If you’re looking to change up that sugary bowl of cold cereal, quinoa and amaranth are nutritious alternatives.

These tiny grains (they’re actually seeds) make excellent and hearty breakfasts, and are rich in iron, protein and magnesium along with many other vital nutrients. Cinnamon is the ideal spice to boost the flavor of these hearty grains.

Quinoa comes in red, white and black varieties, and any will work for this recipe. Check the package first to see if you need to rinse it, although most brands come pre-washed. To rinse, place quinoa in a fine mesh colander, rinse under cold water and then proceed with the recipe.

Morning Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large strawberries

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through and tender. Stir in the cinnamon, butter and vanilla extract. Garnish with strawberries and serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Amaranth is traditionally popped like corn kernels and is equally delicious as a hot cereal.

Hot Chocolate Amaranth Porridge

  • 3/4 cup amaranth
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the amaranth and cocoa powder in a large saucepan along with the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until creamy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in the honey. If the porridge is too thick, add a few extra tablespoons of water. Sprinkle with banana slices and cinnamon and serve.

Yield: 2 servings

More information

Learn more about quinoa and amaranth from the Permaculture Research Institute.