I must admit I was slow to get on the quinoa train. For a while, I just ignored it, like skinny jeans and pumpkin lattes. I did finally try making it a few times, with disappointing results. Either I set off my timer (which also doubles as the smoke alarm) or my husband made “the face.” As the saying goes, though, the third time is a charm. I finally had luck preparing quinoa as a savory side dish (and it was even husband-approved), so I began to experiment with using it as a breakfast food.
I would not have bothered with all of this experimentation and fuss were it not for two factors. The first is that quinoa is very good for you. With five grams of fiber and eight grams of protein to each cup, it’s a nutritional powerhouse. It also cooks quickly, which is always a bonus, in my book. It's a nice change from oatmeal.
The second factor was that the price of quinoa came down quite a bit as its popularity grew.
The recipe serves four to six.
Ingredients include quinoa, “lite” coconut milk, bananas, coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, mango, just a pinch of salt, Chinese Five-Spice Powder, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
STEP ONE - ASSEMBLE INGREDIENTS
1 cup of quinoa
2 cans of “lite” coconut milk
One pinch salt (¼ teaspoon)
½ t. Chinese Five-Spice powder
2 T. brown sugar (+ additional for topping, if desired)
½ t. vanilla extract
½ cup chopped, dried mango
¼ cup shredded, sweetened, toasted coconut (see below)
½ cup coarsely chopped, unsalted, roasted macadamia nuts (see below)
½ cup sliced bananas
STEP TWO: TOAST THE MACADAMIA NUTS AND THE COCONUT FLAKES
I think the flavor of the macadamia (“mac” nuts) and coconut flakes are enhanced by a quick toasting in the oven, and it will only take you fifteen minutes. Place the whole nuts on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees. Bake for five minutes, shake the pan, and give them another five. Add the coconut flakes, and bake for five more minutes. Cool slightly.
STEP THREE: PREP THE TOPPINGS
Chop the macadamia nuts coarsely.
Cut up the dried mango. This is done more easily with kitchen scissors.
Slice the banana.
STEP FOUR: TOAST THE QUINOA AND SEASONINGS
Heat your pan to low, and add the cup of quinoa. Toast, stirring frequently, for five minutes. This will bring out its nuttiness and give your quinoa a dimension of flavors. When the quinoa is golden and giving off a nutty scent, add two tablespoons of brown sugar and ½ teaspoon of the Chinese Five-Spice powder. Stir well.
STEP FIVE: COOKING THE QUINOA
To the toasted quinoa and spice mixture, add two cans of “lite” coconut milk and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
STEP SIX: ADD TOPPINGS
I suggest serving toppings in separate small bowls. Let people add whatever they like.
The toppings are an extra opportunity to add nourishment to your porridge. Nuts provide fiber and magnesium. Bananas are a good source of potassium. Mango contains Vitamins C and A. Watch the sweetened coconut shreds -- although the coconut contains fiber, if you are using sweetened coconut, you are adding sugar and calories. It is possible to use unsweetened coconut, of course, if you want to watch your sugar intake.
The recipe reheats well (just add a little milk to thin it out, and microwave or heat in a small saucepan). It’s handy to make it the night before and reheat for breakfast. Enjoy!