Perhaps it is the nostalgia of remembering my beloved Cream of Wheat breakfasts as a child, or maybe it is the simple ingredients that provide the perfect amount of fulfillment and flavor for me each morning, but this Cream of Quinoa recipe makes me eager and excited to get out of bed in the morning! Although I will always hold a place for Cream of Wheat in my heart, I am very happy to have evolved this recipe into a much more nutritious, whole grain, and healthy meal to start my day.
Quinoa has become a fairly popular grain (although technically a seed) over the past couple decades. There is not much wonder why, considering its pleasantly mild taste, slightly crunchy texture, and unbeatable nutrition content. Quinoa contains much less carbs, starches, and calories when compared to some other grains such as rice and oats, and tends to leave you feeling light and energized rather than heavy and weighed down. Although quinoa is generally classified as a grain, it is actually a great source of lean, plant-based protein, making this an even better option for your morning meal!
To size it up a bit, here is a more thorough list of some of the health properties of quinoa:
Health Benefits of Quinoa
- Tridoshic food (balancing for Vata, Pitta, and Kapha)
- Generally easy-to-digest (especially when soaked, sprouted, or fermented)
- Gluten-free wholegrain
- Complete protein source (contains all of the nine essential amino acids)
- Good source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, folate (B9), and vitamin E
- Good source of minerals magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium
- Great source of fiber
- Promotes healthy gut flora; great prebiotic source!
- Anti-inflammatory food
- Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids to support graceful aging, cancer prevention, and healthy immunity
- Supports healthy metabolic activity
- Supports cardiovascular health
- May help decrease cholesterol levels (with regular consumption)
- May help balance blood sugar and appetite levels
- Low on the glycemic index (53)
- Beneficial part of a weight loss diet (in moderation, of course!)
What Makes This Recipe Tridoshic?
Quinoa is just about my favorite grain, as it is versatile and balanced by nature. Besides all of the health-promoting properties listed above, quinoa contains many subtle qualities that help to regulate all three doshas in the system. Its warm nature makes it not too cooling for Vata and Kapha, but not too heating for Pitta. Its light nature makes it an excellent grain option for Kapha types, while its easy-to-digest, yet high protein and nutrition profile make it nourishing for Vata. Everyone is different in their needs of course, but generally speaking, this tiny little “grain” is a pretty amazing food source.
Other than the oh-so-balanced quinoa, this recipe is further harmonized by using a blend of nut milk and water to give it a little creaminess without being too heavy or congestive for Kapha. The (optional) egg whites are another tridoshic food, and add a hefty amount of low calorie, lean protein, making it a great breakfast addition for sustaining your energy and appetite until mid-day. Finally the ghee helps to cool down the warmth of the cinnamon, and the Breakfast Spices provide a blend of warming and cooling spices that will awaken your taste buds, your digestive fire, and your mind!
To Soak Or Not To Soak??
This is a great question, and it really depends on the individual. I personally am a believer in soaking my beans and grains before consumption for multiple reasons. It helps to aid in digestion by beginning the breakdown process and removing the enzyme inhibitors that naturally occur in these food types. It further helps to remove anti-nutrients that are commonly found in most legumes and grains. These anti-nutrients can prevent the absorption of many important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc. By soaking your grains ahead of time, you will ensure the best absorption of the nutrients that the quinoa provides, while also reducing the workload for your digestion.
With all of this being said however, soaking can be a bit of a time strain and discourage people from eating healthy, fresh cooked foods. If you are short on time and can digest the quinoa without the soaking process, it may encourage you to cook a healthy meal each morning instead of reaching for that piece of toast or cold cereal and milk. Or worse yet, skipping breakfast all together and settling for a cup of coffee on the go.
Remember, none of us are perfect, and we must be realistic with our daily routine and expectations. All of these recommendations are on a spectrum, and if your options are to whip up a bowl of unsoaked quinoa porridge, or eat a bowl of cold cereal, then please choose the porridge. I guarantee you will not regret!
