14 Substitutes for Quinoa Flakes [Low-Carb & More]

As a nutritionist, I constantly search for healthy breakfast options.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love pancakes, but when I find ways to incorporate healthy ingredients in them, I’ll definitely enjoy them more.

My quest has led me to the delicious world of quinoa flakes. These flattened gluten-free quinoa grains have been a part of my breakfast ever since.

That’s why I’m always out. If you’re anything like me, quinoa flake substitutes are necessary to satisfy all our healthy cravings.

The best overall substitute for quinoa flakes is oats. Other great substitutes for breakfast include cooked barley, chia seeds, and buckwheat. If you’re looking for low-carb substitutes, try roasted cauliflower, roasted vegetables, or roasted nuts.

Cooking substitutes include cooked rice, cooked couscous, cooked chickpeas, cooked whole quinoa, and breadcrumbs. Finally, for a baking substitute, you can use ground flax or quinoa flour.

In this article, we will look into the different substitutions of quinoa flakes based on the needed applications.

We will also dive into how you can cook quinoa flakes at home. In addition, we will address some commonly asked questions pertaining to it.

Substitutes for Quinoa Flakes

1. Oats

Quinoa flakes are commonly compared to oats. That’s why they are by far the best substitute, especially for breakfast items such as porridge or pancakes.

Oats are great for adding bulkiness to breakfast and baked items, making them chewier.

On the other hand, quinoa flakes add moisture and lightness, making the food lighter and fluffier.

In addition to their smoother texture, quinoa flakes have a milder flavor allowing you to jazz up your breakfast item however you please.

The flat shape of quinoa flakes mimics the texture of rolled oats. They are also smaller in size.

This substitution can be used in almost every recipe. You need to replace quinoa flakes with equal amounts of oats.

Though both are naturally gluten-free, oats are more often produced in manufacturing facilities that also process wheat, thus making them more susceptible to cross-contamination than quinoa flakes.

Nutritional Information on raw oats (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 379kcal
  • Total Fat: 6.52g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 67.7g
    • Dietary Fiber: 10.1g
    • Total Sugars: 0.99g
  • Protein: 13.2g

2. Cooked Barley

Another healthy breakfast ingredient is barley. What makes it better is that it can substitute quinoa flakes when needed.

Barley is a cereal grain with high starch content. Once it is cooked, these starches become sugars, making for a sweeter and easier-to-digest ingredient.

Cooked barley is used by many as a substitute for quinoa flakes in breakfast items. Though barley grains are much larger than quinoa flakes, they give a unique texture and flavor.

You need to replace quinoa flakes with equal amounts of barley. However, the two have different cooking times and liquid absorption capabilities, so consider that in this substitution.

Cooked Barley

Nutritional Information of Cooked Barley (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 123kcal
  • Total Fat: 0.44g
  • Sodium: 3mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 28.2g
    • Dietary Fiber: 3.8g
    • Total Sugars: 0.28g
  • Protein: 2.26g

3. Chia seeds

You’re probably used to seeing chia seeds in many porridge recipes. Though it can be added to quinoa flakes porridge, it can also be eaten without the flakes.

Chia seeds are oval and gray edible seeds known for being full of nutrients and high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds can easily be prepared for breakfast, similar to overnight quinoa flakes.

Before going to bed, pour chia seeds into a jar and add milk of your choice when you wake up the following day; heat this mixture up in a saucepan and add toppings.

You can use quinoa flakes and chia seeds interchangeably in a 1:1 ratio for this substitution.

However, if you find that your recipe is lacking or has excess chia seeds, adjust accordingly.

Nutritional Information of Chia seeds (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 534kcal
  • Total Fat: 42.2g
  • Sodium: 30mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 28.9g
    • Dietary Fiber: 27.3g
    • Total Sugars: 1.55g
  • Protein: 18.3g

4. Buckwheat

Though not as popular as oats and quinoa flakes, buckwheat can be used to make many breakfast items, such as breakfast bowls or porridge.

Buckwheat comes from a plant and is cultivated for its grain-like seeds.

However, don’t let the wheat portion of the name fool you; it is not really related to wheat. That means it is gluten-free, like quinoa flakes.

For this substitution, it’s best to experiment with the quantity you use. For example, you can try replacing it with a 1:1 ratio and then adjusting it if you feel necessary.

