Sunday, February 24

Breakfast Quinoa, Canyons, and Bears, Oh My!

Four years ago Jeff and I took a memorable road trip through New Mexico and Arizona on the way to the Grand Canyon. I don't know what I loved more, the awe-inspiring landscapes or the outstanding cuisine we enjoyed along the way.

Of all the meals we savored, breakfasts were the most memorable. We had spicy veggie burritos, creamy skillet eggs with chiles, and crunchy blue corn French toast; each morning got better and better.

One morning we rose extra early to go for a hike. We drove to a trail on the outskirts of Flagstaff -- a small yet vibrant college town with great bookstores, niche restaurants, and lots of students wearing hemp clothing. After a grueling hike in which we encountered brown bears and fossil remains (alright, maybe not bears, but we did see several freakishly large squirrels), we made it back to town famished.

We hit the first breakfast spot we found. An enticing aroma of freshly roasted coffee lured us straight into the front door of Macy's European Coffeehouse, Bakery & Vegetarian Restaurant, a quirky eatery offering a delicious array of healthful vegetarian dishes.

Despite my gnawing hunger, in typical fashion, I couldn't decide what to order. As I was debating, a groggy voice behind me said, "Get the breakfast couscous. It's the best thing here." I turned around, and the voice came from a young guy who had an eerie resemblance to Leo from That '70's Show, with long hair and John Lennon glasses.

"Really? I was thinking of getting the steamed eggs," I replied. "Oh, yeah. The steamed eggs. Those are like the best thing here." He wasn't helping. Thinking quickly before we went into hypoglycemic shock, Jeff ordered both the couscous and the steamed eggs for us to share.

As we were leaving, I noticed another guy eating something that looked like a burrito. I said, "Hey, that looks good, what is it?" He replied, "The breakfast burrito. It's the best thing here, man."

Since this is a high-protein, high-fiber breakfast that is great for a post-hike boost, I'm sending it to Suganya of the beautiful Tasty Palettes who would like your healthy breakfast ideas for this month's Weekend Breakfast Blogging.

Though Macy's used couscous with apricots, raisins, and almonds, feel free to substitute any dried fruits and nuts you prefer. Since I love, "the super grain," quinoa, which is higher in protein, I often use it instead of couscous. My current favorite combination is dried cherries, raisins, and pecans, but I also recommend dried cranberries, raisins, and pistachios.

Breakfast Quinoa with Dried Cherries, Raisins, and Pecans
Makes 2 main or 4 side servings
Yields about 2 1/2- 3 cups
Print recipe only here.

1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon Smart Balance light buttery spread, melted
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup dried cherries
1/8 cup mixed raisins
1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted

To toast the pecans, place in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan handle in a back-and-forth a few times for about 2 minutes, or until nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant.

In a small, heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Pour the uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve; rinse and drain. (This helps remove some slight natural bitterness from the grains). Add the rinsed quinoa to the sauce pan, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa absorbs the water, puffs up, and turns translucent. If the water has evaporated before the quinoa is cooked, just add a bit more water. They should maintain a slight crunch when cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium-low heat, add butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until melted. Pour over cooked quinoa, and add dried fruit and nuts. Toss until combined. Serve hot or at room temperature.

You might also like these other healthy breakfasts:

Finally, be sure to check out Ann's delicious Breakfast Couscous and Michelle's Warm Quinoa Breakfast Cereal.

Save This Page on


Cakelaw said...

Man, that looks good - I reckon that's the best thing here.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Three cheers for quinoa!!! So glad you enjoy it even for breakfast!!

Anonymous said...

Ouinoa breakfast! Oh that good..... very good! I'm definitely an oatmeal and fruit and nut girl, but I think I'll try quinoa next time! Great suggestion! I took a drive from Southern Cali through the Southwest just a few months ago. You're right, the landscape is just gorgeous, and there's always good food to explore!

Anonymous said...

oh quinoa, most underused and underappreciated of greens! i love mine with the same flavors, although i usually sub dried cranberries for the cherries.

Suganya said...

Flagstaff is a beautiful town. But I haven't visited the eatery you have mentioned. Quinoa is my favorite grain too. Thanks for the entry, Susan.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Awesome breakfast dish. A while back I discovered amaranth for my breakfast and have been freaking out on that. Quinoa is still new and I am experimenting with it. This is a great dish to carry on my experimentations LOL!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A healthy breakfast! Nice!