Tridoshic Cream of Quinoa Porridge Recipe
- Doshic Effect: Vata ↓, Pitta ↓, Kapha ↓
- Servings: 2
- Soaking Time (optional): 12 to 24 hours
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
- Medium sauce pan
- Spice grinder or blender
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups nut or seed milk, ideally homemade (try our Almond Milk Recipe or our Hemp Milk Recipe!)
- ⅔ cup quinoa
- 4 egg whites (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder (use ½ teaspoon for Pitta)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ginger powder*
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder*
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder*
- Pinch of clove powder*
- Pinch of nutmeg powder*
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil (omit for Kapha)
- 2 to 4 teaspoons maple syrup (optional; use honey for Kapha)
- Splash nut milk
- Cinnamon, for garnish
*Spices can be replaced with ½ to 1 teaspoon of our Ayurvedic Breakfast Spices.
Discover some additional topping ideas below!
Optional Soaking Instructions:
The main difference with soaking the grains beforehand will be to use ½ to 1 cup less water. Please keep this in mind when beginning the cooking process!
1. Add the uncooked quinoa to a glass jar. Cover the quinoa in water until the water is about double the height of the quinoa.
2. Let the quinoa soak overnight.
3. Strain the quinoa when you are ready to make the porridge. Discard the soaking water.
Quinoa Porridge Instructions:
1. Place the water and nut milk in a medium sauce pan and bring to just below a boil.
NOTE: If you have soaked your quinoa, you will not need as much liquid. I would suggest to start with 1½ cups each of water and nut milk. You can always add more liquid in step #4 if needed.
2. While waiting for your liquid to boil, place the quinoa into a spice grinder (or blender) and grind it into a fine powder.
NOTE: If you have soaked your quinoa, you will want to make sure your grinder can handle moist foods. If not, you can take the quinoa and a cup of the nut milk (from the recipe, not additional) and add it to your blender. Blend on high for 30 to 45 seconds or until a creamy, paste-like texture is reached.
3. Once almost boiling, reduce the heat to a low setting. Slowly pour the ground quinoa into the pan in small increments while simultaneously stirring continuously. Stir in about ⅓ cup at a time, making sure to stir out any lumps as they form. If a hand blender is available, this can save you time by simply pouring in the quinoa all at once and blending out any chunks.
NOTE: If you used the nut milk and quinoa blender method, you can simply pour the entire quinoa paste mixture into the pan and stir well.
4. Cover the pan, leaving a small crack to avoid overflow. Cook on a low simmer for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the quinoa is fully soft and fairly thick), stirring every 1 to 2 minutes. If the porridge becomes too thick, add in more water or nut milk by the tablespoon until a better consistency is reached.
5. While cooking, whisk 4 egg whites (if using) together in a small bowl.
6. Add in the egg whites (if using) and stir briskly for 1 minute. Cover and cook for an additional minute. If egg whites are not being added, then simply cook for an additional 2 minutes (10 to 12 minutes total).
7. Once your porridge is ready, turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the warm burner. Add in the spices, vanilla, and ghee. Stir well and replace the cover, letting it sit for 2 minutes.
8. Serve into two bowls. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of maple syrup (if using) and a splash of nut milk to each serving. Top the porridge with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
9. Enjoy this tridoshic porridge as an energizing breakfast on a cool fall or winter morning, or enjoy it all year long (I do!)
This porridge does not keep well as a leftover if you have added the egg whites. If you are cooking for one, it will be best to cut the recipe in half, or save half of the porridge in a glass tupperware after the initial 8 to 10 minute cooking has been completed, but before adding in the egg whites. You can then reheat your leftovers the following morning and stir in the egg whites (if using) straightaway. Stirring frequently, heat on low until the porridge is hot and the egg whites have been cooked thoroughly.
Optional Topping Additions
- Morning Energy Mix (you can find this yummy recipe in my Ayurvedic cookbook)
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cacao nibs
- Chopped walnuts, almonds, cashews (try toasted too!)
- Chopped dates