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CHOCOLATE CHERRY ALMOND QUINOA

Quinoa is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Here it has been turned into a nutritious-and-delicious chocolate cherry almond breakfast porridge!

This make-ahead brekkie can be served warm or cold. And as per my usual morning meal mantra, it is absolutely loaded with antioxidants, fibre, healthy fats and protein.

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Cherries are little red gems rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and disease-fighting antioxidants including anthocyanins.  Research suggests that cherry consumption can help reduce inflammation as well as the risk of cancer & Alzheimer's. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which helps to promote healthy sleep and induce a sense of calm.

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Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but it is actually a gluten-free seed.  It is rich in antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins & minerals including magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.  Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked gluten-free quinoa

  • 1 cup canned organic coconut milk (I use full-fat)

  • 1/4 cup natural almond butter

  • 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 cup frozen cherries

  • 1 Tbsp maca powder (optional)

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract

  • small amount unsweetened almond milk as needed for desired consistency

  • Lakanto monkfruit, pure stevia, maple syrup, or raw honey (nonvegan), adjusted to taste

  • optional toppings: cherry compote (cherries warmed from frozen), pomegranate arils, toasted coconut chips, grain-free granola, or toppings of choice

Instructions:

  1. Wash the quinoa. To do this, place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer sitting in a bowl. Cover with water and gently rub the grains together with your hands for 30 seconds. Rinse and drain. Repeat this process 2 more times.

  2. Combine the quinoa and coconut milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.

  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in almond butter, cacao, and chia seeds. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cherries and maca and continue cooking another 5 to 10 minutes with occasional stirring until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla and almond extracts and almond milk as needed to achieve desired consistency.  Sweeten to taste.

Serve immediately with your choice of toppings or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve cold or reheat with a splash of milk.