Golden Quinoa Porridge

Believe it or not, I look forward to the weather cooling down so that days can begin with a warm and comforting bowl of porridge. And not the stodgy Quaker instant-oats of my youth, carelessly micro-waved and drowned in brown sugar. We’re talking here about a satisfying bowl of whole grain cooked to creamy perfection and sweetened with winter squash, dried fruit and warming spices: the stuff of dreams (in my world). Give it a whirl and see how it makes you feel!

Yield: 1 serving

What you need:

  • 12 (untoasted) almonds, soaked overnight in water to cover
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, soaked if desired, washed and drained
  • approximately 1-1/2 cups water, divided (I never really measure)
  • 1” fresh turmeric root, peeled and chopped small
  • a slice of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped small
  • a couple of large pinches of cinnamon powder
  • a couple of small pinches of cardamom
  • a tiny pinch of salt
  • a handful or two of winter squash, 1” dice, about 1 cup
  • a tablespoon dried currants (or raisins)
  • freshly ground pepper to serve (optional)

What you do:

  1. Drain the almonds and rinse well. Put them in a blender or Magic Bullet type deal and add about 1 cup of water, the turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Blend about a minute, until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the quinoa to the spiced almond milk mixture. Buzz it in the blender 10 to 30 seconds depending on how broken up you want the quinoa (I like a few of the whole seeds still in there to add texture).
  3. Pour the mixture out into a small pot or saucepan. Rinse the blender out with an additional 1/2 cup of water or so. Add the squash cubes and currants to the pot.
  4. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, covered, and then turn it down to low, still covered. Simmer on low until tender and very creamy, stirring or whisking now and again to avoid things sticking on the bottom. It will be done in about 25 minutes but I like to let it go for 40 minutes or so so that it gets really soft and comforting.
  5. Remove from heat, let sit 10 minutes covered, and then serve – with a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper if desired. (The pepper is optional, but highly recommended.)

Variations:

  • Replace the quinoa with buckwheat or rice for a different taste and texture but utterly satisfying breakfast experience.
  • Add some toasted chopped almonds to the bowl when serving.
  • Replace the squash with chopped sweet potato, apple or pear for a sweeter dish.

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