Velvety Quinoa Pudding

Velvety Quinoa Pudding
Velvety Quinoa Pudding

Velvety Quinoa Pudding is really just rice pudding, but with a bit more bite and texture. While, flavor-wise, quinoa might function in the same category as brown rice, quinoa is actually leagues ahead of it in terms of nutrition. Quinoa is an ancient food with a rich and dynamic history, and despite the fact it looks like a grain, it’s actually a seed that’s related to spinach. This distinction in its ancestry is significant in how much protein it can contribute to a diet. Instead of being made up of starchy carbohydrates like rice, quinoa is full of fiber and protein that contribute a more steady and regulated rate of energy. If you’re tired of feeling sluggish after a holiday meal, think about swapping out your regular rice pudding staple for a quinoa version instead.

We used unsweetened almond milk for this recipe. Aside from being dairy-free, almond milk heats without scalding in way dairy milk does. You'll still want to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too hot and scorch your quinoa seeds. When adding your egg, you want to "temper" it. This is a way to incorporate silky egg texture into a dish without making scrambled eggs. Keep 1/2 cup of milk to the side. When you're almost ready to add the egg to the dish, heat the milk until it is hot. Then add it slowly to your egg, whisking it all the while. This gradually raises the temperature of the eggs without causing the proteins to tighten, and creates the creamy, custard-like feeling that makes pudding so appealing.

You could use another type of quinoa if you have any other on hand, but we opted for red quinoa because it’s a little bit more nutty than white quinoa. Our quinoa pudding was spiced with some Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks and a Star Anise for warm, woodsy, comfort flavors. Our taste testers were pleasantly surprised by how creamy and sweet our Quinoa Pudding turned out. We opted to sweeten the dish with brown sugar, then dressed that up with Shredded Coconut Flakes, and half a Madagascar Vanilla Bean. If you wanted a  tart contrast you could use dried cranberries instead of raisins. This dish could be enjoyed either warm or cold, and would make a great option if you were thinking about meal prepping during this busy time of year!

Helpful hint: Feel free to substitute coconut milk for almond milk if you prefer the taste or have a nut allergy. You could try substituting the egg it calls for as a thickener with a flax seed substitute instead to make it entirely plant-based.

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Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 75 min.
Ingredients:
Instructions:
  1. Place quinoa in a sieve or strainer and rinse well. Drain well and place in large saucepan.
  2. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and bean to the quinoa. Add 1 ½ Cups water, orange zest, salt, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes covered.
  3. Stir in sugar and all but 1/2 cup almond milk,and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add coconut, raisins and simmer uncovered 20 more minutes. Stir frequently.
  5. Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick, star anise, and vanilla bean.
  6. Heat 1/2 cup almond milk. Gradually whisk this into the beaten egg until they are smooth and fully incorporated. Add that to the rest of the pudding and mix well. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with orange zest as desired and serve!
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