Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recipe: Red Quinoa Pudding with Cranberries & Golden Raisins

Oh boy, here I go posting two quinoa dishes back to back at the beginning of the year like I did in '09.  What can I say?  I love the mother grain and it's a wonderful way to start (or continue) eating healthy in the new year.  Since I'm an official "ruler" for the January Rules challenge over on Eating Rules, I thought it would be fun to really showcase how fantastically delicious eating whole grains can be, while keeping with the Poor Girl tradition of making the most of what you have.  Literally.  These last two quinoa recipes were made from the same cup of dried red quinoa and have given me a good four days' worth of tasty, nutritious meals.

Now, I've sometimes been known to create some dishes that are a little bit off-center, particularly when it comes to using quinoa.  That's partly because I'm sometimes left with odd ingredients that don't always seem to go well together, but mainly because quinoa just so darned versatile.  Today's recipe is definitely on the unique side and shows off that versatility beautifully.  This super-nutritious grain can be used it in salads, breakfast bowls, baked goods, you name it!  I've done so here on PGEW many a time.  After making the Red Quinoa & Asparagus Salad with Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette earlier this week, I wanted something sweet to make use of the rest of my quinoa.  And as I was looking to make a non-baked dessert with these leftovers, rice pudding seemed like a great model to follow.

Gleaning inspiration from a few cookbook recipes & old arroz con leche attempts, this is what I ended up making.  Part breakfast, part dessert, this dish is sweet, satisfying, and quite easy to prepare.  While some rice pudding recipes require an egg or two (and I'm sure eggs wouldn't hurt the end result for this one), I found that the quinoa's own residual starches, combined with the sweetened milk, created enough of a thick, pudding-like consistency.  I added cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to give the pudding some warm, comforting undertones, and added plump golden raisins and dried cranberries for extra sweetness & texture.  Though you can cook up a batch of quinoa specifically for this recipe, you can also put your leftovers to good use and make this dish with those instead.  Because quinoa is so filling and packed with protein, I find that smaller portions of this pudding are best, making for a satisfying breakfast, snack, or dessert that will help keep you full.  Let's check out the recipe!

Red Quinoa Pudding with Cranberries & Golden Raisins (makes 6-8 servings; total cost per serving: ~$1.25)

1 1/2 c cooked red quinoa
2 1/4 c milk
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c chopped almonds (optional, for garnish)

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and brown sugar, and whisk together well.  Add the cooked quinoa and cook over medium low heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and is the consistency of a rice pudding.  Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Finally, add the cranberries and raisins, and stir to combine.  Remove from heat and allow the warmth of the pudding to plump up the berries & raisins for about 1-2 minutes.

Serve in small ramekins or bowls and garnish with extra dried fruit & chopped almonds.  Serve warm or chilled, and enjoy!


  1. Great recipe! I love quinoa but have never tried a sweeter version of it. I love the touch of golden raisins in a creamy dessert.

  2. I actually came to your blog because I was looking for that other breakfast quinoa recipe with the apples... Turns out I made too much quinoa and needed to use it up. So glad I found this recipe. Just made it and it is AWESOME. Skipped the cranberries because I didn't have any, but still very very tasty!! Thanks!

  3. I just made your red quinoa with asparagus salad tonight and it was a big hit. I'm going to have to try this recipe for a dessert. I love rice pudding so I'm guessing this will be so much better.

  4. Where do you purchase your quinoa?

  5. I usually buy it in bulk at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op because it costs way less than buying it pre-packaged. But I have purchased it at Trader Joe's before as well, since they sell both the red & white varieties for fairly cheap as well. Hope this helps!

  6. I loved this recipe as I was making it, but then I added the nutmeg and the end result was awful. I wish I gave it some thought and cut down on the amount recommended to a pinch at most. Quinoa already has a very nutty taste and so the nutmeg made this inedible for me and my guests. I'll still make it again, but without the nutmeg next time.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. Interesting... I guess it depends on every individual's personal taste because I felt it could use a tad *more* nutmeg than I wrote into the recipe. Glad you've found a way to make it work for you, though! :)

  8. Made for breakfast this morning. It took a long time to set up though (almost 30 mins). Maybe cause I'm using skim milk...what kind was the original recipe made with?

  9. Does soymilk work for this?

  10. I've only ever tried the white quinoa. Is there a flavor difference between the red and white, or could I use the white I already have in my cupboard and get the same effect?

  11. @Anon 1: I believe I was using 1% milk for mine, which is strange for me (I usually use skim). You're right, though: it might take longer to set with the skim milk.

    @Anon 2: I've yet to try this with soymilk, so I'm not really sure. It might still thicken up due to the natural starches released by the quinoa, as well as the sugar. If you do try it with soymilk, I'd love to know how it turned out!

    @Anon 3: Personally, I find red quinoa to have a heartier, nuttier flavor that I prefer over white quinoa, but either one will be just fine in this. :)

  12. I'm new to your blog so forgive me if you've gone there, done that but... have you ever made pudding from amaranth? You might, like me, find it is even more awesome that the fabulousness that is quinoa. Especially if you toast the dry amaranth before boiling it. SO delicious. Pairs well with coconut and/or fresh pureed mango and yogurt. Yay for supergrains!

  13. This sounds wonderful but instead of milk I think I will try with almond milk or at the very least non-homogenized organic milk.

  14. Made this for breakfast this morning at it was yummy. I subbed half millet for quinoa, 2T maple syrup, 15 drops stevia, almond milk and used fresh chopped cranberries and sliced almonds. It was so good!. My new hot breakfast pudding/porridge. Just found your site and really like it. I have to do alot of subs because I am on the Fodmaps diet, but your recipes give me lots of options and ideas. Glad to see your from Sac, me too. Thanks for the recipes.



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