Usually around this time of year my diet feels a little boring and stale, and I start picking on foods that aren’t quite the best. For a more clean and wholesome meal, I gravitate towards whole grains like brown rice, israeli couscous, and quinoa. One of my favorites is quinoa because it’s full of so many great nutrients: protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium are just some of the benefits found in these little guys. Also, quinoa cooks a bit faster than brown rice so it’s nice to have on hand when you are short on time. Personally, I don’t love the taste of quinoa all by itself – but made into a delicious dish, it’s excellent. I was recently at Wegmans and saw a four pound bag of quinoa, so of course I had to buy it. This week, to get out of my frump, I’m seeing how many dishes I can come up with to incorporate the grain. Yesterday it showed up in a minestrone soup that I made for lunch, and in little patties with some vegetables for dinner. But my best creation of the day was for breakfast:
Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bake
Adapted from: Gabby’s Gluten Free
- 2 1/2 cups of quinoa, cooked and cooled slightly (regular, red, or try a mix of both!)
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten (vegan substitutes/suggestions to follow)
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/3 cup of 100% maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Walnuts, pecans, almonds, rasins, shredded coconut, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and place the quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with lightly greased parchment.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg until thoroughly combined. Add maple syrup and whisk.
- Add egg mixture to cooked and cooled quinoa. Add any (or all!) of the optional additions. Stir with a large spoon to combine. Pour into the parchment-lined baking dish and spread it around to ensure that it’s even.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set and golden.
- Using parchment, remove bake from pan as soon as possible so that it doesn’t steam.
- Cool completely and cut into squares. Serve with a dollop of nut butter. Yields 6-9 bars
I’m not vegan, or even a vegetarian. I love to eat and don’t really put a label on my diet. However, I don’t eat a lot of meat and I usually try to avoid dairy products. I enjoy things like cheese and meat (even red meat) so I just try to keep it to a minimum. In this recipe, I used eggs but you can make it vegan by substituting with ingredients like unsweetened applesauce, tofu, mashed bananas, or pumpkin puree. Some great substitutes and their conversions are posted here: Vegan Egg Substitutes.