Simple, easy, hearty overnight quinoa is a great, slightly less heavy, alternative to overnight oats. Also a make-ahead breakfast, overnight quinoa is appealing to anyone who likes to plan ahead in advance of a busy day. Quinoa is vastly popular, personally, I love the stuff, but I needed to do a little bit of research to understand exactly why it is considered so great. Quinoa is the common name for “Chenopodium Quinoa,” a flowering annual plant grown as grain mainly for its edible seeds. Quinoa is closely related to edible plants such as spinach and beetroot. Once harvested, the seeds get processed, removing the outer bitter coasting. The seeds themselves are gluten-free–one of the reasons quinoa has become so popular these days. Quinoa seeds have higher nutrient content than wheat or brown rice.
Considered one of the few plant foods that is a “complete protein” containing nine essential amino acids, this so-called superfood is also rich in iron and fiber. What most don’t know is that quinoa, once referred to as “the mother of all grains,” has been around for nearly 4,000 years. The quinoa trend has been going strong in recent years: between 2006 and 2013, quinoa crop prices tripled. This “trend” is not going away anytime soon and I now understand why.
Overnight quinoa is an easy breakfast option with a pudding-like consistency that I love. Prepare it the night before and add the garnishes the next morning, and you’re done. This is a relatively versatile recipe, so feel free to be creative and adapt it to your preferred fruits. In my recipe, I use an organic unsweetened almond milk made by Three Trees, mixed with a little yogurt for richness. Other milks including soy, rice, coconut and cashew would all work nicely as well. I use apple sauce and agave to add sweetness, this can also be adjusted to individual tastes. I love mine only slightly sweet: I get extra sweetness from dried cranberries and other toppings, including apple. Not to be forgotten, the ever popular chai seeds are incorporated in here as well. This recipe packs a punch in the healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast category, so maybe that right there will be enough to get you to try it. If you do try this recipe, let me know your thoughts, I always welcome feedback.
Apple-Cranberry Chai Overnight Quinoa
- For the Overnight Quinoa:
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tablespoons greek vanilla yogurt
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons organic apple sauce
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon flaked coconut
- For the Topping:
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 tablespoons granola
- 2 tablespoons flaked coconut
- Honey for drizzling
- additional almond milk (optional)
- Step 1 Cook the quinoa per the package instructions (about 20 minutes) and cool slightly.
- Step 2 In a medium mixing bowl add the cooked quinoa, almond milk, yogurt, apple sauce, agave, vanilla extract, cranberries and coconut. Mix well to incorporate.
- Step 3 Place the quinoa mixture into 1-2 glass jars and close completely with plastic wrap. Allow to set for at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight.
- Step 4 To serve, spoon the desired amount of overnight quinoa into serving dishes. Add additional liquid to taste for a more creamy texture. Divide with additional toppings and enjoy.