Quinoa is a grain-like crop primarily grown for its edible seeds and closely related to spinach. It was first domesticated by the Andean peoples around 3000 years ago. Quinoa has been an important staple in the Andean cultures where the plant is indigenous but relatively obscure in the rest of the world. The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or "mother of all grains", and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season.
During the Spanish conquest of South America, the Spanish colonists scorned quinoa as "food for Indians", and even actively suppressed its cultivation, due to its status within indigenous religious ceremonies. In fact, the conquistadores forbade quinoa cultivation for a time, and the Incas were forced to grow wheat instead.
Today, quinoa is gaining popularity across the world as a "superfood". Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein. Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, is gluten-free and easy to digest.
For a quick and easy breakfast option to keep you going until lunch, prepare this the night before or up to 3 days ahead of time. You don't want to let it sit in your fridge for more than 3 days before eating it, due to the possibility of bacterial growth.
· 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
· 1 cup apple juice
· 1 cup water
· pinch sea salt (optional)
· 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
· 1-3 Tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
· 1/4 cup nut butter*
· 1/4- 1/3 cup fruit butter*
· 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional but delicious!)
· 1/4 -1/2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
Cook quinoa in water and apple juice for 20 minutes.
Once it's done, add in other ingredients and blend in a food processor until smooth. Put in fridge and enjoy cold or heat in the microwave for a warm and filling breakfast.
Makes 4 servings. Each serving is approximately 260 calories, 40 g of carbs, 8 g of fat, 5 g of protein, and 3 g of fiber.
* Try cashew, hazelnut, or almond butter or even Nutella for a chocolate treat. Fruit butter choices may include apple, pumpkin, raspberry. You can even use low sugar jams instead of fruit butter. The flavor combinations are endless!