I’ve been focusing lately on getting enough protein in my daily routine and the right ratio of protein/fat/carbs. I’ve been really looking for ways to get a high protein breakfast besides just eating a plate of eggs. I am not really that excited about a plate of eggs every morning. Especially if I’m not eating toast with them and I have to scramble them up myself instead of either the mailman or the nice folks at Cracker Barrel cooking them for me.
I also have been focusing on eating the right kind of carbs, which means I’m not eating as much cereal or even granola as I used to. But quinoa makes the carb roll call. What sets quinoa apart from some of its other carb cousins? It is a complex carbohydrate, as opposed to a simple carbohydrate like sugar or white bread. This means your body burns it more slowly, helping you stay fuller longer. It has a relatively low score on the glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike after eating like a lot of carbohydrates will.
It’s often referred to as a “superfood,” it’s gluten free, higher in nutrients than most grains, high in fiber, contains several minerals including folate, manganese and zinc. It is a good protein source for a grain, containing all of the essential amino acids. It also has a really great flavor and texture. And it’s fun to say. Keen-Wah! No wonder people have been eating it forever!
So now that my quinoa commercial is over, let’s get to my recipe. I wanted something for when I have a sweet craving in the mornings, but that would still have plenty of protein, and this fit the bill. It’s got eggs, Greek yogurt, even whey protein powder. Aren’t I sneaky? There are at least 12 servings in the casserole dish, and only 2 cups of quinoa, so the carb content is still relatively low. I sweetened the whole thing with only two tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Divide that out amongst the 12 servings and you’ve got practically no sugar at all. I also added cinnamon and coconut, which both have some serious health benefits. All in all, a super healthy breakfast. And so filling!
To get started, ahead of time, make the quinoa according to package directions and let it cool. I made a whole bag for a salad and then I had four cups of leftovers to have fun with. This is one of my recipes, I also made savory breakfast muffins. Stay tuned next week for those.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Maple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bake
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop vanilla or unflavored whey protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 container Oikos Triple Zero Vanilla Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 large eggs
2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the whey protein and the cinnamon, stirring out any lumps. Mix into the almond milk, adding the vanilla, yogurt and syrup blending until smooth. Add in the eggs.
Spray the bottom of a 13 by 9 pan with olive oil or coconut oil spray. Mix the quinoa, coconut, flax and nuts and spread on the bottom of the pan evenly.
Pour the egg mixture over the top.
Bake until set, about 40 minutes. I had to check a few times to see when it stopped jiggling.
The edges will be nice and brown. The top will have a bit of a custard texture, but the bottom will have a nice thick texture from the quinoa, and a crunch from the nuts. It’s just sweet enough, with a nice vanilla and cinnamon flavor, and the coconut adds a some flavor and texture too.
Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed! Just microwave a slice each morning for about 45-60 seconds and serve it with some fresh berries. I’ve been really fighting the urge to pour some maple syrup on top. I know it would taste amazing, but we’re not doing that! For a syrup-like effect, microwave some blueberries until they burst, maybe 25 seconds, then mash them a bit and serve them on top. They are great this way!
Let me know what you think!