Every morning I cook myself oatmeal and add fruit, nuts/ nut butter, some flax meal (for omega 3’s), and top with a splash of unsweetened almond milk. Since this happens to be a daily occurrence, I was looking for something new: a twist on my morning meal. I’ve tried Ezekiel bread toasted with nut butter and sliced fruit, a soy or coconut yogurt parfait, smoothie, and even tofu vegetable stir-frys. While they all turned out delicious and provided a balanced morning meal, I still enjoy the taste and mouth feel of hot cereal. That’s when I thought to try different types of grains instead of oats.
Pinterest blessed me with a recipe that did just that. It combined the complete plant protein filled quinoa with amaranth and polenta. While having used all of these grains (or seeds as the first two actually are) in cooking, I had never used them all in the same dish. I was excited. Quinoa originates in the Andean region of South America. Look on the back of your quinoa package, and I bet you it’s from Peru or Bolivia. This seed loves the high altitude provided by this region, hence it is not grown more in the US. Quinoa is starting to be farmed in part of Colorado, however. Amaranth (also a seed) is tiny and resembles quinoa. It’s not a complete protein, meaning it is missing an essential amino acid. This is perfectly okay. Most plant protein sources are not complete, but if you consume a variety of plant foods, you’ll get the missing amino acid(s) from another plant source. For example, walnuts are low in the essential amino acid lysine, whereas amaranth is rich in lysine. When you include both of those in your diet, not necessarily in the same meal ;), your body gets a complete protein. Finally, polenta is generally made from cornmeal cooked with water to form a gelatinous substance.
I honestly can’t remember ever having “porridge”, but since Wikipedia defines it simply as a dish made from crushed cereal grains boiled in liquid, maybe I have. Under this definition, polenta is technically a porridge, it just goes by another name. The recipe in this post is a porridge because of the ground corn (cornmeal). The quinoa and amaranth can be considered seeds thrown in there for a taste and nutritional boost. And so it began, I ventured into the kitchen to attempt making porridge for the first time.
Porridge with Pomegranate Seeds and Cashew Cream
Yield: 3 hearty servings
Adapted from: http://www.willcookforfriends.com
- 1/3 cup amaranth
- 1/3 cup quinoa
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 3 1/2 cups water
- Splash of unsweetened almond milk (or more based on your preference)
- Seeds from 1 medium pomegranate (about 1/2 cup per serving)
- 3 tbl cashew cream (see recipe below)
- In a medium pot, add the amaranth, quinoa, cornmeal, and water. Stir the mixture to combine and bring to a boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, turn the heat down to low. Allow it to simmer uncovered for around 15 minutes and stir several times.
- Remove the pan from the heat once the majority of the water has been absorbed. Be sure that the mixture does not stick to the bottom!
- Divide the porridge into 3 servings, add a splash of almond milk, top with pomegranate seeds, and add a dollop of cashew cream to each. Bon appetit!
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for 3 hours
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tbl maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tbl melted coconut oil (you need this to help solidify the cream)
- Place the soaked cashews in a high powered blender/ food processor. (I used my vitamix)
- To the blender add the vanilla extract, maple syrup, salt, and almond milk.
- Blend the ingredients until pureed, then add the coconut oil. You can add more almond milk if you want the cream thinner. The mixture will thicken up when you place it in the refrigerator (due to the coconut oil).
- You’ll have lots of cream leftover.