Layered quinoa pudding with pomegranate-cardamon sauce…

The more time I spend with Divya from Flavour Fiesta, the more our minds are becoming in sync. Such is the case for today’s delicious dessert recipe. Mr. Beauty Nerd and I went to a Japanese restaurant over the weekend and we had this really yummy dessert with sticky rice, chocolate sauce and strawberries. I made a mental note of it in my head so that I could tell Divya to create a healthier version… perhaps substituting the sticky rice with quinoa. Low and behold, she did it even before I had a chance to tell her! From the Beauty Eats poll that I’ve had running on the sidebar, it seems as though all of you lovelies are very keen on sweets :). Well there’s no better time to do something sweet than a week before Valentine’s Day…

Lately, I’ve been having the quinoa “bug”. It’s almost become a staple at my place now, especially after our Beauty Eats Live Event in January where we featured a quinoa salad. I bought so much quinoa from Bulk Barn for recipe testing that I’m thinking of new ways to use it all the time! I’ve been trying to eat healthier this year (aren’t we all?), so I starting thinking of ways to incorporate quinoa in my desserts. We usually think of it as just a savory item, but it can certainly be used in sweet dishes and this quinoa pudding is a winner. It’s just like rice pudding, but much better for your health and your skin.

Now before you go out and buy quinoa just to make dessert, let me tell you that quinoa does take a little bit of getting used to. So I would suggest trying out a few savory items before using quinoa in a dessert. I remember when I first tried brown rice pudding – my first reaction wasn’t that great. It was because I expected it to taste a certain way and it wasn’t exactly the flavour I was expecting. It wasn’t bad, but it really took some getting used to. So same thing with the quinoa. But once you’re hooked onto quinoa, there’s no going back.
And ohh..another tip! Don’t forget to rinse the quinoa really well before you cook it, unless is specifically says pre-rinsed on the package. I think it makes a world of a difference when it comes to flavour. Quinoa “grains” naturally have a bitter coating on the surface called saponins, which can make cooked quinoa taste a bit off. It’s best to rinse the grains in a fine sieve under some running water. Give them a nice rub down and don’t forget to use only cold water. You don’t want to start cooking the quinoa before it even hits the stove!

serves 3-4

1 cup rinsed quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup pomegranate juice
6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 large banana, ripe
1 cup milk
3 tbsp honey, preferably raw and organic
2 cups strawberries, sliced
Pistachios for garnish, chopped

Step 1: Bring the quinoa and water to boil in a small pot. Turn down to a simmer, cover the pot and let the quinoa cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork once done.
Step 2: While the quinoa is cooking, heat the pomegranate juice and cardamom pods in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Heat the liquid until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: Mix the cooked quinoa, honey, banana and milk in a blender until the mixture is uniform.
Step 4: Layer the pudding in small mason jars or ramekins. Start by placing the pudding at the bottom, then layer with strawberries and a bit of pomegranate syrup. Then add another layer of of pudding and some more pomegranate syrup. Finish off with a generous sprinkle of chopped pistachios.

This layered sweet treat may look decadent, but it is actually filled with skin-beautifying ingredients. Don’t believe me? Then I challenge you to peruse through the following break down yourself…

Quinoa: Quinoa is known as the ‘ancient grain’. Recently, it has been rediscovered and touted for its health benefits. Why? Not only is it high in protein, but it achieves top scores for its content of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. I’d have to say, this ingredient is a beauty must!
Strawberries: Did you know that strawberries ranks amongst one of the top 50 antioxidant-rich foods? It is loaded with Vitamin C (think collagen-boosting vitamin) and many other phytonutrients, making it one of my top beauty super foods!
Bananas: Bananas are loaded with potassium. Why should beauty nerds pay attention to this? Because potassium regulates the water content in skin cells. If you find your skin particularly parched, it may be due to insufficient potassium levels – so the best thing you can do is reach for a banana!
Milk: We all know milk ‘does a body good’ because helps strengthen bones. However, do you know that it also contributes to smooth skin and a stronger immune system? Brimming with Vitamins A, B, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc, milk will literally nourish complexions from the inside out.
Honey: Not only can honey satisfy our sweet-tooth cravings, but it is also a healthier alternative to sugar. It contains small amounts of vitamins such as B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium – all elements essential for lovely complexions.
Pomegranate Juice: Pomegranates can be considered an antioxidant powerhouse, neutralizing harmful free radicals. They also contain ellagic acid, which can help protect your skin from sun damage. And believe you me, I’m all for any food that would amp up the ammunition against sun spots and age spots!

Let us know how it goes – leave a comment!


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