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Don’t Throw Out Leftover Quinoa! Turn It Into a Creamy, High-Protein Breakfast Smoothie

It's not mealy — we promise!


It’s hard to think of quinoa as anything but savory. I love piling it on salad with cucumber, tomato, and feta, or eating it for dinner alongside roasted veggies. And I always make extra (cooking a few things in bulk saves so much time), even though I can’t always eat it all. Fortunately, I recently discovered a sweet quinoa smoothie recipe that puts my leftover quinoa to good use, and it’s a game changer.

Before you get grossed out by the possibility of a smoothie with quinoa’s mealy, lumpy texture, hear me out: I tried it, and it’s actually smooth and creamy. It does need a little extra blending, but that’s the only real distinction.

The Benefits of Adding Quinoa to Your Smoothie

Quinoa is similar to grains in terms of its cooking process and how it is served. (Typically, you boil quinoa and serve it like a side of fluffy rice, though some people pop theirs like popcorn on the stovetop.) However, it’s technically a tiny seed, which makes a big difference in terms of nutrition. One cup of cooked quinoa contains:

In addition, adding quinoa to a smoothie will ramp up your daily protein, fiber, and complex carb intake, and keep you full longer.

2 Easy Quinoa Smoothie Recipes

Since quinoa imparts very little flavor, it’s an easy toss-in for plenty of smoothie recipes. My tip: No matter what you try, pair quinoa with a creamy, healthy fat, like avocado or Greek yogurt — it helps eliminate any grainy texture. Here are two recipes to get you started.

Green Power Smoothie

green power smoothie in a clear glass with a bag of Ancient Harvest quinoa behind it
courtesy of Ancient Harvest

(Courtesy of Ancient Harvest, using Ancient Harvest US-Grown Quinoa)


  • 1 cup coconut water (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
  • Handful of kale
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • Honey to taste
  • 3 to 5 ice cubes

Instructions: Toss ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth.

Energy-Boosting Berry Smoothie

berry smoothie using quinoa, chia seeds, and blueberries
Anna Shepulova/Shutterstock

(I tried this one myself and loved the sweet, creamy flavor!)


  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen berries (your choice)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • Honey to taste
  • 2 to 4 ice cubes

Instructions: Toss ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth.

And there you have it. Here’s to keeping your energy up all morning long!

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