I really like oatmeal… I like whole grains in general. Quinoa has been one of my favorites for awhile. For an extended period of time, my go-to morning breakfast was a gruel made with a blend of various whole grains such oatmeal, quinoa, amaranth, freekeh and others. I would cook them up separately, then store in the fridge. When it was time for breakfast I would mix a few scoops of each with some fruit, some milk and heat it up in the microwave. Usually with enough milk that I could actually drink it on my way to work.
I’ve been living without a microwave for nearly a year and a half now, and I work from home, so my breakfast doesn’t have to be an “on the go” thing like it often was, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy having something I can just heat up easily as I’m getting my day started. And this quinoa-oatmeal bake is going to help fill that spot rather nicely.
I used an equal mix of quinoa, steel cut oats and rolled oats. It wouldn’t be too hard to adapt to your own mix, and I may even try this with other grains down the road as well (and if you do so, let me know how it turns out in the comments!).
In this batch, I used a mix of “rainbow” quinoa – a blend of red, black and white. Use whatever you have on hand. I know most recipes call for rinsing your quinoa to remove any lingering saponins, but really… the stuff I’ve been buying I haven’t been rinsing and have not noticed any of the aftertaste. Your mileage may vary… but if you do rinse, be sure to reduce the overall liquid amount by about 1/4 cup… and skip trying to toast the quinoa if you do so with the oats.
The basic recipe is pretty simple, and unflavored. It’s up to you to decide what you want to flavor it with. Today, I used peanut-butter, banana and cinnamon. Given the time of year, my next batch will likely use some pumpkin, or maybe cranberries. Apples and cinnamon would be good, or strawberries, or raisins or whatever fruit you have around. Try adding nuts and seeds as well for additional flavor and texture.
I did toast the quinoa and oats a bit before using. A step that’s not really needed, but it does seem to bring out a bit more flavor in the grains. Just do so over low heat and keep stirring them so they toast, and don’t burn. Adding the spice and toasting for another minute can also help the flavor, as well as the smell in the kitchen.
I used coconut oil for this batch, butter could be substituted… just after melting, be sure to let it cool a bit and be sure to mix it well before adding the eggs or milk. The addition of cold ingredients may cause the coconut oil to solidify again if you don’t. Do not ask me how I know this. Also, mix the oil before the eggs so you don’t risk “cooking” the eggs by adding the heated oil/butter to the eggs. And speaking of the milk, I used cashew milk, it’s what I have on hand. You could use whatever sort of milk you prefer to use… or just water if needed.
For the baking, I used my 3 quart cast iron pan. An 8×8 baking pan should work fine.. a pie pan… etc. You’ll want to use some sort of non-stick spray or something to help keep it from sticking. I wiped my cast-iron pan with a touch of the melted coconut oil left over from preparing it earlier.
If you vary this recipe by changing up the fruits, you can either omit the peanut-butter or change to some other nut butter. One variation I’ll be trying next is using pumpkin puree. Various nuts could be added to add some texture and flavor. Try toasting them with the grains for about 1-2 minutes as well, or sprinkle over the top just before baking.
Not to repeat myself, but this really isn’t so much a recipe as an inspiration to try your own variations to suit what you have on hand, what you like, what’s in season, etc. Start with the first 10 ingredients below and then go from there. If you try your own variation, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.