Today's recipe is a quick, easy, high-protein breakfast option that celebrates the season's fresh produce. Make my Overnight Strawberry Quinoa Parfait in advance, tuck it away in the refrigerator, and you will have a healthy and delicious snack or light meal ready and waiting just when you need it most! The berries are here! The berries are here! Spring has officially "sprung" in Virginia and the strawberry plants are blooming. As admitted strawberry lovers, Casey and I are especially excited about this time of year. In fact, we dedicated an entire raised bed garden just to our strawberry plants this spring. And while the berries you see here are not plucked from our own garden, we're hoping that we'll be noshing on the sweet, juicy fruit all summer long!
Overnight oats have been around for a while (for example, remember these?!). And while oats are still a delicious option that I use regularly in my cooking, I recently made a discovery that has really opened my eyes! What was that discovery, you ask?
I can cook quinoa in my rice cooker!!! (<-- affiliate link)
This is somewhat life-changing for me. I have never used much quinoa in my cooking because I didn't want to babysit a pot on the stove (I know, lazy) or when I did try to make some in a pot, it would either boil over and cause a huge mess or burn because I am so easily sidetracked and distracted by my ahem...little loved ones.
I would then just get annoyed, throw away the ruined quinoa, and avoid making it again for a long time. BUT NOW! Now I can throw one cup of rinsed quinoa, two cups of water, and a pinch of salt into my rice cooker, turn on the cooker, and have perfectly fluffy, cooked quinoa when the pot tells me it's done. And if I'm not paying attention? Well then my cooker just keeps it warm until I'm ready to deal with it.
So THIS is why you're seeing a quinoa parfait today, and you just might see one or two more quinoa recipes in the near future. I've been experimenting in my kitchen!
If you're not familiar with quinoa, it's a lot like couscous in texture and it makes a great substitute for rice in most recipes. My kids love couscous, so I knew that they would gobble up quinoa when I served it for the first time (because I told them it was couscous...Hah!).
The good news about quinoa, though, is that it's not actually a grain...it's a seed...making it high in protein and gluten-free for those who are sensitive. In addition to plenty of protein, quinoa contains plenty of B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. It's also a good source of calcium. So basically you're getting a lot of really good stuff in this innocent-looking, easy-to-cook ingredient!
And if you combine it with one of my one true loves (strawberries) in a way that takes about 5 minutes to prepare in advance, then you have yourself a WINNER.
I have enjoyed these parfaits as a quick breakfast option on a busy weekday morning, but also as an easy snack for those mid-afternoon energy slumps when I'm heading out the door for soccer practice, a meeting at the preschool, or some other commitment. When I know that my next meal is a few hours away, this is the perfect healthy option to satisfy my hunger and keep me going.
I also love all of the different textures in this parfait. Thick, creamy yogurt, fluffy quinoa, sweet and juicy berries, and a sweet and salty crunchy topping! Here you see some spiced pecans that my mom recently made and shared with me. I can't get enough of the little things! The sweet-and-salty combo makes them irresistible, so they seem to find their way onto not only my parfaits, but also my salads, my wraps, my cereal, my smoothies...you get the idea.
Whether you top your parfait with your mom's candied pecans or not, this nutritious and convenient breakfast option is sure to become a new warm-weather favorite!
[Tweet "Try an Overnight Strawberry Quinoa Parfait for a quick, and #healthy make-ahead #breakfast, snack, or sweet treat! "]
Overnight Strawberry Quinoa Parfait
- 1 5.3 ounce container strawberry yogurt (I used a non-fat Greek-style yogurt)
- 4 large strawberries sliced
- 2 teaspoons strawberry jam I like to use lower sugar jam that is only sweetened with fruit juice
- ¼ cup cooked quinoa packed
- Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped nuts or granola for topping
- Place half of the yogurt in a glass jar or other container. Place 2 of the sliced berries on top of the yogurt and top them with 1 teaspoon of jam. Add 2 tablespoons of quinoa on top.
- Repeat the layers with remaining ingredients. Place lid on jar and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
- When ready to eat, top with nuts or granola for crunch!
Looking for other healthy and easy breakfast or snack options that you can make ahead and eat on the run? Try these: