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Do you think you don’t have time for a nutritious and filling breakfast? Are you bored with cold cereal and goopy oatmeal? Try this!

This recipe was inspired by my nephew, Jude, and his awesome mom, Camilla, who fills his belly with the healthiest of foods. One morning in the spring when I was visiting in Calgary, Cam made Jude a breakfast she called a quinoa-colada; I think it was quinoa with banana and pineapple mashed into it. It looked good, and I was struck by the simplicity of it. When I got back to Vancouver I played around with the idea, and came up with a marginally more adult version which has since made regular appearances at my breakfast table.

There are two ways you can go about this, and each has merit. You can cook a pot of quinoa with part water and part milk (I used vanilla soy milk here) and add whatever porridge toppings strike your fancy. Leftovers will keep well, and you can re-heat the quinoa with a little extra liquid to regain the porridge consistency you’re after. Or you can cook up a big pot of quinoa with multiple uses in mind (how about this chocolate zucchini loaf?) and turn individual portions into porridge as you go. Again, a simple re-heat (stove top and microwave both work) with some liquid (milk, soy milk, water, or a combo) will give you the porridge end product.

If you decide to cook the quinoa in a water/milk mixture, do not stray too far from the stove while it is cooking. Trust me. Milk has a lower boiling point than water, and messy boil-overs happen quickly and easily.

I topped my quinoa porridge with diced banana, chopped almonds, and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, and so my dear friend Harmony Trowbridge suggested I name it Curious Porridge.

If you’re new to quinoa, it’s an ancient grain that is ridiculously high in protein, and contains more essential amino acids than any other grain. It cooks up quick and easy in about the same amount of time as white rice, but offers so much more nutritionally. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fat (good fat), and are thought to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Bananas are rich in vitamin C, B6, and potassium. A nice boost of protein comes from whatever sort of milk you decide to use here. Cinnamon is reported to have antioxidant properties, and the sprinkle of cinnamon sugar just tastes good.

Curious Porridge Recipe:

The recipe below is for porridge cooked up in a pot. If you’d rather cook a big pot of quinoa for multiple uses, simply put the portion you’d like to use for the porridge into a pot (or a bowl if you’re doing the microwave thing), just barely cover with milk, and heat until most (but not all) of the liquid has been absorbed.
This recipe is for two grown up portions of Curious Porridge:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup milk (I used So Nice organic vanilla soy milk)
1 banana, diced
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine quinoa, water, and milk in a large enough pot to avoid messy boil-overs. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and simmer for 15 min. Keep an eye on it though, milk likes to boil over. Meanwhile, combine cinnamon and sugar together and set aside (using the portions indicated, or combine larger amounts cinnamon and sugar in a 1:1 ratio, and keep in a jar for future use – also tasty sprinkled on buttery toast!). Dice banana, chop almonds. When quinoa is soft and a little liquid still remains in the pot, spoon into two bowls. Top banana and almonds, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2010