The weather has suddenly turned a little cooler here, and I am immediately craving a cooked breakfast. Enter quinoa porridge. Nuttier than it’s oat based counterpart, quinoa comes with an impressive list of nutritional benefits, which I have talked about here and here. Packed with protein, loaded with minerals, easy on the digestion, awesome!
Couple this with chamomile, a herb well known for its digestive benefits. It is soothing and calming to the digestive tract, helps relieve cramps, spasm or bloating, has a gentle action towards improving digestive function, and is also calming and nourishing to the nervous system – bonus! In practice it is a herb that I use a lot, but it can be just as effective made as a strong infusion (tea). It is also completely edible, and I like to add chamomile ‘dust’ regularly to my breakfast. (NB. Chamomile ‘dust’ is my name for the powdery leftovers at the bottom of a bag of chamomile flowers. Most chamomile tea bags contain mainly ‘dust’, so feel free to rip one open and scatter away.)
Ordinarily you would use water to cook a savoury quinoa, or milk for a sweeter or breakfast quinoa, so why not infuse your quinoa with herbs!? In this case I have used chamomile, but the world is your oyster – I was close to doing a rosehip version. I have also used coconut milk and spices in the mix, and what you are left with is a delicious, slightly nutty breakfast ready to be topped with your favourite additions. For extra tummy love I have topped with a good dose of chia seeds, which along with their spectacular nutritional profile, are a fabulous form of soluble fibre, which helps you to feel fuller for longer, soothes the digestive mucosa and works to normalise bowel function.
Chamomile Infused Spiced Quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup strong chamomile tea (if using loose flowers, brew 1/2 tbs in 3/4 cup water, or if using tea bags use 2 tea bags in 1/2 cup water. Allow to infuse for at least 10 minutes before using)
1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon
A good pinch of cardamom
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice if desired
1 star anise (optional)
1 inch peel of orange zest (optional)
1 tbs chia seeds, pistachios, raspberries etc and yoghurt or coconut yoghurt for topping.
Rinse the quinoa well and place into a small saucepan with the strained chamomile tea and coconut milk. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, sweetener, orange zest and star anise if using, cover, and simmer on low for around 12 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
Remove the orange zest and star anise, and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with yoghurt/coconut yoghurt, chia, nuts and seeds of your choice, and extra chamomile ‘dust’ for added tummy love!
This amount should serve 2 people, so either you can share, or be well prepared for the next day. It will also keep airtight in the fridge for 3-4 days, and can also be frozen.
So there you have a delicious, nourishing and therapeutic breakfast – how lovely! x