Monday, May 20, 2013

apple, lemon, cinnamon and ginger quinoa porridge

This is my new favorite breakfast, so delicious. I couldn't wait to share it with you. The recipe came about because I am steering clear of oats for a while (I feel sooo sleepy right after I eat oats) but with the weather so crisp and cool here I wanted to eat porridge.

Quinoa was the answer. I looked around the kitchen for flavours to add and gathered lemon, ginger and cinnamon - all perfect winter medicine foods. Ginger and cinnamon for their warming properties, and I find anything with a lemony flavour to be so uplifting it is a great detoxifier.

Now, even though I said quinoa was the answer I have recently learned that for some quinoa is not that easy to digest. This was news to me! I was lucky enough to be invited to a cooking class at Feast Australia and it was there that Rachel van de Bosch chef and former naturopath shared with the class the dark side of quinoa. Quinoa is actually a seed not a grain that has a naturally occurring coating called saponin. Rachel explains, "It a bit of contentious issue, some saponins are good for you (help control cholesterol) and others can be mildly toxic, like thanes in quinoa.  Most suppliers would thoroughly wash them during processing, but just to be sure I always boil and strain my quinoa now rather than cooking by absorption. You will loose water soluble vitamins cooking this way but I make up for it with fresh veggies. The other option is to give it a good wash it under running water before cooking."

So while there is much to love about quinoa because of its versatility and its nutritional value containing essential amino acids, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and iron perhaps if you have weak digestion it might be a good food to go easy on.

I enjoyed this breakfast on a rainy saturday morning while River and Sol played in their pyjamas til lunchtime and I drank a pot of good chai. All. To. Myself!

Apple, Lemon, Cinnamon and Ginger quinoa porridge


1/2 cup quinoa (I used tri-colour quinoa that I buy in the health section at my local supermarket)
1.5 cups of water
1 cinnamon quill
1/2 an apple
the zest of one small lemon
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Wash the quinoa thoroughly.
Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil.
Simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked (you can tell because you will see an outer ring and the centre will look translucent.)

Serve with your choice of milk and if you like it sweeter add some honey. Try it first before adding sweetener because the cinnamon gives it a lovely natural sweetness. I also added a few chopped walnuts once it was cooked. There are endless other flavours you could try. Write your favorites in the comments.

Happy monday xx


  1. Hi Nikki!

    I make a Quinoa and Millet Porridge sometimes (Here's the 'recipe'

    I think I'll try your recipe and include some extra during cooking rather than as toppings.

    Also, I was told by an employee at my local health food store that generally, Tasmanian Quinoa is not washed during it's growing/packaging process in order to help keep the cost down and to make sure I give it a good 'scrub' before cooking. I tend to err on the side of caution and cook any Quinoa I eat.

    I hope your boys feel better soon! Cheers, Luna. :)

  2. This sounds delicious. Oat porridge makes me sleepy too. I rather like quinoa, but my kids aren't too fussed...but they'll eat it in a slice I make (using quinoa flakes).

    1. Good to know I'm not alone Michelle in the sleepy stakes, My boys aren't quinoa fans either,,,unless I use the flakes in a chocolate cake!

  3. yum that does look amazing. I was on a quinoa porridge kick a year or so ago and then all of a sudden after a week or so, i just couldn't stomach it anymore, and i think this post explains why that happened, thank you. I don't however react the same way when I cook savoury quinoa, hmm, the process is a little different though, maybe that's it.
    I recently read an article about how Bolivians are now unable to afford quinoa (quinoa predominately comes from Bolivia) because of the increased demand and exportation to the west. We buy Tasmanian quinoa but this Bolivian situation is a complex scenario as the increased demand of quinoa has led to a lot more money coming into Bolivia and to Bolivian farmers, but I guess, like all products we should hopefully making sure that it is fair trade, with the money going to the right places. Just thought you might be interested. xxx

    1. Thank you Jay for sharing this info, the food miles had been on my mind and I think that is another reason I don't eat quinoa all that often. I was fascinated and sort of amazed to read that in South America the quinoa saponins are used to make soap and detergent!! Any wonder it is a bit harsh on tummies. Once in a while this is a delicious breakfast and yes agree totally that it is up to all of us to shop with awareness about where our food is coming from and who is benefiting (or missing out) from its sale. xx

  4. That sounds seriously delicious. I'm thinking I'll make a batch tomorrow.

    I always rinse my quinoa well, but I do cook by absorption. I may try boiling it, as you suggest, as I will be feeding it to Oscar and Nora as well. The last thing I want to do is upset their little digestive systems. x

    1. Boiling sounds like a good idea for little tummies, I hope you enjoy all the delicious flavours as much as I did x

  5. You inspired me! I just made your recipe and ate it out in the hammock under a tree, thanks for the health and the lovely taste! Liane :)


Thanks for your comments. I read every one!

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