Nutritional Information of Buckwheat (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 343kcal
  • Total Fat: 3.4g
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 71.5g
    • Dietary Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 13.2g

5. Roasted Cauliflower

I know what you’re thinking. Cauliflower?! But trust me, if you want an excellent low-carb alternative to quinoa flakes, roasting cauliflower will do.

A cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is currently trending and replacing many traditional food items. This is mainly due to it being naturally high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

When substituting quinoa flakes with roasted cauliflower, there is no specific ratio to follow.

It depends on what you are making and the portion size. This substitute works great in salads.

Roasted Cauliflower

Nutritional Information of cauliflower (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 26kcal
  • Total Fat: 0.29g
  • Sodium: 31mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 5.18g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2.1g
    • Total Sugars: 1.99g
  • Protein: 2g

6. Roasted Vegetables

Yes, yes, this substitute also includes vegetables. If cauliflower isn’t for you, zucchini, broccoli, and eggplants could be great low-carb substitutes for quinoa flakes.

Roasting vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, and eggplants includes cooking them on the oven’s dry heat, allowing their natural sugars to heat up and thus giving sweet, toasty, and nutty flavors to the dish.

This substitute adds more flavors than quinoa flakes. However, just like the cauliflower substitute, there is no exact ratio you should go by.

Roasted Vegetables

Nutritional Information of eggplant (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 27kcal
  • Total Fat: 0.19g
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 6.32g
    • Dietary Fiber: 3.2g
    • Total Sugars: 3.8g
  • Protein: 1.05g

7. Roasted Nuts

Nuts are low in carbohydrates but are rich in calories. They serve as good substitutes for quinoa flakes.

Different nuts have different nutritional components. However, suitable quinoa flakes substitutes include roasted nuts like walnuts, pistachios, and almonds.

However, keep in mind that they will provide a different texture than quinoa flakes.

You can either buy the nuts roasted or roast them at home. To bake them, place the nuts spread out on a baking sheet and place them in an oven previously preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake them at this temperature for 5 minutes for soft nuts and 7 to 8 minutes for almonds and walnuts.

Add as many nuts as you find suitable or follow a recipe. This substitute is higher in carbs than roasted vegetables and roasted cauliflower; however, the carbs depend on the type of nuts you use.

Roasted Nuts

Nutritional Information of almonds (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 607kcal
  • Total Fat: 54g
  • Sodium: 3mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 20.4g
    • Dietary Fiber: 10.6g
    • Total Sugars: 4.71g
  • Protein: 20.3g
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 15 oz can of rinsed chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Chop the shallots and garlic in a food processor
  • Add the chickpeas and quinoa flakes and pulse the food processor until a little chunky
  • Add the rest of the ingredients without the water
  • Process till dough begins to form
  • Add water to the food processor
  • Let the dough come together
  • Place bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
  • Separate mixture into 8 patties
  • Bake for 20 minutes while flipping halfway through

8. Cooked Rice

Cooked rice, specifically brown rice, is an excellent substitute for quinoa flakes in recipes.

White rice is one of the easiest substitutes for cooked quinoa flakes; however, brown rice resembles quinoa flakes’ flavor and nutritional benefits.

You can cook the rice whichever way you’d like by using a stovetop, microwave, or rice cooker.

It is important to mention that rice absorbs liquids differently than quinoa flakes. In addition, the cooking time defers.

For this substitute, cook the rice well, about 10 minutes if white. Then you can use it in the recipe as per the quinoa.

Cooked Rice with Meat and Veggies

Nutritional Information of cooked white rice (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 129kcal
  • Total Fat: 0.28g
  • Sodium: 245mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 28g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0.4g
    • Total Sugars: 0.05g
  • Protein: 2.67g

9. Cooked Chickpeas

A great gluten-free ingredient is chickpeas. When cooked, it serves as an ideal substitute for quinoa flakes, especially in veggie patties.

Chickpeas grow in pods and are small beans. From a nutritional standpoint, cooked chickpea has the same protein and fiber as quinoa flakes.

The advantage of this alternative is that chickpeas are cheap and easy to prepare.

Chickpeas are much larger than quinoa flakes, but if used in ratios according to the recipe you are using, it is a healthy and suitable substitute.

