

Gluten-free amaranth tastes quite similar to quinoa. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein like quinoa. Because of its rich iron, magnesium, and fiber content, amaranth is a healthy alternative to quinoa.

Amaranth can be used as a direct quinoa alternative in any dish calling for the grain. You can also use it to thicken sauces and stews.

These are some healthy amaranth substitutes to consider if you can’t get your hands on this super grain.

  • Brown rice

There’s a good reason why brown rice is a pantry staple. It’s flexible, affordable, and simple to manufacture. While it contains a variety of vitamins and minerals and is high in fiber, brown rice doesn’t compare to the protein content of quinoa or amaranth.

It’s versatile, too, working in both savory and sweet quinoa preparations.

Recently, I tried making a Mexican quinoa dish with brown rice instead of quinoa and found that the texture was somewhat different but the meal was still quite tasty. The rice made it taste nuttier and heartier.

  • Millet

African and Asian cuisine frequently uses gluten-free millet. This ancient grain like quinoa has a moderate, nutty taste and a texture like couscous.

Millet is also abundant in protein, fiber, and antioxidants, making it a good quinoa substitute. You can add it to salads, pilafs, and porridge.

  • Buckwheat

While it sounds like wheat, buckwheat is really a gluten-free alternative to quinoa. Protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium and copper are abundant. Its nutty flavor makes it an excellent rice replacement and a welcome addition to salads.

Substituting buckwheat for quinoa in my Mediterranean salad topped with feta dressing was a fantastic idea. The meal was much enhanced by the inclusion of the heartier texture and nutty taste.

If you can’t get buckwheat, there are several cool alternatives to buckwheat groats worth trying. Quinoa is one of them!

I’ve also covered buckwheat flour substitutes in one of my earlier posts, which might come in handy for your future recipes.

  • Cauliflower rice

Instead of quinoa, cooked and grated cauliflower is a terrific grain-free, keto substitute for quinoa. Its mild flavor can replace rice, quinoa, and even pasta.

Cauliflower rice is abundant in fiber, vitamins, and minerals yet low in calories and carbs. So it’s a great addition to a healthy diet and weight loss meal plans.

  • Farro

Farro is an excellent choice for a whole grain since it is high in fiber and protein. Nutrient-wise, it scores high marks throughout the board.

Its chewy texture and nutty flavor make it a perfect substitute for quinoa in soups, salads, and grain bowls.

  • Freekeh

Freekeh is a versatile grain in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It’s made by roasting green wheat.

It has a smokey flavor and the texture of barley. Freekeh is a great quinoa substitute for use in salads and pilafs.

  • Bulgur

Whole grain bulgur is a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Cracked wheat is cooked and then dried to make this product. It looks like couscous and has a nutty flavor.

Bulgur is a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and manganese. It can be used in place of quinoa in tabbouleh and stuffed peppers, for example.

I substituted bulgur for quinoa in a recent batch of broccoli lemon soup and was delighted with the result. The chewier texture and nutty flavor that the bulgur brought to the soup were welcome additions.

  • Quorn

A non-grain alternative like Quorn is made from mycoproteins. The protein, fiber, and minerals are all there, and it looks and tastes like chicken or beef.

Substituting Quorn for quinoa in meals like stir-fries, curries, and casseroles can spice things up.

How to make a swap for quinoa?

A bowl of cooked quinoa and a bowl of vegetables stand on a wooden board | Girl Meets Food

Just follow a few simple steps to make a swap for quinoa:

  1. Figure out what you’re allergic to and what you like most in a quinoa alternative.

  2. Prepare the grain by following the package’s cooking instructions or a recipe found online.

  3. Use it in place of quinoa in salads, stir-fries, and casseroles, among other meals.

  4. Enjoy!

Substitute for quinoa FAQs

How many calories are in quinoa?

One cup of cooked quinoa (185g) provides 222 calories.

How many grams of protein and fiber are in a cup of quinoa?

One cup of quinoa has around 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

What’s the best quinoa flour substitution?

One of the best quinoa flour substitutions is almond flour.

Which quinoa substitutes are gluten-free options?

Millet, buckwheat, cauliflower rice, farro, freekeh and bulgur are all gluten-free alternatives to quinoa.

Can I substitute quinoa for rice?

Yes, you can substitute quinoa for rice. Just make sure that you adjust the cooking time accordingly.

What’s the best substitute for quinoa flakes?

Rolled oats are an excellent quinoa flake substitute. They’re healthy and widely available.

BOTTOM LINE: These grains similar to quinoa, from amaranth to cauliflower rice, are healthy, tasty, and quick to make. So try different options and find which ones you prefer. You may find a new ingredient you can’t live without!

I hope you’ve found a suitable replacement for your favorite quinoa dishes. Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you need more inspiration, why not check out these chickpea substitute ideas and alternatives to cashews