Garlic Parmesan Quinoa Recipe

If you love the idea of cheesy quinoa, you have to give this garlic parmesan quinoa a try.

This is a wonderful summertime picnic or family gathering dish. Take it to potlucks or even a company party, and I think you’ll find that most people really enjoy it.

A vertical view of a black crock holding a serving of Garlic Parmesan Quinoa and garnished with fresh basil leaves.

If you’ve never had quinoa before, I highly recommend it. It’s technically a seed, not a grain. But we treat it like a grain because it gets cooked like most grains. It also happens to have all nine essential amino acids. So just like meat, it’s a complete protein. Not bad for a tiny little seed!

What Does Quinoa Taste Like?

Quinoa has a unique flavor that is a bit earthy, as millet would be. But if prepared properly, it’s very mild, like rice.

What Can I Add To Quinoa To Make It Taste Good?

The answer to this has two parts.

  1. Before you cook your quinoa, you must always rinse it well. This will remove all of the bitter flavors that you get if you don’t rinse it. So the main way to make quinoa taste good happens before you ever cook it.
  2. Once cooked, you have to season it like you would any other grain. For some people, you’ll want to season it a little heavier than you would rice.

How Do You Rinse Quinoa?

Measure how much quinoa you want, and put it into a fine mesh sieve. Run it under cold running water. You will see that if foams a bit. Rinse all of that off until the water runs clear. Move the quinoa around in the sieve with your fingers to make sure you rinse all of it.

How Much Quinoa Per Person?

For cooked quinoa, about 1 cup per person will do. It may be a little less or a little more for some people, but 1 cup is about average.

What Can I Add To Quinoa After It’s Cooked?

Anything you want! Like rice, it’s very versatile. But here are some ideas:

  • Fresh parsley or other fresh herbs
  • Black pepper
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Fruit
  • Cheese

What Goes Well With Quinoa?

As a side dish, you can serve this with any meat or vegetable. Flavor it according to what you are serving it with. In the case of this recipe, good choices would be chicken, fish, pork, steak, and any vegetables you want to have as a side.

Recipe Tip

Don’t add any salt during cooking. Wait until the whole recipe is made. The parmesan cheese adds lots of salty flavors, so taste it before adding salt.

A horizontal view of a black crock filled with Garlic Parmesan Quinoa.

About Garlic Parmesan Quinoa Ingredients

Uncooked quinoa – Rinsed well under running water.

Low-sodium chicken broth – No sugar added.

Garlic granules – Or garlic powder.

Grated parmesan cheese – The real stuff. Avoid things like Kraft parmesan. It won’t melt properly.

Cherry tomatoes – You can also use grape tomatoes. Cut any small tomato you use in half.

Fresh basil

How To Make Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

Follow the package directions to cook the quinoa, but substitute the water with chicken broth.

When done, fluff with a fork and allow to cool enough so the cheese won’t melt when you add it.

Stir in the garlic powder and parmesan cheese.

Add the tomatoes and fresh basil.

Stir well and serve.

Storing Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezing Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

Freezing is not recommended for this recipe.

Reheating Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

Reheat this in a microwave or in the oven in an oven-safe dish.

More Healthy Quinoa Recipes


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Clean Eating Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

Garlic Parmesan Quinoa Recipe

A deliciouis side dish or vegetarian main course.
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Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 198kcal


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed well)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic granules (or garlic powder)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ lb. cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes, halved)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil


  • Follow the package directions to cook the quinoa, but substitute the water with chicken broth.
  • When done, fluff with a fork and allow to cool enough so the cheese won't melt when you add it.
  • Stir in the garlic powder and parmesan cheese.
  • Add the tomatoes and fresh basil.
  • Stir well and serve.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 359mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 386IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 2mg

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  1. this sounds amazing, did you use a certain type of quiona?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Colleen – No, just the regular stuff I get at Costco.

  2. Do u think i can substitute Quinoa with millet? I’m fresh out of quinoa. Thanks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Yamir – Sure. It’ll taste different, but it should still be tasty.

