Pumpkin Quinoa Yogurt Parfait

Quinoa. (Pronounced keen-wah)

Just saying it makes me feel all healthy and wholesome and granola. Like I’m the type who goes to yoga (which I am) or the type who does Meatless Mondays (which I try) or the type who doesn’t eat refined sugars or anything with high fructose corn syrup (which I’m most definitely not – you have no idea how much I love gummy bears).

Quinoa is a whole grain that has been cultivated in South America, and it is high in protein and fiber and all sorts of good things. This past weekend I was craving a big bowl of oatmeal but – alas! – I ran out of my good old fashioned oats, so I turned to my Whole Foods stocked pantry and busted out the bag of quinoa.

I decided to make a hearty, fall-perfect Pumpkin Quinoa Yogurt Parfait

I started with cooked quinoa mixed with pumpkin puree and vanilla soymilk

layered it with nonfat Greek yogurt mixed with dark chocolate peanut butter

then some bananas

and sweet roasted pecans

These roasted pecans are Mexican Chocolate Pecans from Q’s Nuts, which I regularly buy at the Charles Square Farmers Market. (Read my review of Q’s Nuts here). The owner, Q, roasts sweets, savory, and exotic flavors in small batches and packages them immediately. They are incredibly good. I am pretty much addicted to the Mexican Chocolate Pecans, and the Chocolate Coconut Almonds. As in, so addicted that I always keep a little baggie in my purse for easy snacking.

but back to the parfait – I love the layers and it tastes even better mixed together

Pumpkin Quinoa Yogurt Parfait

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams)
2 chopped bananas
handful of roasted/candied pecans (I used Mexican chocolate pecans)

These are just my suggested measurements and you can easily adjust to your tastes/convenience. You can use skim milk or almond milk, use vanilla or honey-flavored yogurt, even omit the peanut butter (although I highly recommend keeping this ingredient – maybe just sub in almond butter, preferably still chocolate flavored), or even use granola instead of nuts for some crunch.

For the quinoa layer, heat the quinoa in the microwave with the soy milk for a minute or two. This would let the quinoa absorb the soy milk and result in a thicker and creamier mix. Then stir in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. This is your first layer.

For the second layer, just mix the yogurt and chocolate peanut butter together. Top with some bananas, then pecans, then repeat layers until your bowl or glass jars are full.

the flavors meld together so well, and I particularly like the tangy chocolate peanut butter yogurt mixed with the soft, comforting pumpkin quinoa

the bananas and the roasted pecans top everything off very nicely

Do you like quinoa? Any favorite healthy recipes featuring grains?


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