Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Morning Sour Cherry and Almond Quinoa

One of the biggest buzz words in the food world these days is Quinoa. This  nutritious, ancient grain has been grown in Central America for thousands of years. Quinoa is not actually a grain, but a pseudo-grain, as it is not part of the grass species. Surprisingly, as a chenopod, Quinoa is closely related to the beet, spinach and tumbleweed family. The grain- like buds are actually seeds that are harvested from the crop - imagine a spinach plant going to seed.
Quinoa is considered a complete protein (18%) as it contains essential amino acids and phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is a good source of calcium, which makes it useful for vegans and those who are lactose-intolerant. Quinoa is also gluten-free and is considered easy to digest.

I have made Quinoa a regular part of our diets and use it in many recipes as a substitute for Rice Pilaf or Couscous; ground into flour for pancakes or muffins and as a delicious breakfast cereal.

The great thing about Quinoa 'porridge', is that you do get the protein in the morning - if you are like me, I tend to get that bad 'sugar rush' from straight carbs, which I do not get with Quinoa.
Quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook, not as fast as  a quick oats porridge, but it can be prepared the night before and re-heated during the week, for a quick nutritious breakfast.
But its Sunday today and I have time, so I made my favourite version containing dried sour cherries and sliced un-blanched almonds. Topped with plain yogurt and maple syrup, this is a hearty breakfast that will keep you going until lunch...

Sour Cherry And Almond Quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup Quinoa (I use the truRoots Organic Quinoa)
1/4 cup dried sour cherries (or any dried fruit such as blueberries, raisins or cranberries)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons un-blanched, sliced almonds ( they cook faster than whole almonds)
Plain yogurt and maple syrup for topping
Combine Quinoa and water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add cherries, almonds and cinnamon. Turn heat to low and cook covered for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for about 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and spoon into bowls. Top with yogurt and maple syrup; sprinkle with additional cinnamon and almonds if desired. Serves 4.

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