My first taste of quinoa was midway up the Inca Trail in Peru in 2007 at the hand of some less than imaginative cook/porter who I’m guessing was hired based on his ability to run up and down the mountain in sandals and not for his cooking creativity.
Don’t get me wrong, after suffering hardcore from the altitude, I would have gladly handed over my life savings to have someone carry my stuff up the mountain had I not thankfully had the accidental foresight to book a trek with porters. I am beyond thankful to those tough men from sparing me the trauma of having to carrying it myself.
Anyone who has slogged it up the Inca Trail will attest to the sheering strength and stamina of those porters. Keg of gas strapped to your back with rope? No problem. Throw a basket on top with live animals in it? Too easy.
So the endless meals of quinoa stew, hot slurpy quinoa drink, quinoa porridge, quinoa rice, were luxuries not to be scoffed at. Nonetheless in between bouts of vomiting and dizziness, trying to force the tasteless muck down my throat didn’t exactly endear me to the grain immediately.
Imagine my surprise that just a few short years later quinoa was the in thing and EVERYONE was on the quinoa superfood bandwagon.
Perhaps it was time to give this humble grain that was the staple of Andean cuisine another crack.
Unsurprisingly, I was a convert.
A somewhat guilty convert as I worry about the sustainability of the wealthy world’s demand for this super grain and what impact that has on local people who depend on it as the basis of their diet.
But, let’s save that discussion for another day though as I’m sure it warrants a full post and more knowledge than I presently have on the topic.
I’ve learned three key things about cooking success with quinoa since that first day on the trail:
- Never overcook quinoa or it turns to mush. Serious mush that is not enjoyable to eat. I prefer my quinoa with a little bite in it.
- Quinoa has no flavour of it’s own. Literally none. It’s great in soups, cooked with stock or cooked in water then added to a salad with a flavoursome dressing. But just by it’s lonesome. Boring.
- It’s actually extremely versatile, I’d argue even more so than rice. And, as per this quinoa porridge recipe it actually tastes really yummy when paired with sweet flavours, something I loathe if done with rice.
The inspiration for this banana quinoa porridge came about from a recipe in Michelle Bridge’s 12WBT program. I’ve made a few of my own tweaks to make it even more yummy.
One of the great things about this quinoa porridge is that you can make a batch and keep it in the fridge for a few days, just reheat the porridge while your banana is under the grill for a few minutes and presto, you’ve got a great 5 minute breakfast.
Although I’ve spent quite a bit of this post discussing quinoa, the real inspiration in this recipe comes from the banana.
Grilled banana. Yeah, I thought it would be weird too.
Wrong. It’s frigging awesome.
The banana goes all soft and caramelised and then when you mix it through the quinoa porridge it gives it a wonderfully sweet banana-y maple flavour and the banana kind of dissolves.
It’s really delicious and one of my favourite breakfasts.
I’ve paired it here with 5:AM’s honey & cinnamon yoghurt because I absolutely love the stuff, plus some chopped pecans and coconut flakes to mix up the texture a bit.
You could also use almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds. It’s really there for the crunch factor, so don’t make a special trip to the store for pecans if you have something else lying around begging to be used up.
I used almond milk to make the porridge, which I recommend because it has a lovely nutty flavour but normal milk, coconut milk or even water will also work well. The texture will just be more or less creamy.
TIP: It’s also seriously awesome with coconut milk and tropical fruits like mango, papaya or kiwi
I especially love this quinoa porridge in winter when it’s too cold to contemplate a smoothie or chilled fruit, or as hearty post workout fuel.
Let me know how you found the quinoa porridge and whether you’re a grilled banana convert in the comments. Remember to share a photo on Instagram tagging #thehealthygourmande as photos make me happy!
You can also leave a review on the recipe card below which is helpful for me and other readers.
- 60 gm quinoa
- 500 ml almond milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp maple syrup (or golden syrup)
- 200 gm 5:AM Honey & Cinnamon yoghurt
- 2 bananas
- 10 pecans, chopped
- 10 gm coconut flakes (optional)
- Rise the quinoa under running water, drain and add to a small saucepan
- Pour over the almond milk and half the cinnamon
- Heat over a low-medium heat and bring to the boil
- Turn the heat right down and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is nearly cooked to your liking and the milk mostly dissolved then set aside
- While the quinoa is cooking pre-heat your grill
- Slice the bananas lengthwise and place on a baking tray
- Sprinkle with remaining half of the cinnamon and drizzle over the maple syrup
- Cook under the grill for 5 minutes until caramelised
- Stir 1/3 of the yoghurt through the quinoa
- Serve with the grilled banana slices and top with remaining yoghurt, coconut flakes and chopped nuts
- Calories 451
- Carbs (gm) 70
- Fat (gm) 15
- Protein (gm) 13
- Fibre (gm) 7