On weekday mornings, I have criteria for breakfast. I must have something that is enjoyable to eat but also nourishing and balanced. Something that has staying power, but does not require much hands-on time the morning of so that I can get on with the day. And if I'm taking breakfast into the office, I need it to be transportable.
This overnight quinoa oatmeal checks all of those boxes, plus it's gluten-free (providing you buy certified gluten-free oats and quinoa) and dairy-free, so I think it will appeal to many of you out there and whatever your own personal breakfast requirements are!
I use a mixture of white quinoa and steel-cut (Irish) oats (or hafergrütze in Switzerland). I've made versions with only steel-cut oats, which is also delicious, but I prefer quinoa as the base because it has more protein and stays with me longer. The mixture is soaked overnight which allows it to cook up quicker in the morning. Additionally, soaking grains, seeds, and nuts help remove the phytic acid coating allowing the nutrients to be more accessible to your body and more easily digestible. Sometimes I'll soak a few almonds or other nuts with the grains. Other times I add them raw on top after the oatmeal has been cooked.
For quicker prep I cook mine in the microwave. I have not tried this version on the stove-top, but if you have the extra time, it should cook up fine covered, over medium-low to medium heat. Stir once or twice so the bottom does not burn, and make sure some liquid is left at the end so it has a porridge consistency. You may need additional milk or water for cooking on the stove-top and the cooking time will inevitably increase.
I like to top this oatmeal with a handful of seasonal fruit, chopped almonds, and coconut butter than slowly melts into the oatmeal. Sometimes I'll add an extra splash of milk to thin it out a bit, as it thickens when it cools.
Breakfast is as important for me as any other meal. It sets the tone for body and mind for the rest of the day, directly impacting energy levels and mood. We all have hectic schedules and multiple distractions in the day starting from the moment we wake up. But breakfast should not be an after-thought that gets pushed aside as a result. It should be a coping mechanism to help us deal with the day and give us something to look forward to in the mornings. And when much of the prep work can be done ahead, there is really no excuse not to fit such a nourishing and satisfying meal into our morning routine.
Overnight Quinoa Oatmeal
Serves 1 generously
Notes: The oatmeal thickens as it sits. So if you plan to cook this and take it to go to eat later but prefer a thinner consistency, pack a small jar with a screw on lid of extra milk to add to the oatmeal when you're ready to eat it.
- 1/3 cup (63 g) white quinoa, rinsed until water runs clear and drained
- 2 Tbsp steel cut/Irish oats
- Add quinoa and oats to a medium glass bowl. Pour in enough water to cover grains by a few inches.
- Leave to soak on the counter overnight.
- 1 cup (236 ml) water
- Pinch of salt
- Nut milk
- Fruit (berries, kiwi, mango, etc)
- Chopped, toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds)
- Honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup
- Coconut butter (I use this brand)
- Use a fine mesh sieve to rinse and drain grains. Dump into medium saucepan and stir in water and salt.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer, cover partially, and cook 10 minutes or until liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir once in the last few minutes to make sure oatmeal is not sticking. If using coconut butter, add that now so it has time to melt and combine with the oatmeal.
- Transfer to a bowl, add nut milk to thin to your liking, and add toppings of choice.