Breakfast is one meal that I tend to eat almost exactly the same thing day after day. I’ve been pretty happy about that until recently, when I decided to shake things up a bit. I have loved quinoa for years as a savory side dish and have heard a lot of people say that they liked quinoa for breakfast in place of oatmeal. I had tried it once but was underwhelmed with the recipe, and it seemed like just too much work for breakfast; I don’t like to think too much or wait too long first thing in the morning!
Quinoa has garnered a bit of buzz over the past few years and if you haven’t tried it yet, you might be wondering what the big deal is all about. Quinoa, which is actually a seed, is usually referred to as a whole grain; close enough. It is cooked in a very similar method to rice, but its size and shape is more like cous cous. Nutritionally, it is a complete protein (meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids which our bodies cannot synthesize); while it’s not a high protein food, it does compare favorably to other grains. To compare, one serving (1/2 cup dry) of oatmeal has 5 grams of protein, brown rice (1/4 cup dry) has 3.5 grams, and quinoa (1/4 cup dry) has 6 grams.
So a few weeks ago when I was making some quinoa for dinner, I decided to make extra to see if I could adapt the leftovers into my breakfast the next morning. Having the plain quinoa pre-cooked made trying it out a lot more enticing. The next morning I just mixed a little milk, cinnamon and vanilla in, heated it in the microwave and then topped it all of with a little fruit. I’m happy to say that it was easy, delicious and filling; just what I look for in a breakfast!
The easiest way to make quinoa for breakfast (I think) is to make up batches by the pot and then portion it out into single serving containers. This way it’s a grab and go option and you can slightly alter the flavor each morning.
If you want to try it the way I prepare it, add about 1/4 cup of milk (soy, almond or coconut milks all work very well too) to the pre-cooked quinoa in a microwave safe dish, along with a dash of cinnamon and bit of vanilla. Heat for about a minute (this depends on your microwave power along with how hot you like your breakfast) then add another 1/4 cup milk and whatever fruit you have on hand. I like to really load up the fruit portion and will put in about a cup of blueberries or dice a whole nectarine or a banana, the variations are quite endless. I don’t like things too sweet so I don’t add sugar, but you might want to put a drizzle of honey on yours if you like. This could also be made into a savory dish if you prefer. I can imagine it with peppers, onions, cheese and salsa or maybe spinach, mushrooms and cheese, whatever you might combine in an omelette would probably work very well with quinoa!