On my recent trip to the States, I strangely (for me) had little interest in scoffing much in the way of chocolate and sugary stuff. For gluten avoiders however, the States is a perfect destination. The general interest and following of a whole range of 'health-driven' diets and the closeness to Mexico, means that you can always find gluten free menu options, or corn-based tortillas to feast on. A visit to the supermarket becomes a very exciting prospect...... I nearly over-topped the scales at check-in on my return journey with a suitcase stuffed full of soft white corn tortillas, Maseca (instant white corn) flour, and a whole variety of gluten free crackers, pretzels and cookies that I brought back for Miss GF to try.
Whatever the reasons for travelling abroad, for me, it is always an opportunity to discover new foods and to experience new ways to prepare, serve and eat already familiar ingredients. Sometimes, the least expected menu choices become the ones that top the 'must try and make when I get home' list. This is one such dish.
Our US journey took us to Utah and a town called Moab, which is the gateway to the popular national parks of Canyonlands and Arches. If you ever find yourself down that way, make absolutely sure to go there to see the amazing geographical wonders that nature has created.
Sight-seeing aside, you can also find some great healthy food. On recommendation, we ate a couple of meals (lunch and breakfast) at the Peace Tree Juice Cafe in Moab, which serves great nutritional, tasty and organic foods. Lunch consisted of a wonderful Apple, Walnut, Goats Cheese and Cranberry Salad...... But it was the breakfast which really bowled me over, not only for its natural simplicity of ingredients, but for its interesting combination of textures, flavours, colours, and its nourishment and ability to sustain me for hours.
So I share with you my (slightly more elaborate and amended version) of the Quinoa Breakfast Bowl, which I confess I have also eaten as lunch too on occasion since I got back.
The beauty of this dish, is that it requires very little preparation, so can be mixed together at the drop of a hat. If you pre-prepare your quinoa by cooking (without any seasoning, salt or sugar) and 'bulk'- storing in the fridge. you can have this prepped in 5 minutes (or less) in the morning. It is simply a case of adding dried fruit and nuts, a little coconut palm (or brown) sugar, honey or healthy natural sweetener of choice and then topping with some almond, coconut or alternative milk. Serve with hot or cold quinoa and milk..... the choice is yours!
For my bowl, I have picked fruit and nuts for their amazing vibrant, natural colours and complementary flavours. The original bowl that I had in Utah, used cranberries and walnuts. I have added blueberries and Iranian pistachios. I have also supplemented the brown sugar that was served at the Peace Tree for coconut palm sugar to ensure maximum unrefinement and an extra deep caramel flavour against the fruit and nuts.
I have tried the bowl with almond milk as well as coconut milk and also both hot and cold..... either way is great..... It's just a matter of personal preference. And you can pick or choose your fruit and nuts as the mood takes you too..... The fruit adds additional chewy character as well as natural colour, sweetness and a little contrasting tartness. The nuts will guarantee crunch and extra body and depending on your choice, a diversity of flavour including a hint of bitterness to compliment the caramel notes mingling from the coconut palm sugar.
Either way, this is a dish packed full of good stuff and full of slow-release energy to set you up for the day ahead.
Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wa') originates as an ancient South American staple which has grown massively in popularity in recent years (particularly in gluten free, vegetarian and health-aware circles), for its high protein content, as well as being a great source of slow-releasing carbohydrate (and therefore low-GI), fibre, calcium and other essential nutrients. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids and contains high levels of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients which may be potentially beneficial in the prevention and treatment of disease. And if that isn't enough, when cooked, it has a great texture and flavour and is amazingly versatile as an alternative to rice, couscous, bulgar wheat and ground as a gluten-free flour source.
If you use coconut or almond milk, this bowl is almost as virtuous as they come...... In addition to being gluten free, it is also dairy free, soya free, vegan and refined sugar free.
I am sharing this delicious Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with the following linkies :
Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes.
Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse.
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.
Cook Blog Share with Sneaky Veg.
Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum.
Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilkas Blog (and Marathons & Motivation).
Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too
Quinoa Breakfast Bowl (serve hot or cold)
cooked plain (unsalted) quinoa - hot or cold
handful dried cranberries
handful dried blueberries
handful walnuts (halved/rough chopped)
sprinkle Iranian pistachios
coconut palm sugar
coconut or almond milk - hot or cold
- Measure a portion of hot or cold quinoa into a bowl.
- Add some dried fruit, nuts and coconut palm sugar to taste and fold through.
- Pour over some (hot or cold) coconut or almond milk.
- Add more fruit, nuts, sugar and milk to taste on top as you wish.
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