Overnight oats are my all-time FAVORITE breakfast. Hands-down. Though I’ve stayed loyal to my oats for the past few years (monogamoats, if you will), I have recently started playing the grain/seed field a bit to jazz up my O-Os. First bulgur, then millet, now, my most recent experiment was quinoa, and, I must say, this one’s worthy of a Nobel Prize in deliciousness.
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, it’s pronounced KEE-nwaa, not kwin-OH-a. Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, and it has long been touted for its excellent nutrition profile. But, even better than that, it’s darn tasty when prepped properly!
Applying overnight oats principles to quinoa works out quite well, with only a few additional steps needed. The quinoa MUST be rinsed well. The quinoa seeds produce a saponin — a natural insecticide — which is kind of soaplike and has a bitter taste if not rinsed away. Since you won’t be cooking the quinoa, you want to get off any debris and impurities, and if you’re extra compulsive, which, let’s face it, many of us are, you may want to buy only USDA-certified organic quinoa for this purpose.
Also, you need to soak the rinsed quinoa for at least 12 hours, otherwise, you may break a tooth, and, as much as I’d love to fix it for you, I know it’s a bit of a hassle. Once soaked in water, then soaked in the “overnight” mixture, the quinoa is perfectly tender and chewy…no dental precautions needed!
Makes 4 servings
1/4 cup red or white quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 small-medium zucchini, finely grated
1 large carrot, finely grated
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, in 100% juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 cups unsweetened almond or cashew milk
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Enough water to cover
Toppings: mango chunks, blueberries, prunes, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate shavings, etc.
In a large, clean glass jar, place thoroughly-rinsed quinoa, and cover amply with cold water. Screw on lid, and let sit on counter overnight.
Drain quinoa thoroughly, and divide between four clean, glass jars, each with a tightly-fitting lid. Add oats, zucchini, carrot, pineapple, vanilla, cocoa, chia, flax, coconut, nut milk, salt, spices, and walnuts. Stir (a butter knife or fork works best for in-jar stirring). Add enough cold tap water to completely submerge all ingredients (in a 16 oz. jar, this should bring you within an inch of the jar rim). Stir again, and screw on lids. Place in refrigerator overnight.
Eat directly from the jar, topped with yogurt, or transfer to a large bowl and layer with fruit and yogurt for a hearty quinoat parfait!