A healthy breakfast is one of the hardest meals to prep, day in and day out. There are only so many eggs and oatmeal a person can eat on a constant basis. Any time you find a healthy alternative to the every day classic breakfast, it’s worth sharing. You know, something a little different from your standard cereal, eggs, and toast route. How about quinoa for breakfast?
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa an incredible food item; it is one of the most nutrient rich grains available. Quinoa:
- considered a complete protein because it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids. Meat and poultry contain higher amounts of protein, but less of the essential amino acids.
- is gluten free
- has twice as much fiber as other grains. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and glucose levels, preventing high blood pressure and diabetes.
- contains iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation.
- contains Lysine, which is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.
- a good source of magnesium. The benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
- is high in riboflavin B2. B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.
- is high in Manganese, an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.
In 2013 top officials from the United Nations and the Andean community of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru today launched the ‘International Year of Quinoa’ to raise awareness of the nutritional, economic, environmental and cultural value of a food that has been traditionally cultivated for thousands of years.
The UN’s hope is to utilize quinoa to help resolve the problem of hunger around the world.
Quinoa is such a nutritious, versatile ingredient. I usually use it in savory dishes as a replacement for other grains or as part of a salad, but it also makes a great high protein breakfast grain. It’s prepared similarly to oatmeal, but with a much nuttier taste and firmer texture. It wasn’t until a few months ago when working a breakfast action station that I learned of a new use for the superfood quinoa.
Quinoa for breakfast
I had made a overnight porridge before with leftover cooked quinoa, but never had I made quinoa oatmeal style. This recipe uses freshly cooked quinoa with either regular full fat coconut milk or, if you want to go even healthier, low fat coconut milk. Like regular oatmeal, the choices of toppings are pretty endless. We usually serve this quinoa oatmeal with brown sugar and a berry apple compote.
Quinoa is a very versatile pure protein that can be served at any time of the day. Along with the fat from the coconut milk, the antioxidants from the berries, and the high fiber from apples, this breakfast is a complete nutritious meal. Most quinoa oatmeal recipes call for a mix of quinoa and oats, but this recipe only needs quinoa, reducing the extra carbohydrates for the dish.
Making the Apple Berry Compote
You can use either fresh or frozen berries
For the apple, peel and small dice them
In a medium sauce pan mix together lemon juice, apples, and berries over low heat until the berries start to release their juices.
Add in sugar (or agave nectar, if you choose) and continue to cook until the berries break down and the mixture thickens like a jam, 20-30 min.
Making the Quinoa Oatmeal
Bring quinoa and liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Add in the coconut milk and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens to resemble oatmeal.
Serve hot with compote on top and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
The extra oatmeal can be portioned out and put into the freezer. When you want to reheat it, just put it into a bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes and then mix before serving.