Quinoa has been in my family’s diet, off and on, for about 25 years.  Yes, we were cooking up quinoa before most of main stream North America had heard of this slightly crunchy, slightly fluffy, little bit nutty dish.

I always thought quinoa was a grain.  Apparently I have been living in ignorance all these years.

The quinoa I place in my pot is the seed of a grain-like crop, part of the species Goosefoot belonging to the genus Chenopodium.  I hope I’ve got the taxonomy correct, though if not the important point would be that quinoa, rather than being a grain, is actually closely related to beets and leafy greens such as spinach and swiss chard.

Quinoa should be rinsed in cool water before cooking to remove the residue of a bitter covering. It is a good source of protein, iron and calcium and also Vitamin E and a number of the B Vitamins. Quinoa is gluten free but shares many of the cooking characteristics of grain, so it makes for a great grain alternative.

A friend on facebook recently commented on making a breakfast quinoa and I have adapted her recipe. I am thankful to Lisa for sharing.

Sunrise Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 3/4c rinsed quinoa
  • 1 1/5c almond milk
  • 1tbsp maple syrup or demerara sugar
  • several cardamom pods
  • 3 inches cinnamon bark
  • 1/4c dried fruit – I used dried cherries
  • 1tbsp chia seeds

Method

Place rinsed quinoa and almond milk in saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and keep at a low simmer until much of the milk is absorbed.  Add cardamom pods and cinnamon bark, continue to cook until it reaches a creamy texture. Add the dried cherries and chia seeds in the last minute or two of cooking.

Serve warm with fresh fruit topping and greek yoghurt.  This is also delicious served cold.

Change up the cooking liquid (try pomegranate juice or coconut water), the flavourings (fresh ground nutmeg, lemon zest), the dried fruit (blueberries, goji berries), and/or the toppings (fresh strawberries, ground cinnamon).  This breakfast can be a unique as you.  A great start to the day!

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