Quinoa- you’re either completely devoted to it or have no idea what all the fuss is about. Once you’ve figured out how to pronounce the bloomin’ thing (apparently it’s ‘keen-wah’), the next thing you need to sort out is how to use it.
Now, fret ye not. This beautiful and versatile grain is worth persevering with and does indeed live up to the hype as an amazing source of protein, full of essential amino acids, including folic acid and a good source of magnesium. It’s also gluten-free- what’s not to love?! I remember getting a bit of a shock when I went to see a naturopath a few years ago to see if there was anything else I could do to optimise my diet. We discovered that there was very little protein in my diet- not great! Being a vegan, I had been prioritising iron and vitamins over protein, so quinoa was a great remedy!
Although incorporating quinoa into salads and meals at lunch and dinner is unbeatable, I find that eating quinoa for breakfast really sets me up for the day and keeps the 11am stomach grumbles at bay (oooh, that rhymes!) When my sleep cycle was at its worst, I used to skip breakfast completely and my first meal of the day would often be breakfast, lunch and early dinner combined! I have a fast metabolism, so I’m definitely not one of those people who can’t skip breakfast or just get by on a piece of toast.
Quinoa is such a great food, and it’s incredibly versatile. If you cook a batch of quinoa, you can then leave it in the fridge to have cold in a salad or to heat up again (thoroughly). The batch should be good for around 2-3 days.
So, read on for some ideas as to how to get your day started with quinoa:
1) Quinoa Porridge
Cook your quinoa in water, your favourite nut milk or, for an extra special treat, coconut milk (mmmm!) for a beautiful breakfast that’ll really get your day started on the right foot. Adding a sliver of coconut oil into the pot while it’s cooking can also be great way to incorporate it into your meal.
Top with maca powder or goji berries, mix with raw honey or nut butter, add a sprinkle of raw cacao and some fruit- whatever takes your fancy!
2) Quinoa Pancakes
Add cooked quinoa into your pancake mix together with your usual ingredients. Better still, use quinoa flakes or only use quinoa flour in the recipe to give your pancakes a bit of a nutritional boost- add some LSA or almond meal if you like as well. You can also make bread with quinoa flour and eat with your favourite nut butter. Perfect for a lazy weekend brunch!
3) Quinoa Smoothies
Errrm, what now?! Yep, go for it! It’s all going into the blender anyway and will make you want to polish your nutritional halo because you’ve been so good to yourself. Put about half a cup-full into a smoothie for each person and off you go! (Perfect for those wanting a bit of a protein hit as well)
4) Quinoa Egg scramble
Again, a bit of a hit with my other half for a hearty weekend brunch, while your quinoa is cooking, lightly scramble some eggs and tear/chop up some strips of kale. Combine altogether with some flaxseed oil and a bit of turmeric and top with almonds and coconut flakes. Fabulous!
5) Quinoa Muesli or Cereal
After having grumbled for so long about not being able to find the perfect muesli in health food shops, I decided to make my own. I know exactly what’s going in it and it means I don’t have to pick out all the sultanas that people seem to be so fond of putting in muesli (not the biggest fan!)
A great alternative to dried oats, quinoa puffs (available in big bags at most health food shops) are a great alternative to quinoa is you fancy mixing it up a bit, as are quinoa flakes. Go crazy and choose your custom-made breakfast muesli! Sunflower seeds, flaxseed, inca berries, raw cacao nibs, dehydrated fruit- the sky’s the limit!
So there we have it- my mouth’s watering already! I’d love to hear how you use quinoa for breakfast or if you’re still to try it- all hail the most important meal of the day!
Love and quinoa,