I was making breakfast with oats for a few weeks, but I didn't feel like it really energized me or made me feel particularly good. I love using oats, but I wanted to switch it up. I forgot that quinoa (Pronounced "Keen-wah" - last week I heard a cashier call it "Kwin-oh-ah" ;)) is a great (and gluten-free) alternative that is really healthy. It is gluten-free, high in protein, riboflavin, it has a low GI and it is a complex carbohydrate (as opposed to a simple carbohydrate). Carbohydrates are important for providing your body with energy. It is especially important if you do a lot of physical activities. Carbohydrates are turned into glucose when they are being digested, which is one of the main fuel sources. Complex carbohydrates provide much more vitamins and minerals than simple carbohydrates do, so this makes quinoa a good health choice.
Most people are probably familiar with using regular quinoa seeds (you may have heard quinoa being referred to as a grain), but you can also cook with quinoa flour and quinoa flakes. Quinoa flakes are a little more similar to oats and formed by squeezing the quinoa grains into flakes. Using quinoa flour or quinoa flakes will have the same nutrition as using regular quinoa. There is also "baby quinoa" called Kaniwa.
Tip: I usually like making a whole bunch of quinoa at once and then I freeze part of it. I do like to try to use it within 1-2 weeks though or else it may dry out.
Quinoa can be used to add thickness to smoothies, in baked goods, in vegan scrambled egg recipes, in salads, soups, casseroles, chilis...
- Instructions I like to follow when making Quinoa (from Lunchboxbunch.com)
- Banana Quinoa Breakfast Bake (GF-Option)
- Quinoa brand (Gogo Quinoa - Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Here is a baked blueberry quinoa breakfast I've whipped up a couple of times this week:
- 1 cup + 2 tbs dry quinoa & 1 cup + 2/3 cup water (I followed the Instructions in the link I mentioned above)
- handful of shredded coconut
- 2 tbs pepitas / pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tbs carob powder
- 2 tbs raisins
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 tbs chia seeds w/ 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (allow the chia and water/milk to sit for a few minutes)
- optional: natural sweetener to your taste preference
- Cook the quinoa using whatever method you prefer (or use the link I provided)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Allow cooked quinoa to cool slightly and then mix in the rest of the ingredients directly in the pot.
- Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Spread the quinoa mixture evenly over the parchment paper. I sprinkled some more coconut and blueberries on top.
- Baking for around 25-35 minutes. It should be a bit crispy on top but still fluffy in the middle. Eat warm or cold. I prefer it warmed up a bit with some fresh fruit on the side.
- Store leftovers in the fridge to eat for another breakfast or snack in-between other meals.
If you are short on time, you can omit the baking portion and just eat the cooked quinoa as you would oatmeal.