Packed with protein and nutrients, this hearty, gluten-free Breakfast Quinoa is one of my favorite ways to start any day of the year.
Every year around this time, I, like many, find myself in “resolution” mode (for the first few weeks of January, at least!). I’m sure my gravitation toward healthier choices right after the holidays has everything to do with sheer food exhaustion. After all of the sweets and multi-course dinners consumed in December, my body (and overstressed jeans) are naturally looking to eat a little lighter! I hate feeling deprived, so instead of radically changing my diet, I like to explore delicious, healthy dishes that I can make year-round. Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa is one of those recipes. Packed with protein and nutrients, this hearty, gluten-free porridge is one of my favorite ways to start any day of the year.
I’d never thought to turn quinoa into a breakfast porridge until a few years ago, when Martha Stewart made it on her PBS “Cooking School” show. Quinoa has always been a favorite of mine, but always as a savory side dish (it’s particularly wonderful with grilled or pan-seared fish) or salad. When slowly cooked in milk with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, the seed becomes a rich porridge with a soft bite that’s a really lovely alternative to oatmeal in the morning.
Breakfast Quinoa is easily adapted to your personal tastes and dietary needs. I tend to prefer my quinoa on the softer rather than chewy side, especially in a sweet breakfast dish. So, I adjusted the seed-to-liquid ratio until I found the perfect texture for me. For a non-dairy alternative, quinoa porridge is also delicious prepared with almond milk. Other flavoring pairings I’ve enjoyed are sliced bananas with maple syrup, jumbo mixed raisins and cinnamon, and dried cherries with pistachio and cardamom (substituting my spiced Cardamom Milk in the cooking liquid). Once you have the base, the flavoring possibilities are nearly endless.
I know that as soon as the first substantial snow storm arrives in NJ, a steady stream of baked goods will emerge from my oven until the spring thaw. Valentine’s Day will naturally bring something rich and chocolatey. (I’ve learned over the years not to swear off of these things altogether—talk about a goal just waiting to be broken!) Regardless, I’ll look forward to a warm bowl of quinoa many of those mornings. Don’t you just love when something you genuinely enjoy turns out to be good for you too? Jackpot!
Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa
With cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, and sweet blueberries, this creamy breakfast porridge is tasty, satisfying, and good for you!
Inspired by Martha Stewart via PBS Food
- 1 cup water
- 1 -1/2 cups milk, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- chopped toasted pecans, for topping (optional)
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water, 1-1/2 cups milk, vanilla extract or paste, rinsed quinoa, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (stirring occasionally and watching carefully so it doesn't boil over). Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly vented (the pot I use has a small steam escape), and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Stir in 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the ground cinnamon. Re-cover and continue to simmer for about 8 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from heat and gently fold in blueberries. Serve, topped with extra brown sugar and milk, and chopped pecans, if desired.