Cooked Chickpeas

Nutritional Information of cooked chickpeas (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 164kcal
  • Total Fat: 2.59g
  • Sodium: 7mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 27.4g
    • Dietary Fiber: 7.6g
    • Total Sugars: 4.8g
  • Protein: 8.86g

10. Cooked Couscous

If you want a substitute that looks like quinoa flakes, couscous is the best choice. However, it is not the healthiest of the substitutes.

Couscous is made by combining semolina flour with water. It is then boiled, giving it its light and fluffy texture. It has a milder yet similar taste to quinoa flakes.

The cooking time for couscous will defer from that of quinoa flakes, so substitute in cooked couscous around the cooking stage of the recipe.

This is another substitution in which the ratios depend on the recipe.

Cooked Couscous with Meat and Veggies

Nutritional Information on cooked couscous (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 112kcal
  • Total Fat: 0.16g
  • Sodium: 5mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 23.2g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1.4g
    • Total Sugars: 0.1g
  • Protein: 3.79g

11. Cooked Whole Quinoa

This one’s a bit obvious but worth mentioning. You can use cooked whole quinoa in place of quinoa flakes.

Quinoa and quinoa flakes differ in the way they are processed. Quinoa is the whole seed, while its flakes have been produced using a machine.

For this substitute, you can use either quinoa or quinoa flakes interchangeably.

Cooked Whole Quinoa

Nutritional Information on cooked quinoa (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 120kcal
  • Total Fat: 1.92g
  • Sodium: 7mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 21.3g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2.8g
    • Total Sugars: 0.87g
  • Protein: 4.4g

12. Breadcrumbs

Quinoa flakes are used in some recipes to make a gluten-free crispy coating. If you don’t have an issue with gluten, you could substitute for breadcrumbs instead.

Breadcrumbs are a great way to reinvent the few slices of bread that you no longer want to eat.

If you want to make a crispy coating, you can use breadcrumbs in place of quinoa flakes. Simply use as much as needed to coat the chicken pieces or tofu cubes.

Nutritional Information of plain breadcrumbs, DeLallo (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 387kcal
  • Total Fat: 4.84g
  • Sodium: 806mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 71g
    • Dietary Fiber: 3.2g
    • Total Sugars: 6.45g
  • Protein: 12.9g

13. Ground Flax

Other than some of the substitutes mentioned above, like oats and chia seeds that work well in baked goods, ground flax can also be integrated into recipes in place of quinoa flakes.

This ground flax seed substitute is particularly remarkable in cookies. Ground flax will give the cookies, or other baked goods, a bit of flavor with a slightly grittier texture.

For this substitute, you can use quinoa flakes and ground flax interchangeably in a 1:1 ratio.

Nutritional Information of ground flax (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 500kcal
  • Total Fat: 33.3g
  • Sodium: 33mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 33.3g
    • Dietary Fiber: 26.7g
    • Total Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 20g

14. Quinoa Flour

Quinoa flour is commonly used in baked goods for its gluten-free properties. As it also comes from quinoa seeds, quinoa flour can be a substitute for quinoa flakes.

Quinoa flour is made from grinding quinoa seeds till a very fine consistency is achieved.

It is often used as a gluten-free wheat flour substitute (in a 1:1 ratio) and is incorporated in many baking recipes, from desserts to bread. It could even be added to stews and soups as a thickening agent.

Nutritional Information of quinoa flour (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 375kcal
  • Total Fat: 5.36g
  • Sodium: 12mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 67.9g
    • Dietary Fiber: 7.1g
    • Total Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 13.2g

About Quinoa Flakes

Quinoa flakes are flattened grains of quinoa. Each seed is rolled flat, similar to how oat groat is rolled out to produce rolled oat.

This means that quinoa flakes have the same excellent properties as quinoa; they are full of fiber, gluten-free, and have a good amount of plant-based protein.

Quinoa flakes have the same flavor as whole-grain quinoa, a mild, slightly nutty flavor that can be a bit bitter. However, when toasted, they become sweeter.

Thanks to their versatile uses, you can get as creative as you want with quinoa flakes. They can be consumed raw or as an ingredient in recipes.

Great Options for Healthy Breakfast

Despite costing a bit more than oatmeal, they are great for breakfast items, such as porridge, breakfast cookies, pancakes, and overnight quinoa.

