Quinoa. It's not just for dinner anymore!
But what is it?
Well, quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah') is an ancient "grain" native to South America that was once considered the "gold of the Incas". Although most commonly considered a grain, it is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is high in protein and includes all nine essential amino acids. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because it is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for people suffering from migraine headaches, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. (Source: WHfoods.com)
Considering the incredible punch of nutrition, and the fact that I had this HUGE 4 lb. bag of quinoa sitting in my pantry after a trip to Costco, I figured it was about time I found another use for quinoa other than just dinner.
So here we have it - quinoa and oatmeal for breakfast! And wow is it delicious and filling. The fluffy texture and nutty flavor make it the perfect pairing for a unique twist on your morning oatmeal.
I've made this breakfast several times since I first came across the idea of "quinoa for breakfast", and this is my favorite variation. Knowing how nutritious it is, I've played with adding different fruits in order to find a variation that my almost 11 month old would enjoy. Sure enough, he now shares it with me for breakfast (hence the 2 spoons in the photo above)...so long as every spoonful has at least one piece of fruit on it. (Apparently it's all about the fruit/grain ratio for him.) But he ate it and he ate it well, so I consider that a big win. Our favorite variations so far have been made with apples, as mentioned in the recipe below, or ripe Bartlett pears swapped for the apples. Next I'd like to see if he likes it even more with bananas (one of his favorites) or raisins.
To cut back on morning prep time (and allow for variation) you can mix all of the dry ingredients together the night before and store them in an airtight container until you're ready to use them.
10-minute Apple Cinnamon Quinoa and Oatmeal
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 - 1.5 cups water (depending on the consistency you prefer)
- 2-3 teaspoons agave nectar (or 1 Tablespoon Splenda, sugar, or other sweetener) (optional)
- Combine oats, quinoa, flaxseed, cinnamon, and chopped apple in a 2 quart microwave safe bowl. Add water and stir.
- Microwave on high for approximately 10 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, stopping to stir every 1-2 minutes. (FYI, the quinoa is done when it is tender but still chewy and spiral-like threads appear around each grain.)
- Stir in agave nectar or other sweetener (optional) and serve.
Notes: Most any fresh, frozen, or dried fruit would work great in this recipe (pretty much anything you would regularly add to your oatmeal). As suggested in the original recipe, increase water slightly if you add dried fruit before cooking.
*Slightly adapted from SparkRecipes.
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