Breakfast quinoa with clementines, sour cherries and pecans

by admin on January 6, 2009 · 22 comments

Breakfast quinoa with clementines, sour cherries and pecans

This combination of juicy fresh fruit, sweet dried fruit and a hint of spice was my food flask breakfast for a very early train journey a few weeks back, inspired by a leftover bowl of quinoa.  Porridge (possibly more commonly known as oatmeal?) is my regular nutritious winter breakfast in many, many different guises, but quinoa makes a very pleasant change from oats.  Quinoa, it turns out, is also a much more forgiving grain to prepare in the morning rush.  Povided that you cook a little extra earlier in the week, this essentially just entails reheating; there’s no need to wait for that magic moment when those “oats floating in milk” magically elasticise into real, gooey porridge. Plus like porridge, this breakfast is really, really filling stuff, most likely because of the low glycaemic index of the grain which means that it keeps your blood glucose levels on an even keel well into the morning.

The mix of fresh and dried fruit covers water-soluble vitamins (particularly vitamin C), minerals and fibre all in one.  Porridge and quinoa are nutritionally similar in many ways; both are wholegrains and both low GI provided that you choose the right sort of oats.  Quinoa has a GI of 51 (classified as low), old-fashioned rolled oats 42 (also low) while instant porridge is 82 (high GI). Other nutritional aspects are more of a trade-off; porridge has its cholesterol-busting soluble fibre, while quinoa is higher in protein.

The quinoa can be soaked in the milk overnight but don’t worry about that too much – this dish still works fine made just before eating.  If you’re wondering why I’m suggesting adding honey to something that already contains naturally sweet dried fruit and clementines, the reality is that quinoa often has a very distinctive earthy note to it (the kind of flavour a wine buff would describe as a tad vegetal).  A little drizzle of honey among all of these other healthy ingredients is not going to cause any lasting damage but if you use a sweetened milk like certain soy milks then you might not need it.

Credit for this post goes to fabulous and thoughful dietitian Elaine of Greens and Berries for prompting me to blog about it after she caught me rambling from the train about my breakfast habits on Twitter.  She was right to get me to write the combination down.  This way I will remember it when the clementine season comes around next year.  There’s something about this one that is more than the sum of it’s parts (I suspect it’s the way that the milk soaks into the clementines making them super juicy).

Recipe for Quinoa with clementines, sour cherries and pecans

If you can get it, red quinoa would look fantastic with the clementines and cherries.

For 2 people

1 cup leftover cooked quinoa
1 cup of your milk of choice
1 tbsp dried cherries
1 tbsp pecans
2 clementines, broken into segments
A good pinch of cinnamon
Honey to taste

Ideally, soak the quinoa and milk together overnight.

When ready to eat, heat the quinoa and milk either in the microwave or in a pan on the hob until hot.

Crumble the pecans roughly into chunks and add to the hot grains and milk. Next add the dried cherries and clementines and a good pinch of cinnamon.

Taste. Add more cinnamon and a little honey and taste again. Eat.


kathryn January 6, 2009 at 21:57

Beautiful, beautiful Sophie. Porridge doesn’t do it for me in the morning – leaving me hungry an hour and a half later – but I’m wondering of quinoa, with that extra bit of protein, might work.
And you’re right about quinoa needing that little flavour distraction. It’s just a bit too earth-bound otherwise.

Elaine January 6, 2009 at 22:19

You’re going to think I spend 1/2 my day on Twitter (perhaps if I did add up all the quick, intermittent checks for updates I’d be shocked to see the time spent) BUT I just saw your latest tweet about this post and had to come right over.
Thank you for the recipe and new-to-me quinoa facts. If I had been on the train with you I would have eyed your food flask’s contents with amicable envy and asked for the recipe. I would also have admired the pink flask itself. Very stylish.
I do love the idea of cooking ahead — it makes one less thing to do on a busy work-day morning. I’ll be adding this recipe to my repertoire. Based on the current contents of my “pantry” I may try adding dried cranberries and walnuts since they’re on-hand. (Cherries & pecans sound lovely, though.)
Happy, Healthy New Year to you, Sophie.

shauna January 7, 2009 at 00:29

I know I tweeted how much I liked this post but I forgot to mention THE PHOTO! The fabric and the thermos, ahhh gorrrgeous colours.
Also, I never thought to use clementines any more imaginatively that just peeling and eating the little fellas so this is a revelation!
(Kathryn I never stay full that long on porridge either. i thought my system was defective as everyone swear by it, so it’s reassuring to hear you say that :)

Meeta January 7, 2009 at 07:36

I am so not the porridge type of girl – but I love breakfast quinoa and am always on the look out for exciting recipes! This looks great!

