A heart healthy breakfast packed with antioxidants and whole grains is the perfect way to start your day. Our quinoa recipe has slightly more protein than other grains, making it a hearty alternative to eggs or traditional breakfast proteins.

“Whole grains [like quinoa] are you best choice when eating carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy especially for people who are very active in sports or adults who exercise daily,” said Patty Guay-Berry, registered dietician at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. “When not quite so active, we still want to consume whole grain carbohydrates, but may need to limit portion sizes.”

Walnuts are another great protein option to incorporate into your diet if you’re trying to improve your overall heart health. They contain high amounts of antioxidants, which helps to protect your cells against free radicals. Free radicals can damage your heart and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Walnut Cream

  • 1 cup California walnuts
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (use a little more if you want a slightly sweeter cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2–2 cups blueberries, fresh
  • 3/4 cup California walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  1. To prepare the walnut cream, put the walnuts in a bowl, add water to cover and let stand overnight. The next day, drain the walnuts well and spread on a baking pan. Toast in a preheated 350º F oven for 8–10 minutes, then cool completely.

  2. Put the walnuts, 1 cup water, the lemon juice, maple syrup and salt in a blender. Blend on high until creamy and smooth, about 1–2 minutes. Transfer the cream to a bowl or jar. (A food processor may also be used to make walnut cream, though it will not be quite as smooth.)

  3. To prepare the quinoa, rinse it in a strainer and drain it well. In a medium-sized saucepan bring the quinoa, water, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and orange zest to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low, then cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside off heat to cool for a few minutes; then fluff the quinoa up with a fork.

  4. When you are ready to serve, stir the 1/2 cup of prepared walnut cream, the orange juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg into the cooked quinoa. Serve the quinoa in bowls, and top each serving with a dollop of the remaining walnut cream, a small handful of blueberries and a sprinkling of toasted walnuts.

*Serve the quinoa warm, cold or at room temperature, and when fresh blueberries are not in season, substitute frozen or dried berries, or dried cranberries or cherries. Note that the walnut cream needs to be started the day before you use it.

Recipe courtesy of Rebecca Katz for the California Walnut Commission