Quinoa cereal is a form of breakfast cereal made with quinoa, a crop native to the Andes of South America. This breakfast cereal can take a wide number of forms, most of which are very nutritious due to the high protein content of quinoa. Quinoa cereal can be eaten as a gluten-free alternative to traditional breakfast cereals, and as a nutritious breakfast. Some nutritionists also suggest that starting the day with a serving of protein can be very beneficial, and quinoa cereal allows people to meet this need without being required to eat heavier protein-rich foods like meats.
There are a number of ways to process quinoa for the purpose of making cereal. Some companies grind quinoa into a flour and use it to make cereal flakes or rings which can be eaten cold right out of the box. Like other boxed cereals, quinoa cereal can be served alone, or with a wide variety of toppings including fresh fruit and nuts. Milk or a dairy-free alternative can be used to moisten the quinoa cereal and add nutrition, for those who desire it. The advantage to boxed cereal is that preparation time is minimal, making it a good choice for a busy household.
It is also possible to eat quinoa as a hot cereal. Instant quinoa cereal is made from quinoa which has been ground into flakes and then cooked, allowing people to add a hot liquid for an instant hot cereal. Quinoa flakes, which require brief cooking, are also available, and people can simply use whole quinoa to make a hot breakfast cereal as well. The quinoa may be cooked in milk, water, or juice, depending on taste and the desired flavor.
Hot quinoa cereal has a mildly nutty flavor, and it can be eaten just like oatmeal, cream of wheat, and other hot cereals, with garnishes like milk, honey, sugar, fresh fruit, dried fruit, or nuts. Some people also use quinoa cooked on the day before to make a hot cereal, warming the already prepared quinoa quickly on the stove top for a quick breakfast.
The nutrition content of quinoa cereal varies considerably. As a general rule, the more the cereal has been processed, the less nutritious it is, although some producers offset the loss of nutrition with supplements. Instant quinoa cereal is typically the least nutritious, with less protein, vitamins, and fiber than other forms of quinoa cereal. Sweetened cereals also tend to be less nutritious.