04 January 2011

Breakfast Quinoa

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful and treat-filled holiday season.  If you are like me, and LOVE to eat, then you are probably also feeling a little more rolly-polly that you did in early December--I know I am. So much good food (and drink) over the past month has made me need to rethink some of my eating habits.  Now, I'm not going to go all boring on you with plain brown rice and grilled chicken breasts every night, but I've been on a little bit of a search for something as good as it is healthy.  So, when I came across the Food Lovers' Cleanse by Bon Appetit magazine, I was thrilled.  I'm not sure I'm going to go whole hog on the cleanse, but let me tell you, there are some fantastic recipes in there.

I'm only 3 days into it, but I've found the most fantastic breakfast that I need to share it.  It's a breakfast quinoa with cinnamon, blackberries and toasted pecans. I've adjusted the recipe a little from the magazine, mainly because I couldn't get my hands on some of the ingredients.  But my version of it is below.

If you aren't familiar with quinoa, it's actually pronounced KEEN-wah.  It's a seed from South America that is packed with protein (and is considered a complete protein, since it contains all of the required amino acids--a little nutrition trivia for you). There are two varieties, a red and a white, but I've only seen the white in the grocery store.  It cooks up nice and soft and sort of similar to couscous in texture, although it is a little hardier.  Quinoa also has a natural coating of saponins, which taste like soap, and need to be rinsed off in several changes of water before using (although, I've found a brand that is sold pre-rinsed, so check out the packages before you buy).

This dish is a nice warm breakfast alternative to oatmeal, and has more protein to it, so you'll be fuller throughout the morning.  It also warms up well the next day, so make a bigger batch if you really like it.  As far as substitutions go, you could use real milk instead of almond (or any other milk, really), and I would think almonds or walnuts could be good too.  Blueberries or apples could work as well.  So give whatever you have on hand a try.  Hope you enjoy...and here's to a happy and healthy 2011!

Warm Breakfast Quinoa
Printable recipe

1 cup Vanilla-flavored Almond milk
1 cup water
1 cup organic quinoa, (note: rinse quinoa)
2 cups frozen blackberries, thawed (fresh would be better, but they are super-expensive right now, and I couldn't justify paying $7 for 2 cups...)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see below)
4 tsp honey

Combine almond milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon honey.

To toast pecans, put in a dry pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.


  1. SUZ! I'm so happy to find you in blogland! Even though I just had my normal whole grain superstar English muffin, that yummy pic makes me hungry for more breakfast. I've always loved your photography...I can't wait to see more! Plus, I just got my own camera for Christmas and macro shots are my favorite--since beads and wire are the main target.

    I still think of you every time I clean out my dryer lint. Apparently you really hit home for me when I was visiting you in Alabama many, many moons ago.


  2. Hi Suzanne,
    I'm Jen's mom and a personal chef. Jen just introduced me to your blog and I love it! The picture of the spinach souffle had my mouth watering. I'll look forward to following your good works.

    Carol Snyder, Cinnamon Sage Personal Chef