I recently discovered Tazo’s Vanilla Rooibos tea and since then, it’s been my beverage of choice at Starbuck’s. Just take a look at one of these gorgeous, aromatic little sachets and you’ll understand why. The front of the tin describes it as “A lush and indulgent blend of rooibos, Tahitian vanilla, cinnamon, apples & peaches.” By itself, it’s so flavorful with just the right amount of sweetness that I consider it a treat. Which gave me the idea of using it to make a dessert quinoa. What I do is soak the quinoa in the tea before cooking so that it absorbs some of the flavor slowly while at the same time cutting down on the cooking time. In addition, I soak the quinoa in water first to help remove the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that make the seeds less digestible. This is particularly helpful for raw nuts and seeds and a very good idea if you’re eating them raw. It also stimulates the production of enzymes and nutrients in the seeds that are beneficial, since the seeds “think” it’s time to grow. In fact, you can sprout a variety of raw seeds and incorporate them into your diet as a way to boost its nutritional density. Plus, there’s something about watching life emerge from a seed that is fascinating and fun and I encourage you to try it. You can find out here where I explain how to sprout alfalfa seeds, which are best eaten cooked.
Tazo Tea Quinoa
1.5 cups quinoa
2 Tazo Vanilla Rooibos tea bags
1.5 c water
1.5 c coconut milk, divided
½ t sea salt
2 T sucanat or other sweetener
1 t cinnamon
¼ t cloves
1 t vanilla
¼ c shredded, unsweetened coconut
½ c dried fruit (raisins, currants, or apricots)
½ c raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.)
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse, rinse, rinse, to remove outer resin called saponin, which can give the quinoa a bitter taste. In a glass bowl, soak the quinoa in water for about 3 hours (add enough water so that it rises about an inch above the seeds). Soak the nuts as well in a separate bowl of water. If using almonds, soak for at least 8 hours. At least 1 hour before the end of the soaking time, seep the two teabags in 1.5 cups of boiling water. You can make this as strong as you like – I like it on the strong side for this recipe. Let cool. Drain the quinoa, then add the tea, mix well, and soak for an additional hour. Add the quinoa/tea mixture to a medium pot and heat to a boil, then add ½ cup of coconut milk, the sea salt, sucanat, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix well, bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the quinoa is cooked. This should take only about 10 minutes since the quinoa was presoaked. Add the vanilla, coconut, drained nuts, and dried fruit. Add the remaining cup of coconut milk or enough to reach the desired consistency. Mix well and serve.
This quinoa is nutritious enough for breakfast and delicious enough for dessert!