Quinoa is a superfood that we all know and love and for good reason. The protein-rich grain is high in fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamin B2. It pairs perfectly with just about anything and can even help with bloating  and weight loss . We love mixing it with salads and in standard quinoa dishes, but there's a whole other realm of recipes that this supergrain takes to the next level. See some of the most unexpected (and delicious) uses of quinoa below.
Source: Jenny Sugar, Michele Foley, and Healthful Pursuit 
Puffed or Popped
One of the more surprising ways to eat quinoa is to puff up the healthy grain  — much like popcorn — which gives it a nuttier flavor. Once it is popped and prepared, you can eat it like a snack or use it to make breakfast bars like these no-bake cinnamon-raisin granola bars .
You can even buy quinoa prepopped, then top your favorite dishes with the protein-rich puffs .
If you want to shake up your granola game, then try swapping out standard oats for your favorite type of quinoa. A nutty and sweet granola recipe  with the grain is high in iron and cholesterol free.
Photo: Lizzie Fuhr
Quinoa is the perfect texture to substitute for rice in any recipe but especially in a sushi roll. If you're craving sushi but want to steer clear of starches and carbs, simply swap in this supergrain to make vegetarian California rolls .
As a Dessert Option
When you think quinoa, dessert is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind, but there are actually plenty of ways to add it in to a sweet and healthy treat. These strawberry bites  are filled with a mashed banana and quinoa mixture and topped with chopped raw almonds, so they're protein-rich, full of fiber, and flavorful.
Photo: Jenny Sugar
Quinoa Instead of Flour
While quinoa can't be used as a full substitute for all-purpose flour, it can be cooked, processed, and blended  in with flour or flour-free substitutes as a supplement. Dairy-free ginger cookies  are a protein-filled (and guilt-free) quinoa dessert option.
You can also add whole quinoa to existing flour to pump up the nutritional content, like with these quinoa pancakes .
Photo: Jenny Sugar
In a Smoothie
A lot of smoothie recipes call for the addition of protein powder to ramp up the drink, but if you mix in quinoa, you can skip the powder and still get this important nutrient. Blending the cooked grain in to smoothies  can also give them a subtle nutty flavor that balances out any sweet fruit the smoothie contains.
For blending raw quinoa, you'll need a higher-powered blender, but it's easily mixed in if you cook it up first.
Photo: Michele Foley
Start your day right with a dose of protein and amino acids in a savory overnight breakfast dish  or a cold quinoa cereal with berries . Quinoa can also be used just like oats and made into a hot porridge to start your day with.