Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Quinoa has been hailed as the perfect grain.

High in protein and fiber, and low on the glycemic index, this once-obscure grain found only in a few health stores is now on grocery shelves nation-wide. It’s even popping up on restaurant menus, as an alternative to the standard “Rice or Potatoes” side dish choices.

But many people are unsure how to cook quinoa. It’s not something they grew up eating, and grandmom’s old recipe file doesn’t offer a clue.

So to help you get started, here are 10 easy quinoa recipes your family will love.

10. Triple Smoked Quinoa Pilaf

Smokey paprika, sun-dried tomatoes and smoked tofu come together to create a pilaf unlike anything you’ve had. This is a hearty, healthy dish that stand on it’s own, or work as a side dish with grilled vegetables or a bar-b-que supper.

9. Quinoa, Corn and Bean Salad

Yes, it’s a vegan recipe. But with the beans and corn, plus garlic, chipotle powder and red wine vinegar, this quinoa dish is anything but bland. Your family will never guess how healthy it really is.

8. Quinoa with Black Bean, Corn and Avocado

Red quinoa, black beans and cool avocado combine with lime juice and cilantro to make this Latin-style quinoa into the perfect side dish for a hot summer day. Take it on a picnic, or serve it with crisp salads on the patio.

7. Quinoa Waldorf Chicken Salad

Think a classic Waldorf Salad, updated with dried cranberries. Add the nutty flavor of quinoa, and toss it with a maple and apple dressing. Need I say more? This is one quinoa recipe you’ll want to make again and again.

6. Quinoa, Parsley and Pepper Salad

Imagine opening your lunch box to find a crunchy, fresh salad loaded with the vibrant flavors of parsley, chili peppers, sweet red peppers, green peppers and quinoa, all tossed in a lemon-soy dressing. This easy to assemble salad is perfect for lunch on its own, or as a side dish at dinner.

5. Broccoli Pesto Quinoa

If you’re looking for a super-healthy quinoa recipe, this mixture of the protein-rich grain and bright green broccoli with almonds and garlic packs a nutrition powerhouse into each and every bite.

4. Orange and Chicken Quinoa Salad

One dish and pretty much all the nutrients you could want? That’s a good description of this mixture of quinoa, chicken, apples, celery, walnuts and more. Serve it on a bed of lettuce for a complete meal, or pair it with vegetable soup for a hearty meal that’s good for your heart.

3. Asian Pear Cranberry Chutney Curry Quinoa

Sure, the name is a mouthful, but the relatively complicated name and recipe is worth every syllable and step. This is “guests for dinner” quinoa that your family will love, too.

2. Spinach and Feta Quinoa

A Greek twist on quinoa, this recipe is surprising low in fat. But it’s not low in taste thanks to the feta, garlic and olive oil. Try it alone, or pair it with lean grilled talapia or roasted chicken to keep calories low.

1. Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

With its nuts, cinnamon and fresh blackberries, this quinoa recipe would be equally at home as dessert or breakfast. No blackberries? Try it with blueberries, peaches or raspberries for an equally delicious treat.