This recipe came my way when a good friend dropped off the February 2011 issue of Food and Wine for me to enjoy. Tucked deep inside was this amazing, beautiful dish and I knew it’d end up on the Adytum table for retreat guests to enjoy. This is such a healthy way to start the morning. We don’t waste time on foods that aren’t going to work for us, and quinoa is at the top of the list.
Quinoa is an ancient grain cultivated over 4000 years ago by the Incas who considered the crop to be sacred. It actually reminds me of the manna mentioned in the Bible, the “food of angels”…Today it is grown in the Andes Mountains of South America and contains more protein than any other grain, 12-18%. It has a complete amino acid profile like eggs, milk or meat which is important for vegetarians like us who like to get a lot of protein.
Quinoa has a very high nutrient density which puts it on our radar for “best foods to include” in our diet. NASA thinks so too as it’s being considered as a crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long –duration manned space flights. Since we have gravitated toward foods that are “gluten free” it is one of the best replacement grains we could choose. We feel great eating this way, even if we don’t “have to”! So many of our guests at Adytum are requesting gluten free now, so having a great breakfast alternative is a must for us.
Quinoa is rich in the minerals manganese, phosphorus, calcium, iron and selenium, B vitamins and vitamins A and E. It is light, airy and very easy to digest; it takes on the taste of what it is cooked with whether flavored broth or stirred into other dishes. What more could we ask for? Brown rice is great, but this is better. It could easily become a daily habit and all for the better.
I enjoyed this dish at breakfast this morning and decided to pull out the leftovers at dinner to pair with a hot Spinach Mushroom salad. It was excellent. I like the fact the quinoa will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be stirred into the hot ingredients of choice later. I never follow recipes and my favorite Indian spice, Cardamom found its way into the recipe as well as using the regular Quinoa I had on hand versus the Red. It only takes about 15 minutes to make it, so we can put it on when we wake and it’s ready to accompany the rest of our lunch as we head off to Medical Vision Center for the day. As a side note, for those with drooping lids that end up obscuring vision (for which surgery is required) we recommend manganese. This mineral supports tendon/ligament strength and tiny tendons are involved in proper eyelid function. And, I’d be willing to bet, it’s easy enough for a bachelor to make! Enjoy, and next time I’ll post the dinner version: Thai Coconut Quinoa. Outstanding with some black beans with a bit of chipotle…It reminded us of Jamaican cuisine…
Sweet Breakfast Quinoa
4 servings; 25 minutes
1 c red quinoa, rinsed
2 c water
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
¼ c slivered almonds
½ c dried apricots, cut into ½ – inch pieces
2 T pure maple syrup
½ tsp finely grated orange zest
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ c fresh ricotta
In a small saucepan, cover the quinoa with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Lightly fluff the quinoa with a fork and cover it again.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the apricots, maple syrup, orange zest and cinnamon and stir well until heated through.
Add the quinoa to the skillet and stir gently to incorporate the almonds and apricots. Top each portion of quinoa with a tablespoon of ricotta and serve.
Make ahead: The quinoa can be made and refrigerated up to five days. Reheat as needed or serve cold.
One serving is 311 calories, 11 grams fat, 2 grams sat fat, 44 grams carbs, 4 grams fiber.