Try this: Quinoa breakfast.

If you’ve been following along at home, you know by now that I’m on a big exploration of whole grains—bulgur, millet, wheatberries and the like. (If you’d like to catch up on the, um, germination of this project, see the initial post about cooking with whole grains). Just days after embarking on this experiment, I discovered a cooking class presented by Dandelion Chef Laura Robinson, who began the evening by showcasing a whole mess of grains, many of which I’d never seen before. (Hello, millet! And here I thought you were just bird food.)

Of the dozen or so grains we discussed, one of them was quinoa, which I enjoy quite a bit. Laura brought along a box of quinoa flakes (think: the little quinoa seeds rolled flat, like oatmeal). What? Never seen quinoa flakes before! She touted the flakes as a tasty hot cereal for breakfast, so I beelined it to Whole Foods to find a box in the cereal aisle. (It costs between $4 and $5 a box, so it’s not a cheap alternative to oatmeal.)

It’s very quick-cooking and creates a porridge-like texture that reminds me of Cream of Wheat. It’s packed [packed!] with protein: 16 grams per serving, while my regular oatmeal has 5 grams. And it’s yummy: a bit grassy-tasting, as is regularly cooked quinoa (so if you don’t love quinoa, then this breakfast option isn’t for you), and not as heavy-in-your-belly as oatmeal can be. I toasted the flakes lightly before dumping them into boiling water with a pinch of salt, and then added a smidge of raw sugar just as they finished cooking. Topped with your favorite oatmeal add-ins, this could be a nice variation in your breakfast routine.

quinoa cereal with fruited yogurt
(with thanks to Laura Robinson for the inspiration)

quinoa flakes
pinch of salt
raw or brown sugar to taste
1 cup lowfat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I like the Fage brand)
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 orange, segmented
1 Tbsp. toasted almonds (slivered or sliced)

Measure water and quinoa flakes according to package directions. As you bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan, toast the quinoa flakes lightly in a dry nonstick skillet, about 3 to 4 minutes. When water is boiling, add flakes and a pinch of salt; cook for 1.5 to 2 minutes [told ya: quick]. Remove from heat, add sugar to taste and stir to cool a bit, then transfer to a bowl. Top with a dollop of orange-honey yogurt and several orange segments, sprinkle with almonds.

Note: You could use any combination of yogurt and jam or preserves, and top with another fresh fruit. I think blueberry jam, frozen blueberries and toasted walnuts would be sublime.

{apologies for the photo … I hadn’t had coffee yet!}