If your holiday schedule is anything like mine, then it pretty much centers around food related social gatherings. You got your Christmas dinners with friends, your holiday work parties with robust app menus and free booze (at least there better be – it’s why anyone goes in the first place…), and of course – your weekend/Christmas/Boxing Day brunches.
Lately I’ve been making a concerted effort to step up my brunch game. For some unknown reason, despite loving the concept of brunch (I mean it’s pretty much one of the only times you can drink before noon and no one can judge you), I’ve never truly embraced it as a regular thing. So last weekend I decided to take advantage of my bestie staying the night on Saturday by cooking a delicious brunch for her and my husband Sunday morning. Plus, it was the perfect excuse to try out something new that turned out to be pretty much the easiest, healthy brunch recipe ever: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake.
This recipe starts completely sugar-free (until my husband doused his in maple syrup – which, along with drinking, is totally acceptable brunch behaviour), and is gluten-free, low-fat, high-protein while packing an awesome amount of vitamins and minerals from the super food no one will shut up about: Quinoa!
Why is this food so “super”? Lemme tell you: not only is it gluten-free, it’s the only grain that’s a complete protein source, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids our bodies need to function but can’t produce themselves. Quinoa also contains large amounts of flavonoids, including Quercetin and Kaempferol, which are potent plant antioxidants that help prevent diseases like cancer. Plus, it’s high in fiber, which as I’ve said a million times is crazy beneficial for keeping your plumbing moving (crucial in a time of “indulgence” like the holidays) and helps with weight-loss.
This recipe is honestly the busy woman/host’s lifesaver. I will actually be doing Mama Maus a solid this Christmas by taking Christmas morning brunch off her hands and making this delicious dish for the fam. Bonus tip: I will be cooking the quinoa in advance, meaning that whipping this together the morning of will be a snap. After all, I’ve got presents to open and mimosas to drink…
The Natural Blonde
p.s. This dish pairs extremely well with some thick cut peameal bacon! (Merry Christmas to all the men out there)
Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake
- 2½ cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ⅓ cup vanilla almond milk (or your non-dairy milk of choice)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with lightly greased parchment (I use coconut oil to grease).
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, vanilla extract, apple sauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined. Next add egg and cooked quinoa and thoroughly combine.
Pop that bad boy in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set and golden.
When fully cooked, remove from oven AND use the parchment to lift the bake from pan the pan as soon as possible (if left the steam may make it soggy).
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then slice into squares and plate, topping with pretty much anything you want! Trevor picked maple syrup, but I like apple sauce and berries, or peanut butter and berries, or peanut butter and apple sauce. The sky’s the limit!
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days and make an awesome quick breakfast during the work week, or even a snack.