sweet quinoa breakfast cereal

it is a cold, rainy morning for the end of march. -44f and windy, and we may even get a little flurry today. ick. it’s a little depressing to have a sunday morning, aka my day off, be so crummy. i am, however, thankful that it gave me enough time to try our a new comforting, warm breakfast that i wouldn’t have time to prepare throughout the week. -though i must say, it was relatively simple, not unlike oatmeal. just heat it, stir it, and let it stay hot.

i got the idea from 101 cookbooks. my picture is nothing like heidi’s, but my breakfast was delicious! i made a few changes to suit my taste, but the idea is the same: take an ancient grain and treat it like you would oatmeal.

not a grain:

quinoa is an old plant that isn’t actually a grain. it’s actually a “pseudocereal”, related to beets and spinach. it digests much easier than grains such as oats, rice, or wheat, and is a complete protein. -i believe it is one of the only known vegetarian sources of complete protein known.

it is a little higher carb than i am used to, so i’ll stick this into the “once a week breakfast treat” list, along with waffles and pancakes. quinoa is an excellent stand in for other cereals, though. so i will enjoy it without guilt weekly.

its nutritional profile is about as standard as most grains at first glance. per 1/4 cup, quinoa has more fiber and more protein, but is slightly higher in the carb department. HOWEVER, if you believe in the atkins system, you can do the “net carb” math. quinoa is known for it’s super easy digestibility, and lack of gluten. i personally find that it digests easily, and filled me up very nicely. the taste and texture was awesome. i added flax meal to thicken it and make it a little creamier like oatmeal. the cereal was sweet and nutty, much like oatmeal. i cooked in raisins and cinnamon just like i do steel-cut oats. feel free to stir in any fruits, seeds, and spices you would for any breakfast grain. brian had walnuts, bananas and blueberries on his, while i had raisins and walnuts on mine. it was perfect!

heidi’s recipe calls for 1% milk, but i like whole milk much better, and it is nutritionally much more dense. fat is good for you, people.  heidi’s recipe also calls for 4 tsp agave nectar, but i found that 1 tbsp of brown sugar was plenty for me. add as you see fit. oh, and one of my favorite “hot cereal cooking tips”: stirring raisins in while cereal is cooking plumps the raisins and sweetens the cereal slightly. it’s amazing!

this recipe serves 3-4

sweet and comforting quinoa

1 cup whole organic milk

1 cup water

1 cup quinoa*

teeny sprinkle of salt

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp flax meal (optional)

1/4 cup raisins (optional)


begin by toasting any nuts you will want to serve with cereal. these can be toasted in a pan (over low heat) then cool while the cereal is cooking.

in cold water, rinse quinoa well for a few minutes and drain the water. you can use a colander lined with a dishtowel for this.

place rinsed quinoa into a pot all other ingredients. stir well until combined, and turn heat on medium. bring to a boil. let cereal boil for 15 minutes with lid off, stirring frequently and adding water if it dries up.

turn heat off after 15 minutes, and place lid on pot. let it sit for 5-10 minutes to absorb liquid.

serve with nuts, a few drops of milk, dried fruits, and some brown sugar (if you need it).

*i used red quinoa, but white is easier to find and just as tasty. it is very important that you rinse the quinoa before cooking.


4 thoughts on “sweet quinoa breakfast cereal

  1. tip to use with quinoa:
    after rinsing the quinoa, place in the pan that you will be cooking in, without oil, and toast the quinoa for about 2 minutes, or until it smells toasted. you will allow for more of the natural nutty flavors to come out in the “hot cereal”.whatever dish that you make with quinoa, using this method, will take on a sweeter flavor.
    when i worked as the “special diets” cook at the cafe i helped run in college, this was my favorite way to cook it for a warm salad that i made with fresh cranberries and a balsamic reduction.
    just sayin’……

  2. thanks to emily for mentioning toasting the quinoa. i’ve made quinoa both ways, and toasting it truly gives it a beautiful, nutty flavor in both sweet and savory dishes. it’s worth the 2 minutes!

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