QUINOA! They call it the super grain. And I can ‘t seem to get enough of it! (Here is my Mandarin Quinoa Breakfast Porridge shown below!)
Not only does quinoa make for a delicious dish, it’s a complete protein and whole grain combined. I’ve discovered it makes a great alternative to brown rice or bulgur (and works great in a combination with other grains – for a variety in texture and flavor). My friend is experimenting with it to use with (and as a replacement) to bulgur in her traditional recipes.
DID YOU KNOW?: Quinoa’s vitamin and mineral content outshines other grains. It’s got more Vitamin A, Folate, Calcium and Potassium than the same amount of bulgur (And, did I mention it is a complete protein?!).
The other day I discovered 10 Creative Quinoa Recipes by Healthy Chefs and couldn’t get wait to make a dish for my girls’ preschool class. The dish I chose was the Orange Quinoa Breakfast Pilaf* and I was enticed by the fact it contained many natural sugars from the orange and cranberries. No added maple syrup or honey, but it sounded quite sweet. *Since I didn’t have orange juice I used up the last of the grape juice my MIL had bought (she’s 90 and insists on buying things I don’t normally buy for my family). I added in pear to balance out the intensity of the grape juice.
When I tasted the delightful combination, I was impressed by the infusion of flavors – star anise, cinnamon, grape juice (yes, it worked great in place of the orange juice the recipe called for), orange rind, and upon adding in my soy milk, it sent my taste-buds to heaven. My husband took it a step further and add a little rum. And wow! That was crazy good.
A Quick Fix
When I tried it the next day, it was even better. But I realized the complexity of flavors might not appeal to a 3 or 4 year old. So I quickly whipped up a batch of quinoa in my rice cooker and put my creative cooking skills to the test. I added vanilla, cinnamon and coconut oil. Then tossed in some mandarin oranges for a bit more sweetness and a texture appeal. MMmmmm…. it was a hit!
Here’s my recipe:
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa (that’s how much I had left)
- water for cooking (the ratio I use is 1:2, quinoa to water)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 pears, chopped
- 2 cans of mandarin oranges (light)
- 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- zest of 1/2 orange (or of one small tangerine)
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions or use this ratio if bought as a bulk grain (1 cup of quinoa: 2 cups of water). Remove from heat. Add in coconut oil, orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla. Toss in mandarin orange segments. Serve room temperature or heated with your favorite milk or alternative milk (soy and almond are my staples). Enjoy!
Nutrition (includes 1/4 cup ‘milk’ per serving): Cal 260, Fat 12g, Chol 0mg, Sodium 35mg, Fiber 5g, Sugar 14g, Protein 5g