  3. Quinoa is so expensive in the only store in the rural area where I live. Is there any place to get it that is less expensive. It is $14.99 for a small bag. I would really appreciate the input. I would like to try some recipes using quinoa. Looks yummy. Thanks.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Valerie – Have you checked

  4. Valerie, is there a Big Lots near you? I’ve been finding various Bob’s Red Mill brand items there–dried beans, dried bean soup mixes, gluten-free pancake and muffin mixes, flax seed and even quinoa for about $5.50-$7.50 a pound bag.

  5. Oh my goodness, this recipe sounds delish! I just put my box of quinoa on the counter to remind me to make it tomorrow. I have been in a rut coming up with appealing side dishes, and the parmesan quinoa will do the trick. Thanks, Tiffany!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jacqui – My pleasure! Let me know how you like it.

  6. I buy my quinoa from bulk bin at Earthfare $3.99 a lb

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Freedom – Awesome deal!

  7. Made this as a side last night for dinner and it was a fantastic. I didn’t have cherry tomatoes on hand but the dish was still delicious. Nice way to give some oomph to the same, plain quinoa we eat a lot of. Thanks for the recipe, Tiffany!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Crystal – My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Anne Hachey says:

    Is there a clean eating substitute for quick cooking rolled oats to be used in cooking not baking? I make a meatloaf that calls for quick cooking rolled oats but since switching to more of clean eating,just got curious if there was a better alternative. Thanks Anne

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Anne – Steel cut oats are the default clean eating oats. But that being said, if quick oats are the worst you are doing in your eating plan, I think you can still sleep pretty soundly at night. I still use them myself. Plus, I’m not sure steel cut would work very well in meatloaf, although you could certainly give traditional oats a try. Probably your best bet if you want to avoid the quick oats.

  9. are you supposed to eat this warm or cold? it sounds amazing either way.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Valarie – You could go either way, but I prefer it warm.

  10. Alissa Price says:

    I made this recipe last week! It was my first time cooking with (or even eating) quinoa! I added some shredded, organic chicken. It was delicious and a great recipe to be introduced to quinoa.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alissa – Fantastic! So glad you enjoyed it! Quinoa is amazing stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Hi Gracious Pantry! I found many wonderful recipes from your site! I thank you so much! I did have a question regarding what your definition of clean eating is. I am very new to the idea and I love every minute of it (almost) ๐Ÿ™‚ Although I am new, there were a few things I do recall as important aspects to eating clean. We want to stay away from processed foods, and although cheese came from milk, it is considered processed. Is the case? There are tons of recipes that include cheese that I haven’t been able to make because cheese is a no-no for clean eaters. It has extra fats and preservatives which are also a big no-no. Any advice?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kathryn – That all depends on what type of cheese you buy. I do eat cheese and it’s perfectly fine. But I buy the full fat, organic block of cheese. Of course, you want to eat it in moderation, but it’s not “off the list” just because it’s cheese. You’ll find that with a lot of ingredients. You just have to look for the clean versions. Hope that helps.

  12. Hi Tiffany!
    Tana from Germany here. I have posted a few times but have another question for you. Are there different types of quinoa? I only found the one kind here and tried it out today with this recipe. It said to cook/boil it for 20min and then let it set for 5 minutes. It didn’t make near the six cups like the recipe says. Could I be doing something wrong or is there another type of quinoa?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tana – Yes, I believe there are a few different kinds. Usually you can tell the difference by the color though. I think there is a black and a red if I’m remembering correctly. Not positive though. It is possible, however, that there are many differences between here and there when it comes to cooking. Altitude, measurements, ingredients… a lot can change between countries. I remember when I lived in Germany and first started cooking, everything I made turned out just awful. Still to this day, I’m not sure what the main differences are. I would just follow the package directions on your box or bag and go from there. You can always make extra if you need to. Really wish I could be more help! ๐Ÿ™