Good Food

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quinoa: A breakfast upgrade on your morning oatmeal [recipe]

Quinoa “oatmeal” for breakfast

Good-old reliable oatmeal getting a little old? 

Shake things up with quinoa, the super-grain. It has a nutty flavor, an awesome crunchy-chewy texture, and killer a protein content that’s equal to a glass of milk: 8 grams. (Irish oatmeal has just 4 grams of protein.)

Because quinoa contains eight essential amino acids, it qualifies for the honor of “complete protein” status, the Honor Roll of grains.

Good news for the gluten-intolerant: quinoa doesn’t have any. But it’s packed full of fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and stress-reducing B vitamins. When was the last time your breakfast fought stress?

While it’s still new-ish on the New York food scene, this high-energy grain has a long history of being a power food—culinary folklore says the Incas were the first to use it for endurance about 8,000 years ago. So quinoa should definitely help you get through your morning commute.

The best part about making it for breakfast? Quinoa cooks quickly for a whole grain, about 25 minutes. It also keeps well, so make a big batch to use for several days. For a one-minute breakfast, reheat a serving of quinoa with a splash of almond milk, add your favorite dried fruit, some nuts, and a dash of cinnamon. Here’s how to upgrade your breakfast from oatmeal to quinoa.

Nutty Fruit Quinoa
Makes 3–4 servings

Ingredients:
3 cups water
1 cup quinoa

Directions:
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. In the meantime, wash 1 cup of quinoa thoroughly (it can be bitter and dusty). Add to boiling water. Reduce heat to a light boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add any of the following: cinnamon, raisins, almonds, apricots, cranberries, dates, apples.
After cooking: milk substitute, natural sweetener (maple syrup, raw honey, agave). —Jennifer Kass

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