My mother introduced me to quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) a few years ago. We mostly used it for savory dinner salads and I quickly became obsessed. This “new” grain is becoming more common place and I love it. When I have told people about quinoa for the first time they ask me what makes it different from all the other grains. The two main differences are that it is gluten-free (happy dance) and nutrient rich. I compared it to brown rice and quinoa has more protein and fiber, less carbohydrates and sodium and they are pretty even on calories. I have most commonly seen quinoa used in salads, soups, side dishes or the base to a stir-fry or curry. These pretty much all fall under the umbrella of savory dishes and I began to wonder what kind of quinoa dishes I could make for breakfast. I decided to try a quinoa fruit salad. My first attempt was… not bad, but I knew I could do better. My second attempt was… better, but still not quite right. Thanks to my ever-salt-and-sweet-ratio-conscious-husband I think I finally got it right the third time. You will have to let me know what you think:-)
I used an orange (or course), a peach, a banana and some strawberries as my fruit this time. In the past I have also used blueberries, raspberries, apples and mango. Really you can use whatever you like or whatever you have on hand. That said, I was pretty happy with this combination.
I want to clarify that the strawberries do not have a glaze on them. I only had frozen strawberries on hand and I had them at the perfect stage of thawing and then ran into some camera difficulties. An hour later they looked like this:-) While frozen strawberries definitely have their time and place, for this recipe I would use fresh ones.
In order to get the sweet/salt ratio correct I did two things. First I cooked my quinoa in chicken broth, not water. I did water last time because it seemed weird to mix fruit with chicken broth. What I discovered is that cooking it in the broth doesn’t give it a strong chicken flavor just enough flavor and sodium to balance with the fruit. The second change I made was to use pistachio nuts instead of the sliced almonds I used on my first two tries. The combination is a keeper:-)
This is a great summer recipe. We have some many wonderful fresh fruit options. It is a heavier meal than a smoothie and is perfect for high activity days when your body needs that extra fuel. So if you have a crazy day or a really intense workout planned, please treat your body to the nutrients it needs:-)
Quinoa Fruit Salad
1 C uncooked Quinoa
2 C Chicken broth
1 C Strawberries, sliced
1/2 C Pistachio nuts
Cinnamon and Agave to taste
- Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add in quinoa. Once it returns to a boil place the burner on low and cover. Let is simmer for 15- minutes or until all the liquid is gone. Stir occasionally. Once it is cooked remove the pan from the burner and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Peel and cut up fruit into small bite-sized chunks. Roughly chop pistachio nuts and set aside until the quinoa is ready.
- After the quinoa has cooled pour it into your serving bowl, add the fruit and pistachio nuts and then mix them together.
- You may add the cinnamon and agave to the entire dish or allow each person to add it to their bowl. (Remember you can always add more, but it is a lot harder to take it back if you add too much)
I decided to season the whole bowl. I did a few dashes of cinnamon and a quick drizzling of agave and that was great for my family.
Enjoy! Let me know how it goes!