Quinoa is a cheap, nutritious, easy-to-cook pantry staple. It was an important crop of the ancient Incas, and has been a staple in South America for thousands of years. These days, it is widely available in North America. Hooray!

High in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, quinoa is technically a seed (not a grain). However, it easily takes over for grains in my kitchen. It comes in red and the more common, plain ‘white’—my family prefers the white. I often make it to go with dinner (under a stew or skillet dish, in a pilaf, or on the side), but my favorite way to eat it is for breakfast. I always make extra when preparing dinner, then pop the extras in the fridge. In the morning I spoon some cold into a bowl, drizzle maple syrup on it and a generous splash of milk. It cooks so quickly, though, it would be easy to prepare fresh as a hot cereal.

To prepare quinoa:
  • Measure out 1 cup of quinoa and rinse thoroughly in a mesh sieve.
  • Allow quinoa to drain while you warm up a tablespoon or so of olive oil or butter in a pot (with a cover).
  • Plop the quinoa into the pot and stir until somewhat dried (maybe a couple of minutes).
  • Drop in your chunk of frozen broth, and add any water necessary to make up 2 cups of liquid. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook covered for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Can be served immediately, or not!

Alternatively, you can keep it simple and skip the toasting step (where you stir the quinoa with oil to dry it).

Here is a link to all kinds of breakfast quinoa options: 24 Delicious Ways To Eat Quinoa For Breakfast. And I also once saved a lovely looking recipe for which I sadly cannot identify the author/URL. But here it is, in case it inspires you. :)

Breakfast Quinoa with sweet potato and maple syrup

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree*
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Make ahead: prepare quinoa, and roast/cool/scoop/puree the sweet potato the night before.
  • To prepare: Melt butter and stir in sweet potato puree, maple syrup, milk, spices and salt until well combined. Add quinoa and stir gently.
  • To serve: Top with maple syrup, nuts, etc.
*For sweet potato puree:
  • Prep — Do not peel. Leave whole if roasting.
  • Cook — Roast in a 400 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Puree — Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor or blender.
(Alternatively, you can peel, cube, coat lightly with olive oil and roast the sweet potato for about 30 minutes, and then smash it up or puree if you like.)