Lemon Pistachio Quinoa Cookies

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Quinoa? In cookies? I know, I know. I thought it sounded crazy too. But these quinoa cookies were one of the most intriguing recipes from the new book The Plant-Based Diet Meal Plan, so I had to give them a shot.

I even asked the author, my friend Heather Nicholds, if these were actually good. A silly thing to ask, because why on earth would she include a recipe that she didn’t love? But I just needed that extra comforting layer of “these are amazing” confidence. And I got it. Heather quickly replied:

I love these quinoa cookies. I’ve made them with many flavor variations, and this is my personal favorite. The first time I tried out this recipe idea (using cooked quinoa in a cookie) I was staying with my brother and his family, which includes 3 little boys. I wasn’t sure if they’d taste too “healthy” for the kids to enjoy.

But when the kids got home from school and day care and tried a bite, they went nuts for them! It was so fun watching their little faces light up as they gobbled them up in total joy. All the while, I knew that they were filling their growing bodies with nutrition and not setting themselves up for a sugar crash.

These quinoa cookies are now a top request from the kids and my sister-in-law when Aunt Heather comes to visit.

Hope you love them, and that this recipe gives you one more way to quinoa—one of our Top 15 Vegan Pantry Staples! I think it’s fair to say you’ll automatically advance to a Level 5 vegan when you bring quinoa cookies into your life. 

Lemon Pistachio Quinoa Cookies

Author: Heather Nicholds
5 from 7 votes
These lemon pistachio quinoa cookies are packed with texture and nutrition. This recipe shows it is possible to make healthy cookies! Quinoa is much talked about because it has essential amino acids (a.k.a. complete proteins) and is gluten-free. It’s also high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 cookies


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 large banana
  • ½ cup unrefined sugar
  • ½ cup almond butter, or sunflower seed butter
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • cups coconut flour, brown rice flour, or ground almonds
  • ½ cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • ¼ cup non-dairy chocolate chips


  • Make ahead: Cook the quinoa in advance by putting 1 cup in a pot with 2 cups water, bringing to a boil, then simmering 25 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, mix the ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water and let it sit until it turns into a jelly-like texture (we call this a flax egg).
  • Mash the banana in a large bowl, then mix in the sugar and almond butter until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the quinoa and the flax egg, along with the lemon juice, lemon zest (if using), and vanilla. Mix until everything is combined well.
  • Add the baking soda, baking powder, and flour, and stir gently until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the pistachios and chocolate chips.
  • Form the dough into 12 to 16 balls. Place on the baking sheet and press them down flat with your hand. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Take them out of the oven, and let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack and letting them cool completely. They will be a bit delicate until they’re fully cooled, so try to keep yourself— and your family—from diving in too soon.


Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 238mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free cookie recipe, gluten free cookies, lemon cookies, pistachio cookies, quinoa cookies, vegan cookie recipe, vegan cookies

Can You Say “Quinoa?”

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an ancient grain that originated with the Incas in the mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru over 5,000 years ago. It was initially used to feed livestock and eventually became popular amongst humans in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia before becoming a global commodity. What makes quinoa so special is the fact that it’s a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids! It also boasts high levels of B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. It’s also gluten-free so you don’t need to worry about omitting the wheat if you’re sensitive to gluten! The most common types of quinoa in the US are white, red, and black quinoa. For this recipe, we recommend white quinoa as it has a more neutral flavor and a less grainy texture than black or red quinoa!

Pistachio Power

I’m a little biased because pistachio is one of my favorite words to say out loud, but this nut has a particularly sweet and buttery flavor that makes it perfect for desserts (not to mention its vibrant green hue)! Along with quinoa, pistachio consumption also goes way back. Some estimate that we started snacking on these delicious nuts as early as 7,000 BC! And word must’ve gotten out about the nutritional benefits of pistachios because they are many. A single ounce of pistachios contains 6 grams of protein and high levels of potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin B6, thiamine, copper, and manganese. Pistachios also help to regulate blood sugar and aid in the formation of hemoglobin which helps carry oxygen to red blood cells. Flavor-wise, pistachios have a sweet and buttery taste which makes them ideal for integrating into desserts!

More Nutty Vegan Dessert Recipes to Try

This Lemon Pistachio Quinoa Cookie recipe was shared with permission from Heather Nicholds. Article edited by Amanda Meth. This post is not sponsored and all thoughts are my own.You can find many more recipes from Heather Nicholds in her vegan cookbook, The Plant-Based Diet Meal Plan. Heather is a vegan nutritionist with a vast amount of knowledge about holistic nutrition, and as such she incorporates wellness-promoting ingredients into all of her recipes. In this book, you’ll find a three-week meal plan to help you eat healthfully, deliciously. This article contains our Amazon affiliate links which help us keep the lights on here at World of Vegan! 

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Recipe Rating

  1. Andrea White says:

    5 stars
    What a cute cookie! I know I’d devour these so fast!!

  2. 5 stars
    These look so amazing if only I wasn’t allergic to pistachios!

  3. 5 stars
    In love with these cookies!!! The combination of sweet, tart lemon with nutty pistachio is heavenly. It’s so hard to stop eating these cookies – lol. Perfect with a cup of tea, coffee, or just by themselves. Highly recommended!

  4. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    I love lemon on ALL things sweet! Amazing cookies 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I’m all about making traditionally unhealthy foods healthy!!

  6. 5 stars
    Oh wow! A truly healthy cookie!
    These are delicious and guilt free!

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve had chocolate-covered quinoa before but have never had a quinoa cookie! And I love pistachios too! What a great recipe.

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