It feels like the sun has been shining brighter these past few days and our sky has taken on the loveliest shade of blue. if it weren’t for the pesky pollen in the air, spring would be my absolute favourite of seasons. A friend sent me a text the other day saying “let’s make more things with blood oranges before peonies start blooming”, I had no idea what she meant; I suspect it was an autocorrect mishap, but it also seemed like some whimsical reminder that blood orange season was coming to an end.
I get blood oranges throughout its season when I find them, so I’m usually on the lookout for creative ways to use them. We started making blood orange syrup last winter; we pour it over our pancakes, yoghurt and ice cream, it’s wonderful. It also adds a splash of bright colour to cocktails and lemonades. The syrup is sweet with subtle bitter, tart citrusy notes. I’ve been pouring it liberally over my morning porridge on these chilly spring mornings, adding a little cheerfulness to my mornings.
I love my breakfasts warm and toasty, and filling with a little sweetness on the side, this amaranth and quinoa with blood orange syrup fits the bill nicely. It’s one of those meals that turned out better than I thought. It’s warm, nutritious, sweet, citrusy, has a bit of protein and everything you need to get going in the morning. I’ve been doing the amaranth and fruit combo at breakfast for years, this updated version adds a little bit of quinoa for substance and gets sweetened with a simple blood orange sauce.
It’s a nice change from regular oatmeal, and full of fibre and whole grain goodness, though technically amaranth and quinoa aren’t grains, thus making this porridge naturally free of gluten.
I love the nutty chewy texture of the two ‘grains’ together; I want to try them again in other recipes, savoury ones this time.
For this recipe I used water only, but cooking them in part water and homemade nut milk makes a richer porridge. For spice, I added ground cardamom because it pairs well with blood orange, but cinnamon and nutmeg works great here too.
- 3 cups fresh blood orange juice (from about 5 – 6 blood oranges)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon blood orange zest
- Pinch of salt, optional
- 3/4 cup amaranth
- 1/4 quinoa (I used red quinoa)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 - 3 cups water (or more based on desired consistency)
- 1/2 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)
- Combine blood orange juice, sugar, orange zest and pinch of salt (if using) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
- Stir ingredients together until sugar dissolves, then let mixture come to a boil, and let it boil for about a minute
- Lower heat and let simmer for about 4 – 5 minutes, until liquid is syrupy and reduced to half
- Let cool and set aside for use with porridge or transfer in to a bottle or an airtight container; it’ll keep refrigerated for up to 2 days
- Soak amaranth and quinoa for at least 8 hours, this step is optional but worth it
- Drain and rinse amaranth and quinoa, add to a saucepan with ground flax, cardamom, salt, water and orange blossom water
- Stir and cook over medium heat, keep stirring frequently and bring to a boil
- Lower heat and let porridge cook covered for about 15 minutes until it thickens and much of the liquid is absorbed, stir occasionally to prevent burning and sticking and add more water if needed
- Remove from heat and let porridge sit for 10 more minutes to thicken
- Ladle porridge into breakfast bowls, pour a generous amount of blood orange syrup over porridge and finish it off with your favourite nuts and fruits