I’ve been promising I’ll test both quinoa and amaranth in terms of their breakfast cereal appeal. I didn’t want to cook for 5, just 1, and the guiding principle was KISS (keep it simple, stupid). So, I started with 1/4 cup of quinoa and 1/2 cup of cold water. Put it on the stove and heated. Started with cold water, turned up the heat, waited till it was boiling, reduced temperature, trying to get it to simmer. Never did really succeed in finding an optimum temperature, was playing with temperature throughout. After 15 minutes it was done.

Plain cooked quinoa makes a fine breakfast cereal.

Plain cooked quinoa makes a fine breakfast cereal.

It smelled good when taking it out of the pan. I was concerned I would have to add something to make it palatable, but I shouldn’t have been so worried. It smelled so good, some of the quinoa never made it into the breakfast bowl. It has a nutty flavor, sufficient to stand on its own without any additives. If you were to make a regular routine of the grain, however, you might want to add things, like fruits or nuts, or a little brown sugar, to vary the flavor of what you eat.

I enjoyed it immensely. If you have the patience to watch the pot over the 15 minutes it cooks, you should be able to succeed.  Should work well in a bachelor kitchen. Should work well as a side dish.

Issues? It’s a small grain. That makes it hard to wash, hard to handle. There will be transfer losses.

It have nothing against oatmeal per se, I’ve eaten a ton of it and if I were a regular breakfast eater, I’d probably eat more of it. It’s a grain, it’s cheap, it cooks fast. If you look at the nutrition profile for plain instant oatmeal on the nutritiondata site, you’ll see it’s pretty good for you. However, as we enter the 21st century, there are two whole “grains” that have an excellent nutritional profile, and equally important, they cook fast. These two are amaranth and quinoa.

Amaranth is on the left. Quinoa is in the middle. Pearled barley is on the right.

Amaranth is on the left. Quinoa is in the middle. Pearled barley is on the right.

For now I’ve been using them as part of the grain component in various soups, and Deborah Madison has suggested soups using the mix of corn, amaranth and quinoa. I’m curious if either of these can be used as a direct substitute for oatmeal in the morning meal. Yes, there will be more cooking time with these two than with instant oatmeal, but not too much more, and they will cook faster than pearled barley, for example.

Looking for people who have traveled this path, I find a recipe for breakfast quinoa here, and one for amaranth here. The Blogger Reforming Daily notes that both amaranth and quinoa are gluten free.

I intend to try both over the next few days, and I’ll report the results for quinoa here, and eventually amaranth here.