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Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa Pudding with Pomegranate

Quinoa has recently piqued my interest. I didn't realize it existed until I happened upon it while spending endless hours looking at recipes (and pictures!) of food on the internet. I spotted it in everything from salads and breakfast to desserts. Suddenly, I found myself wanting to know more.

What was quinoa, exactly? Was it a grain? Was it like rice? And, most importantly, how was this food I had never heard of so versatile?

Luckily, nowadays the answers are never too far away.

Quinoa Pudding with Pomegranate

Coming from the Midwest, quinoa is as foreign to our culture as tofu or bean sprouts. We like our meat and potatoes. We keep it simple. As if to prove this point, I had to search through 3 different grocery stores before I finally found it buried in the organic health food section.

Quinoa is a suspicious little food. It is neither a grain nor is it related to rice, though the taste and texture would have you convinced otherwise. In fact, it is more related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds than anything else. As if to further prove its originality, quinoa has a surprisingly high protein content for a plant (12-18%!) as well as a high level of fiber. Can we say super food?

In fact, as I learned while digging up information, the Incas so loved quinoa, they deemed it sacred and referred to it as the "mother of all grains."

When I finally got my hands on a package of quinoa, the possibilities were endless. So, I did as any baker would do. I turned it into a dessert (surprise, surprise!). If the Incas could have tasted this pudding, they just might have deemed it sacred, too.

Quinoa Pudding with Pomegranate

Quinoa Pudding is a twist on the traditional tapioca pudding. Instead of small tapioca pearls, nutty quinoa takes its place. I almost prefer the delicate and hearty texture of quinoa grains as opposed to the smooth, chewy tapioca pearls—it gives it a bit of a bite. The pudding itself is flavored with vanilla and is only slightly sweetened. You can top the pudding with any fruit of your choice. I used pomegranate, but any berry could be used with delicious results.

Quinoa Pudding
Adapted heavily from eCurry

Yields 4-6 servings

3/4 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups milk (whole will give the pudding a creamier consistency, but 2% will also work)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pomegranate seeds, from one pomegranate (you may also substitute raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, or other fruit)

Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for 1 minute.

In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add quinoa. Turn heat down to low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Cooking for the full 45 minutes will result in a thick pudding. For a thinner consistency, cook the pudding until desired consistency is achieved. Stir every few minutes to prevent a film from forming on the top of the pudding or bottom of the pan.

Serve chilled, topped with fresh pomegranate seeds (or fruit of your choosing). Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

Reader Comments (22)

It's said "If you eat a pomegranate without missing even a seed, you have eaten a heavenly pomegranate". So this desert is really really sacred!
07.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
Hi can I use milk instead of the heavy cream? thanks
07.2.2011 | Unregistered Commentercarol
Carol-- You can use milk instead of the heavy cream (though your pudding will be less rich and creamy). You can also substitute half and half, which will still keep most of the creaminess without all of the fat. I would not recommend skim milk for the recipe--you'll end up with a milky soup.
07.2.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
This is such a lovely makeover to tapioca pudding. I love quinoa, and your beautiful picture pulled me in from Tastespotting. Do you think I could use a dairy alternative and have the same texture, quality?
Oh this looks lovely! And today is grocery day for me....
07.2.2011 | Unregistered Commentereliza
I will definitely try this one!! I'm in love with quinoa, too...if you're interested, I've got several recipes on my blog - the quinoa burger being the most popular. Thanks for the gorgeous suggestion - can't wait!!
07.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
That looks incredibly delicious! I love tapioca pudding so I love your comparison. I never thought to use quinoa in a pudding but I use it for a lot of different things. This pudding sounds amazing :)
07.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi
Can this be made with dairy alternatives? rice, soy or almost milk. Perhaps even coconut??
07.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterlunachick
Kelsey & Lunachick-- I have not personally tried a dairy alternative with this particular pudding, but I know that coconut milk would work just fine and taste amazing (I've made puddings with it before). I don't think I would use rice milk simply because the consistency is so thin I'm afraid it wouldn't thicken. I believe almond milk and soy should work (but since I have not personally tried it, I can't guarantee the results). If they are having trouble thickening, add a small amount of cornstarch and that should help the problem.

Coconut milk will give a very similar texture/consistency, but I don't think you will find the same richness and creaminess with almond or soy milk simply because the high fat content of heavy cream isn't there. But you should still end up with a tasty pudding! If you do make this pudding with a dairy alternative, let us know how it turns out!
07.3.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
love this. reminds me a lot of semolina, which i love. i have made it in the past with soya milk and it was just as your presentation. speaking of which, where did you get these pretty glasses from, please? love it. thanks for sharing.xx
07.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterbeta
Beta-- These are actually votive candle holders. I don't remember exactly where I found them, but you'll probably be able to find something very similar at a home store near you.
07.3.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Great idea! At first glance, I thought the pudding contained chia seeds, which I've yet to try. I love quinoa though!
07.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCookie and Kate
I made this the other day using organic unsweetened soy milk and coconut milk for the cream. It turned out great. the only other change I did was I used a lid when cooking, after I added the quinoa, but still stirred it. That prevented the film from forming. Great Recipe!
07.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarliJean
Delicious! Although, a bit sweet... next time I will add less sugar. Thank you for sharing!
08.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMerrilee
I made this with So Delicious Coconut Milk and a few drops of Stevia for sweetening. I did add a splash of heavy cream for creaminess. Still wonderful!
01.14.2012 | Unregistered Commenterkaren
My Mom has developed an allergy to RICE of all things - at 95 years old! She has missed having rice pudding, which she dearly loves. Thanks so much for giving us this option. With the pomegranate seeds it will be a beautiful treat for her for Valentine's Day!
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSueGee
Hi Kristin, I’m Sonia, italian food blogger sorry for my bad english, I want tell you that I have included the link of this recipe (which I liked very much) in the section on my blog dedicated to “10 ways to make” (“10 Modi di Fare”) pudding.
The post is ‘Pudding al cioccolato e caffè’,
I hope not to bother you, have a nice day.
02.8.2013 | Unregistered Commentersonia monagheddu
Perhaps this is a dumb question, but this is 3/4 cups of cooked or uncooked quinoa? It's already cooked when you add it to the milk mixture, right? Thanks!
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne
Joanne-- The quinoa is uncooked. It cooks while the pudding simmers and absorbs the milk.
03.9.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I didn't have any heavy cream on hand so I used all whole milk. They are absolutely delicious with sliced strawberries. The flavor is highly reminiscent of sweetened condensed milk.
Thank you for the recipe!
05.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChau
Wow! My mouth is watering. That just looks and sounds so good!
I too have just discovered quinoa. I am 13 weeks pregnant and just can't seem to like anything.
My good friend invited me over for "a very healthy yummy" salad a few days ago. As I drove over
to her place I was planning where I would go to eat as soon as I left. The very healthy salad was a lovely
mix of quinoa, shredded beet, goat cheese, raisins, pumpkin seeds and a light pesto sauce. So yummy
and filling! I've just made my own version of that and sat down to eat while cruising the web looking for more
quinoa recipes and as luck would have it I have found your dreamy dessert!
My husband is coming home from Sweden tomorrow and we will be having this for dessert.
Thank you so much for this lovely twist.
07.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendyHjert
I am thinking of adding a little cardamon to this recipe- what do you think?
12.10.2013 | Unregistered Commentermara

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