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Roasted Strawberry Quinoa Parfait

I never mind sharing that when I was little, my siblings and I didn't get a whole lot of treats. We ate extremely well, and my folks were on a tight budget, meaning that while we thrived, there were definitely more expensive "healthy foods" we just didn't get to enjoy a whole lot: like grapes & kiwis & fresh berries.

I'll never forget a recent day I was bantering with a close co-worker (and one of my best friends) about foods we both ate as kids. Seeing that we both share being raised in homes with limited funds & an even more limited access to luxuries, we were trading stories about what we had and didn't have as kids growing up.......and I shared how my mom had to police how we ate the special fruits we did get to keep it fair. She'd set aside the kiwis she'd bought with us in mind and remind us that we each got a half of one (we all loved kiwis), and to be respectful of the others share. I guess four hungry kids in the house will make that necessary, and me and my 3 other grown siblings are all a living testament that those measures made us enjoy and appreciate what we did have a whole lot. God, I love my Mom for that - for always thinking of us and the smallest ways she could make us happy.

Today I take great joy in enjoying berries and fresh fruits in season, and treating my family to the healthy abundance that surrounds us is a huge priority, particularly at this time of year. I am grateful to live nearby so many sources of good local food, and even more grateful to be able to afford most of it, within reason (of course). That being said, I try my darnedest to never let a day pass where I don't embody gratitude for this truly lucky position that I find myself in.

This recipe came about after a visit to the fridge that found a fresh box of local strawberries looking sad from unintentional neglect. I'd bought them a day or two before as I suspected the local ones would be finished any day (I was right). They were no longer pretty enough to eat as they were, and they needed to be used at once as there was just no way they would be going to waste. I've been loving parfaits this summer and had wanted to find something 'just right' to share. Enter this lovely little breakfast treat to start another healthy day!

Roasting strawberries is a super easy way to concentrate the flavours & increase the sweetness, as well as completely change the texture to something luxurious. If you've never done it before, I highly suggest it, and it is truly a fantastic method for 'saving' fresh berries that are on the edge. This recipe also uses quinoa in the layers (instead of the granola I've been using all summer), which to me tastes just as good in a sweet breakfast treat as it does in a spicy salad. I've gone some time without posting a quinoa recipe (lots more on the recipe page!), and it was high time, particularly for another breakfast - my other two quinoa breakfasts can be found here and here.

The true beauty here is the quinoa and strawberries are done at roughly the same time, and these beautiful, fancy-schmancy little numbers can be yours in just over 30 minutes or so...just enough time to enjoy a few cups of coffee or tea.

On another note, It's been a rather busy time here of late, and I've found myself breathless (and a little stressed but I am on the mend) after a whirlwind few weeks. Needless to say, I've missed blogging terribly, and with back-to-school-and-routine life settling in, it feels good to be back. Hope you've all had a lovely end of the summer and a smooth transition into the month :)

Roasted Strawberry Quinoa Parfait

Makes enough for roughly 2

  • (1) pound fresh strawberries
  • (2) tbsp sugar
  • (1/2) cup quinoa, uncooked
  • Just under (1) cup cold water

For each parfait serving

  • (1/2) cup thick plain yoghurt, divided into two layers (I use high-fat Mediterranean yoghurt)
  • (2-3) tbsp ground seeds or nuts (a mix of favourites such as hemp hearts, almonds, chia & flax)
  • (1/3) cup cooked quinoa
  • (1) tbsp maple syrup
  • (1/3-1/2) cup roasted strawberries

To roast the strawberries, start by heating the oven to 375 degrees. Line a flat baking tray with parchment paper, or in a pinch, simply oil the pan lightly to prepare it. Wash, stem, and half the strawberries and place directly onto the baking tray. Sprinkle the berries with the sugar as evenly as possible, covering all the berries, and place in the oven once the temperature is reached. Cook for roughly 20-25 minutes or so, until the berries are fragrant and just turning soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before using.

To cook the quinoa, simply combine the dry quinoa and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil with the lid on. Once boiling, turn the heat to low (keeping the lid on) and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Once ready, remove the lid and fluff gently with a fork to let the steam escape a little. You will have just over a cup or so of cooked quinoa, so if you are making more than two servings of parfait, I suggest cooking twice this amount to have on hand.

You are ready to assemble the parfait when the strawberries have cooled enough to touch, this should be a few minutes. To expedite this, you can remove the berries to a separate bowl to cool.

To prepare each parfait, scoop out (1/3) cup quinoa from the pot unto a small mixing bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir, it will be quite sweet, this is okay if you are using plain yoghurt (if using vanilla yoghurt you can reduce the syrup or omit it entirely).

Gather a parfait or dessert glass, about 5-6 ounces in capacity (a tumbler will do just fine too). Using a spoon, start by layering (1/4) cup of yoghurt on the bottom, followed by 2-3 tbsp of whatever ground nuts or seeds you have on hand (I used hemp hearts, ground flax, & ground almonds). Follow this with the sweetened (1/3) cup of quinoa, followed by another (1/4) cup of yoghurt. Top the layers with as many strawberries as can fit before they will topple over (roughly 1/2 cup) and serve right away.

Leftover quinoa can be tucked away for future breakfast parfait experiments or kept as a topping for your next green salad. There are so many creative ways to pack a little extra punch that I always find it is good to have it on hand.

Leftover roasted strawberries will likely find their way into someone's mouth, but if they don't, it isn't likely they will keep very long. You can always pop them in the freezer to add to a smoothie later too!

Roasted Strawberry & Quinoa Parfait

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