breakfast quinoa with lemon zest and poppy seeds

September 26, 2011

I was chatting with my new friend and colleague, Meaghan Calcari from San Francisco, and she mentioned that she has quinoa every morning for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong – I love my dulse in the morning and will stick with it – but I thought for a change it might be nice to try something different. So taking my inspiration from Meaghan I cooked some up this morning topped with maple syrup, and toasted almonds. You could also add dried cranberries, and a dusting of cinnamon. This super-food is super yummy!

Super-food? For those of you that don’t know, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is really the superhero of grains. Actually, technically it’s not a grain but the seed of the Goosefoot plant. It’s used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its grain-like characteristics. The Inca have cultivated it in the South American Andes since, oh, about 3,000 B.C. In fact the ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain” and revered it as sacred. That alone makes it a super-food, but alongside being sacred it’s easy to prepare, has a great nutty flavour, and is packed full of protein, amino acids, calcium and iron. Need I say more? Eat up!

1/2 cup coconut milk

about 1 cup water

1 cup quinoa

1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt

1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

grated zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup or to taste

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

dried cranberries

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk, water, and quinoa to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring often, for 5 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is creamy but still retains some texture. If the liquid in the pan is absorbed before the quinoa has fully cooked, stir in more water, 1 tbsp or so at a time, until done. Stir in the poppy seeds, lemon zest, and maple syrup. Serve hot in individual bowls topped with the toasted almonds. Serves 4.

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