I'd love to visit Arizona and New Mexico!



Anonymous said...

I love quinoa-- it's the best thing here! :-)

Seriously though, I may have to try the super grain version. Looks fab!

brandin + kari said...

Everyone is putting breakfast quinoa on their blogs! I just posted about it, and Dani from also has been doing a feature on quinoa. I had never even eaten it until just this weekend.

Asha said...

On Sunday, we went to a Health foods market and bought Quinoa and Teff flour. I was so happy ti find that store but very very expensive too. Atleast you get what you want!:))
Great entry, I will make a soup with Quinoa for Lisa!:)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I've never worked with quinoa before (not sure if I've had it, I don't think I have...), but that looks like a really great and tasty way to start the day off right!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to improve my breakfast habits (like actually eating breakfast) so I'm adding this to my list of breakfasts to audition.

Anonymous said...

Delicious breakfast! Too bad I don't have the patience (and time) for preparing an elaborate breakfast.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I feel like I'm out of the loop for never having eaten quinoa... That would be a delicious recipe to start with, Susan!

Chibog in Chief said...

oh i love the combination: dried cherries, raisins and pecan..i can already bake a good cereal cake out of it!! yummy btw, i would love to see grand canyon too!! maybe next time it will be part of our itinerary :-)

Stella said...

And I feel even more out because I can't get quinoa in Mauritius!!!
You're recipe's a winner Susan:)

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Yum. I love breakfast. Absolutely love it. It's hands-down my favorite meal of the day. I'll have to try this recipe.

I assume you've indulged in a morning meal at Hash House A Go Go? My mouth is watering just thinking about their coconut-mango flapjacks.

Rachael said...

I grew up in Arizona, and boy do I miss the spicy/flavorful food. Phoenix was a bad place to be a vegetarian, but Flagstaff is full of wonderful, funky, local eateries that are veg friendly.

This Quinoa sounds lovely! I've hard of people eating it for breakfast but I couldn't quite get inspired to make it that way myself. This recipe will do the trick - I'll be making this tomorrow morning!

RecipeGirl said...

Mmmmmm... I've been looking for some interesting things to do with Quinoa!

Deborah said...

Sounds delicious! I've driven through Flagstaff many times, but have never stopped for more than gas.

Annie said...

It looks great! I would have never thought of eating quinoa for breakfast.

Actually, I have never cooked it before, but I have eaten it in a boxed cereal. Does that count?? ;)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I absolutely agree about breakfasts in the Southwest -- maybe it's the air, but breakfast always tastes so much better there. I've never thought of quinoa for breakfast -- this is a great idea.

Madame K said...

This sounds so good, Susan. I love quinoa any which way, and I'm thinking breakfast-style might be next to try...thanks!

Also, great going on your NPR writing - I haven't checked in with you in a while and it was nice news!


MeloMeals said...

I love seeing sweet quinoa dishes... and breakfast and sweet go hand in hand... YUM!

Katy said...

Oh yum, it's like oatmeal but extra delicious! I will definitely have to think about using quinoa in my breakfast dishes!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Yum! Breakfast of champions, and even good for warding off freakishly large squirrels!

glamah16 said...

Iteresting. I just discovered Quina and I like it a lot. This is a great breakfast.

Amy said...

Quinoa is definitely on my list of things to cook. I've never tried it before but I'll pick up a box next time I'm at TJs. Looking forward to making this for breakfast. Yum!

Manggy said...

When I read the title I thought there'd be vegetables in the breakfast quinoa, haha! I've not tried quinoa before-- it's only offered in health food shops here. You're certainly making me very curious!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

cakelaw-I reckon you're right. ;)

gretchen-Hip, hip, hooray! :)

joy-I'm an oatmeal girl too, but sometimes it's nice to have a change, you know?

michelle-I like dried cranberries too.

suganya-I hope you check out Macy's next time you're in Flagstaff. It's worth a trip.

meeta-I love amaranth too! But I've only had it in savory dishes.

rosa-It's spectacular to see.


anticiplate-I'm sure you'll be eating it a lot more frequently. Isn't it delicious?

asha-Mmmm...looking forward to your soup.

mike-I hope you give it a try. It's delicious.

julie-Didn't your mother tell you breakfast was the most important meal of the day? ;)

linda-You could make it over the weekend and eat it during the week.

