I have been meaning to share this one for a while. As I sit here gobbling down a big bowl of my breakfast quinoa on a Sunday afternoon with some free time on my hands, I have finally committed to sharing this recipe with you.
First, what is Quinoa?
Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. The leaves of the quinoa plant are edible, with a taste similar to its green-leafed relatives.
It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors.
We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant with the scientific name Chenopodium quinoa. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well-balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis. There are many other health benefits that quinoa offers including helping with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, and childhood asthma as well as increasing antioxidant protection.
Ok… now that we know it’s one of the good guys… how do we cook this stuff?
Well, there are many types of quinoa out there. While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent yellow color, other varieties feature colors such as orange, pink, red, purple or black. Stores like Trader Joes & Whole Foods also have a tri-color quinoa consisting of yellow, red, and black. I feel the taste of the yellow works best as a side dish with a lunch or dinner meal. When I make the breakfast version, I prefer the red, black, or tri-color. But you use whatever you like best. The great thing about this recipe is that there are many variations and you can make it how you like.
Before you cook any quinoa, it is recommended to rinse it. While the processing methods used in the commercial cultivation remove much of the soapy saponins that coats quinoa seeds, it is still a good idea to thoroughly wash the seeds to remove any remaining saponin residue. An effective method is to run cold water over quinoa that has been placed in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands.
While you may serve your quinoa however suits your fancy, the following recipe is how I make my breakfast quinoa. I really make this a power packed breakfast by adding flax seed and hemp seed.
Flax Seed is one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet and is very high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, Lignans, & Fiber.
Hemp Seed is considered to be the most nutritionally complete food source in the world containing all of the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs.
Therefore, this recipe packs a punch!
Justin’s Breakfast Quinoa Recipe:
1 cup of rinsed organic quinoa (whatever kind you like… again I prefer red, black, or tri)
2 cups filtered water
8 tablespoons of organic ground flax seed meal
4 tablespoons of organic hemp seed
Organic Stevia (can also use organic agave or organic maple syrup)
An organic plant-based milk such as Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, Flax Milk, Hemp Milk, etc.
Always start by fully cooking the quinoa on it’s own. Add the 2 cups of water and the quinoa to a pot and cook on high flame until it starts to boil. Then, lower flame to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, all of the water should be absorbed while you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail. Remove the lid and keep a very low flame on, but you must start adding other ingredients immediately to prevent the quiona from burning into the bottom of the pot. Add the flax seed and hemp seed and then splash on some rice milk. I really have no idea of what the measurements are that I use for the rice milk. I just kind of pour it around and then stir. As we are adding these additional ingredients, it is the rice milk that helps bind everything together as well as give the dish the extra needed moisture. I then shake in the cinnamon. Again, I have no idea how much… I just shake it in very generously as it is quite healthy and tastes great too. Add as much or as little as you like. Next, a little bit of sweetener. This is optional and you can do to taste. I like to add just a slight amount of the stevia… just enough to bring out the cinnamon. Be careful not to over-sweeten though. Lastly, I shake in some raisins. Again this is optional. Raisins are healthy, but they do add sugar to the overall recipe. Therefore, depending on your dietary needs you may want to hold off on the raisins or just shake in a few for flavor. Again at this point you’re gonna want to splash in some more of your rice milk. Continue to do so while stirring this masterpiece all together until you reach the desired consistency. We are basically creating a porridge here, so add rice milk, stir, and repeat until it suits your fancy. If all looks good, you are done! Remove from heat and serve! Personally, I like to throw a spoon or two of organic crunchy peanut butter into mine. I love the taste and I need the extra calories in my diet. My wife likes to add organic unsweetened applesauce. You can have it plain as it is quite good all alone, or add whatever you like. I have also added walnuts and really liked that as well. With all of the extra good stuff added to this recipe, you should have about 5 servings worth. (the 1 cup of dry quinoa = 4 servings)
Here’s how it should look. Enjoy!!!