Healthy Breakfast: Warm Banana Nut Quinoa

The chill in the air tells me that the family is ready for warm breakfasts as we head into the longer, busier days of Fall!  Breakfast burritos, omelettes, and baked egg cups happen weekly--but, sometimes we look to skip the meat and make something a little different for breakfast.  Oatmeal is often my go-to ingredient for parfaits, smoothies, gluten-free pancakes, or jazzed-up, warm oatmeal creations.  I recently discovered quinoa.

Cooked quinoa topped with banana slices and walnut pieces

I am slowly learning to cook with quinoa and to adapt some of our recipes to include it from time to time.  Breakfast--so far--has been a wonderful experience as I incorporate quinoa into favorite recipes--like this Warm Banana Nut Quinoa recipe idea.

Ingredients for Warm Breakfast Banana Nut Quinoa

1 c. Quinoa (I buy organic Quinoa in bulk from my local grocer)
2 c. Vanilla Flavored Almond Milk  (No sugar added or Regular) (I use Silk)
1 Tbsp. Honey (I buy local honey--currently, I am using honey from Conrad Hive & Honey in Canal Winchester, Ohio)
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Large Banana (sliced)
1/4. c. Sliced Walnuts

Instructions for Warm Banana Nut Quinoa
Prepare the Quinoa.  While rinsing/soaking the dry quinoa is somewhat optional--I suggest rinsing and lightly rubbing the quinoa grains in a fine strainer beneath cold water for about 5 minutes before cooking.  This rinsing and tossing process helps remove the bitter coating often noted on unrinsed quinoa.  If you purchase a box or bag of commercial quinoa, like this truRoots Organic Quinoa , it's often already pre-washed and ready to use.  Some people really do not notice the coating "taste"--and prefer to skip the rinsing process-and that's perfectly fine if that's your preference.

Cook the Quinoa.  Place the Vanilla Almond Milk and the quinoa into a large saucepan and give a stir to break apart any clumps of quinoa.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the grains are tender.   You want the quinoa to remain moist--so it may be necessary to add a splash or two more of the almond milk or water during cooking to avoid clumping.  Stir in the honey, cinnamon, vanilla and sliced bananas.  Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Garnish and Serve.  Top with chopped nuts, additional sliced bananas and cinnamon if desired.  Serve warm.

Serves 2. 

Bowl of cooked quinoa with sliced bananas and walnuts

Mama's Notes on Making this Meal Work for Busy Families...
--Double, Triple or even Quadruple the recipe for multiple servings.  But, remember--the more quinoa you are cooking; the more likely you are to need to add additional liquid during cooking.  Not sure how much liquid to add?  If the the quinoa thickens too much--plan to add 1/4 cup of milk or water for every additional 5 minutes of cooking needed!

--Make ahead and reheat the Warm Banana Nut Quinoa.  Since quinoa takes a little longer to cook that those old, quick-cooking oats; I will make 8-10 servings at a time--and package them away into single-serve, storage containers for use over a few days for the whole family.  I add a splash or almond milk or water before reheating quickly on either the stovetop--or before sending it off to work with my husband for reheating in the microwave.

--Adjust those spices to taste.  This recipe is so easy--with so few ingredients--it is super easy to adapt things to taste in individual serving bowls.  Whether you need more cinnamon, more honey--or less vanilla--or a combination of changes--it's easy to adapt to suit your family's tastes.

--Rinsing the quinoa makes a difference in the taste for me.  I even rinse the pre-washed quinoa--and rub the grains together to force off any bitter aftertaste. 

--Quinoa has a "different" texture--and I think it's easy to love it or hate it.  I prefer quinoa warm.   My middle daughter notes a food's texture long before its taste.  She and I both prefer the warm, ball-like texture of quinoa to cooked oats or other grains.  While my husband loves the taste of the recipes, finds himself a little put-off by the ball-like texture (even when it's tender and fully cooked), if he thinks about it.   The youngest daughter compares quinoa to eating Orbeez . She doesn't like quinoa more than oatmeal--for breakfast--but, does like it in cold salads.  My husband hates it in cold salads.  SO--give quinoa a chance in a variety of recipes.  If you have tried it at some point..and hated it...try it again in another recipe.  If you love it for breakfast--but, hate it in salads...try it again in another savory or dinner recipe.  It is a little different.

Do you have a favorite quinoa breakfast recipe?  Share a link--we'd love to try it!

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