lemon jelly

Maple Quinoa Porridge
July 2, 2008, 12:23 am
Filed under: food, recipes | Tags: ,

There’s this notion that philosophers are an impractical bunch who are too preoccupied with figuring out whether Q follows from P to see that there’s a very real world right in front of them that usually doesn’t coincide neatly with their theories. It’s a silly notion, of course – you can’t do philosophy in any meaningful sort of way without having something to philosophise about – but, there are occasions when even good theory doesn’t play out well in practice.

My first experience with quinoa [pronounced keen-wa] was one of those occasions. For those of you who don’t know, quinoa is a fabulously nutritious pseudocereal loved by vegans and vegetarians for its high protein, iron, and zinc content. It’s not a challenge to cook – basic preparation involves boiling in a 2:1 ratio as you would rice – and though it has a distinctively nutty flavour, it’s still fairly versatile.

All of this was very good in theory – lots of excellent nutrients, no animal suffering involved – but I may have been a little overzealous trying to put quinoa into practice. I accidentally cooked far more than I had intended, forgetting that things tend to expand in water, and ended up trying to fit quinoa into my meals for a week. There were some tell-tale signs of gastrointestinal unhappiness as the week went on, but I really didn’t want the quinoa to go to waste, so I went on being creative with it. By Saturday, however, I was curled up in bed wishing that the world would just go away. Now, I’m not at all sure that my weekend of nausea and gastrointestinal rebellion had anything to do with the quinoa, but I’ve avoided it ever since.

After a month of quinoa phobia, however, I decided that enough was enough. Having another easy and inexpensive option for nutrient-rich meals would be worth one last effort. This morning, then, I put a simple quinoa porridge recipe to the test. It’s been fifteen hours, and I’m still quite alive. I think that that’s a victory.

Maple Quinoa Porridge

Adapted from a recipe originally printed in the Toronto Star.

Note: If you can help it, don’t skip out on the cardamom pods. They really make this recipe what it is. While the original recipe calls for dried apricots and figs, I didn’t have either on hand, so I substituted dried cranberries for one serving and raisins for another. I found that I actually prefer the porridge without any fruit. There are delicate flavours in it worth appreciating without any sort of garnish.

Addendum: The recipe I posted here originally called for 3 tbsp + more for drizzling maple syrup, but subsequent breakfasts have led me to believe that even 2 tbsp makes the porridge sweet enough, so I’ve adjusted the measurements accordingly below. Also, I’ve discovered that fresh blueberries work wonderfully with this porridge and don’t upstage the other flavours. 2008-07-10

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp maple syrup + more for drizzling
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp vanilla soy milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh or dried fruit (optional)
  • a sprinkling of chopped almonds
  1. Combine quinoa, water, salt, and cardamom pods in a medium saucepan over high heat, cover, and boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed most of the water.
  2. Stir cinnamon and 3 tbsp of maple syrup into quinoa, then simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Remove cardamom pods.
  3. Add fruit and soymilk, then remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes to thicken.
  4. Serve warm, sprinkled with almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Serves two.


5 Comments so far
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Not specific to this post, rather a link to some kickass food photography:


Comment by ofcansandjars

Thanks for the link! I’ve definitely seen some of his stuff while browsing through the NY Times archives. I recognise the rhubarb stalk at the beginning of the slideshow.

Comment by Katie

I just realized that the link I offered doesn’t have the pictures that attracted me in the first place – and sooo: http://kitsunenoir.com/blog/2008/06/30/the-amazing-photos-of-mitchell-feinberg/#more-1267

Comment by ofcansandjars

Wow, that first image puts my new cake photo to shame, but, hey, I can settle for delicious cake and amateur photography.

Comment by Katie

I like this recipe! I didn’t have some of the stuff, like the maple syrup actually, but I have cooked up the quinoa as specified and dumped in blueberries and raspberries and it is a great way to begin the day:) Thanks!

Comment by Megan

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