patricia-You've gotta get in the quinoa loop. It's wonderful!

dhanggit-It's hard to describe its beauty in words. You just have to experience it.

valentina-No quinoa? Oh, no. :(

kelly-Hash House has the BEST French toast with griddled bananas I have ever eaten. The BEST.

rachael-I hope you like it! Thanks for stopping by.

recipegirl-This might be what you've been looking for.

deborah-Next time, get the gas,then go to Macy's to re-fuel your body.

annie-Well, you get half credit for it. You've gotta make the real thing to get full credit. ;)

lydia-I hope you try it.

karen-I appreciate that. Thanks.

melody-It's just too versatile not to enjoy for breakfast.

katy-I'm an oatmeal gal most days, so this is a tasty change.

tw-Wheaties has got nothing on this. ;)


amy-I use TJ's quinoa and just love it.

manggy-Go buy some! Right now!

Cakespy said...

Wow, this looks wonderful! I'd have it for lunch too! I am a quinoa junkie.

Cris said...

I was expecting vegetables too, this looks good Susan! I love Jerry's, oops, heheheeh Jeff's blog, I read it often.

Emily said...

Wow, this quinoa sounds groovy.
And far out.
I've been trying to hunt quinoa down, but have been unable to find it. I might have to buy it online.

I don't know if this top a bowl of Rice Krispies with strawberries, though.

Anonymous said...

If you go back to New Mexico, go to the Abiquiu Cafe at the Abiquiu Inn (50 miles outside Santa Fe) and have their Tamale Cake Napoleans...I've been trying to replicate them for 6 months. People love what I've come up with but I know it's not even close to theirs.

NĂºria said...

Hola Susan! First time I hear from Quinoa, but not the first to listen about Grand Canyon!!! How I wish I had enough money and time to do such a journey!!! :D

Suzana said...

Yummy quinoa! Susan, what a healthy and tasty breakfast - I'll definitely have to try quinoa for breakfast.

Kajal@aapplemint said...

quinoa , is something that is still on my to eat list ! i just cant find some around here.

sunita said...

This sounds so good...I'm still looking out for inspiration with quinoa...this is one great way of having it...thanks Susan.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

cakespy-It's great for lunch. I know.

cris-Hmmm...maybe I should change the title. He'll be so happy to hear that! Thanks!

emiline-There was something special about those mornings with the little snap, crackle, and pop guys.

kitchen trove-Wow! Thanks so much! I'll have to remember that. It sounds fabulous.

nuria-It's really worth saving up for.

suzana-I hope you do.

kate-Maybe you can order it online?

sunita-I'm so happy to hear that!

Anonymous said...

We happen to be traveling to the Grand Canyon now and we've enjoyed eating and hanging out at some really great places. It's so much fun to make something from your travels - the best souvenir, I think.

Anonymous said...

As I sit here eating my morning oatmeal (it's freezing in Brooklyn, NY this morning), I stumbled upon this post and thought... hmmmm, what a nice twist on what I'm eating right now! Healthy too... You could even make it a savory version too (I'm always thinking of ways to make it more fattening, I guess!). Either way, a nice base for some versatile recipes. - Amy @

Annemarie said...

heh - just this morning when I was having my oatmeal/quinoa flake/walnut/raisin/linseed cereal, I thought: god, people would think I was such a freak if they saw this.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

christine-Oh, have a fabulous time!

amy-You could definitely make it savory--I've added pork to it for a lunch, but then I added lemon and herbs too.

annemarie-Well, the linseed is a little bit freaky. ;)

Lisa Turner said...

Ah, quinoa, the king of the grain world. Lovely recipe. Noted.

Jack Etsweiler said...

Even with rinsing you can't eliminate the legume taste of (at least red) Quinoa. I toasted unrinsed Quinoa in butter in a heavy saucepan. The flavor and aroma are amazing. Slowly add your usual proportion of stock or water once the Quinoa is all brown and wonderful. I was making my partner an Italian sausage and White Cheddar casserole and it was a big hit. I see it with dried fruit soaked in wine as a savory side, or with dark chocolate (like my favorite, Trader Joe's Pound Plus Dark bar) like a deconstructed Rice Krispies Treat.

Unknown said...

I tried this last weekend. I changed a few things, I hope you don't mind the artistic license. Here how it came out

Thanks for the blog!