Sophie January 7, 2009 at 21:37

Kathryn, that’s an interesting thought about the protein. I was interested in the whole GI aspect but as you’ve quite rightly pointed out, the simple fact that quinoa has more protein in it could definitely be the reason people find it more filling.
Elaine – yes, that Twitter is a little bit addictive isn’t it? The flask is a lovely christmas present from my other half, after a few heavy hints! I’ve tried making exactly this recipe with dried cranberries as you suggest and it works just fine (sour cherries are my absolute favourite dried fruit so any excuse to use them).
Shauna – glad you like the pink thermos (is it the same as yours?). Many thanks for your help identifying a good one. I took a lentil stew to work in it earlier in the week and it kept it warm right up until lunchtime.
I’ve got a (really simple) theory about whether or not porridge keeps people full or not. I think it’s just down to how much people have – when you ask people about it some of them have a few tablespoons while others have a massive bowlfull.
Meeta – hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it out!

Cassie January 7, 2009 at 22:22

Sophie, that looks and sounds soooo good. Love that it’s made with leftover quinoa, so no fussing around in the morning. Great idea. Loving the sound of cherries and clementines too. And you know, I’ve been eyeing that same Stanley thermos in pink!

Julie January 10, 2009 at 15:16

I’m just becoming acquainted with quinoa so this is a good bit of inspiration. And I love (love, love!) your flask. I think I’d be much more likely to take my breakfast with me if I had a wonderful flask like that.

anardana January 10, 2009 at 17:15

Yum! Also – hello from Canada :)

Crabby McSlacker January 11, 2009 at 01:23

I still haven’t tried quinoa (been meaning to forever) but this may put me over the edge. Sounds like a great breakfast idea, and that picture looks so tempting!

Susan January 12, 2009 at 19:09

Thanks for leaving me a comment, it led me to your site. Love the whole concept, will be checking back regularly!

Sophie January 12, 2009 at 21:41

Cassie and Julie – I can highly recommend the Stanley thermos. Works much better than the [three] cheap plastic ones I had before it.
Hi anardana – nice to meet another Canadian blogger!
Crabby – quinoa is definitely worth a try – it’s a pretty forgiving grain to cook with which is always good
Susan – your blog is new to me too and I love your photos. Really beautiful!

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good? January 12, 2009 at 21:59

Oh, I like the clementines and cherry combo! I eat some grain/porridge type mixture every day, usually with raisins and cinammon, apples or bananas. Btw, I’ve tried red quinoa and just can’t love it nomatter now hard I try. Too earthy?

KimDaCook January 13, 2009 at 09:28

Just love this something so different yummy

Alejandra January 13, 2009 at 20:21

This look so tasty! And I love the bright colors in the photo!

joey January 14, 2009 at 10:05

This is a gorgeous breakfast! I have had quinoa porridge for breakfast and I love it :)

Hippolyra January 19, 2009 at 18:58

This sounds a great idea Sophie – I think that I will make this for breakfast tomorrow.
I also love the pink flask – and am coverting one – I do have a collection of bright pink kitchen accessories.

Paige Orloff January 20, 2009 at 13:13

This looks heavenly. I love quinoa, but have never made it for breakfast. My current grain obsession is kasha (toasted buckwheat) which I make for breakfast and dinner–it’s so quick and so satisfying (more so, I find, than oats—more fiber, maybe?) Anyway, great site, and can’t wait to dig around a bit more for more wonderful recipes and ideas.

Liberty February 5, 2009 at 00:55

That looks divine! And I love that it is ‘cooked’ over night. So convenient for groggy early commuters. =)

Sophie February 26, 2009 at 11:18

I just love quinoa, don’t you!! I love this as breakfast!!! Looks so appetizing!!
I just discovered your blog & I love it!! Many greetings from Brussels, Belgium!!

Master Caterer July 13, 2009 at 21:29

Will definately give this a bash. Thanks for the tip.

Crystal @ Pecan Nut Cracker July 15, 2011 at 15:20

I’m usually not much on oatmeal (just something about the texture of it) I might have to give this a try to see if it is more palatable to my taste-buds. It sounds good anyway. Thanks for sharing! Definitely a new recipe to add to my healthier lifestyle that I am attempting.

Restaurant Lover May 25, 2012 at 23:54

With fresh cherries this is a dream, keeps one feeling full all morning.

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