Also, the fact that they can be cooked in under 90 seconds makes them great for mornings before work. In breakfast cookies, quinoa flakes give a light and fluffy texture with a great taste. 

They are also used to make granola bars, fruit crisps and crumbles, muffins, and other baked goods.

In addition, quinoa flakes are great for making veggie burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, and soups. 

I love sprinkling quinoa flakes into as many recipes as I can; however, they can be tricky to find in stores.

You’ll face the same issue if you live in an area without many grocery stores or natural health markets.

Your best option is looking in the cereal, baking, or gluten-free aisle in large supermarkets such as Whole Foods.

In addition to supermarkets, you can find quinoa flakes online, such as on Amazon.

As I was fangirling about quinoa flakes earlier, I mentioned that it was one of my favorite healthy ingredients. It helps me reach my daily fibers goal.

Nutritional Information of Quinoa flakes (serving of 100g):

  • Calories: 364kcal
  • Total Fat: 5.45g
  • Sodium: 14mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 68.2g
    • Dietary Fiber: 6.8g
    • Total Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 13.2g
quinoa flakes porridge

Healthy Quinoa Flake Porridge Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Quinoa flakes’ flakiness gives a very silky-smooth porridge. In addition, quinoa flake porridge is creamy and gluten-free. The trick with getting the perfect quinoa flake porridge is not to overcook it.


  • Half a cup of quinoa flakes
  • A pinch cinnamon
  • Half a cup of any kind of milk
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
  • Maple syrup to serve
  • Toppings to garnish


  1. In a saucepan, place the quinoa flakes, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, milk, and water.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook over a moderate heat on the stove while stirring gently.
  4. Reduce the heat if it starts overbubbling after 2 minutes. Don’t cook for longer than 3 minutes.
  5. Serve the porridge and drizzle maple syrup and toppings

How To Make Homemade Quinoa Flakes

Quinoa is the whole seed from which quinoa flakes are made. It is less expensive to make the flakes at home than to buy them at the store.

According to eHow, this is how you could turn your quinoa into flakes:

  1. Rinse quinoa under cold running water for around 20 to 30 seconds (most sold in the U.S. are already rinsed, but you can still rinse them as a precaution)
  2. Line a baking tray with brown paper
  3. Spread the quinoa on the tray in a single layer
  4. Allow grains to dry for several hours while stirring regularly (do not mill if quinoa is still damp to the touch)
  5. Attach grain flaker as directed by the manufacturer
  6. Fill the hopper with the dried quinoa
  7. Put a bowl under the output chute (if there is no compartment for catching the flakes)
  8. Depending on your flaker, either crank it by hand or start the motor

How to Properly Cook Quinoa Flakes

While whole grain quinoa needs a while to cook, quinoa flakes need almost no time, like instant oatmeal. There are several ways to cook flakes.

Method 1:

The ratio of quinoa flakes to water should be 1:3. You can adjust the water according to your preferred texture; the more the water, the thinner the cereal.

  • Let water or milk boil in a pot
  • Add quinoa flakes
  • Let it sit for 1-2 minutes
  • Stir well
  • Enjoy

Method 2:

You’ll need a microwave for this one.

  • Grab a microwave-safe bowl that is twice the size of the volume of liquid
  • Mix cereal and liquid in it
  • Cook on high for two minutes for one serving or till cereal thickens
  • Enjoy

Do I Need to Soak Quinoa Flakes?

Some commercially made quinoa flakes go through a washing process. This could eliminate the saponin, which is bitter tasting before they are steamrolled.

That is why they don’t need to be soaked. However, not all brands do this, so you might want to check.

Can I Make Quinoa Flakes at Home?

Yes, you can. However, it won’t be precisely like ready-made quinoa flakes bought online or in natural stores.

Final Thoughts

Quinoa flakes are flattened grains of quinoa that are used in breakfast recipes, cooking, and baking. Several substitutes can be used instead of quinoa flakes if you run out.

For low-carb substitutes, you can try using roasted cauliflower, roasted vegetables, or roasted nuts.

Cooking substitutes include cooked rice, cooked couscous, cooked chickpeas, cooked whole quinoa, and breadcrumbs. For baking substitutes, you can use ground flax or quinoa flour.

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