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!