This past summer, when I was developing no-bake cookies that were snackable and satisfying, I found myself perusing the grocery store for something to bind the peanut butter and sweet chocolate chunks together. While I love the usual rolled oats, I hoped for something new and interesting that also happened to be just as wholesome. What I found were quinoa flakes.
What are quinoa flakes, exactly? They're a gluten-free, high-protein whole grain that can do everything rolled oats can — and then some.
What Are Quinoa Flakes?
Quinoa flakes are essentially just pressed quinoa. Each little quinoa seed is rolled flat to make a flake, just like an oat groat is rolled out to make a rolled oat. That means quinoa flakes have all the same great properties of quinoa: gluten-free, high in plant-based protein, and full of good fiber.
How Quinoa Flakes Compare to Rolled Oats
Rolled oats contain a similar amount of protein in them as quinoa flakes — five grams versus six grams in a 1/2 cup of dry cereal — but the protein in quinoa flakes is more valuable. Quinoa flakes are a complete protein, which means they contain all the essential amino acids the body can't make on its own. These essential amino acids are used to provide energy, build and repair tissues in your body, and more. This rich form of protein is abundant in animal sources, but hard to come by in plant-based sources (quinoa is one of the few). The protein in oats is incomplete, meaning it contains only some of these essential amino acids.
Since quinoa flakes are flat, they mimic the texture of rolled oats. They also are incredibly quick-cooking because they're so small and thin. For both of these reasons, they can be cooked up into a great breakfast porridge.
Their size also makes them less distinguishable in baked goods than rolled oats, so they can be added to something like brownies for a protein boost without affecting texture. And of course, they can be used as a binder in treats like no-bake cookies. They can even be used in place of panko or breadcrumbs when breading chicken.
Where to Find Quinoa Flakes
Buy quinoa flakes online: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes, $12 at Amazon
Have you tried quinoa flakes? How do you like to use them?
This post has been updated with a correction on January 3, 2017.