Sarah Wilson's Chia and Quinoa Parfait | I Quit Sugar #iqs

Weekend recipe: Sarah Wilson’s Chia and Quinoa Parfait

Nikki ParkinsonFood and Wine, Life 19 Comments

I first met Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) five years ago at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat.

This was long before it became a supermarket staple. And boy, did I go to lengths to track it down after that weekend.

The reason?

It’s not technically a grain but as someone who is gluten intolerant, it’s proved to be an amazing grain substitute for me. It also kicks most grains to the kerb with its goodness. It is a high-protein, low-carb food and packed with vitamins and minerals.

I’ve mostly used it in recipes that once I would have included cous cous. This is a quinoa recipe that I regularly trot out at home … I guest posted over on my neighbour, Veggie Mama’s blog about it back at the end of 2011.

Now, I was aware that quinoa can also form the basis of a breakfast of champions. I can’t do oats so I really should have jumped on this bandwagon sooner but to be honest, I’d been a bit unsure about it as a breakfast food.

Until, I bought a copy of Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar.

I jumped right in and whipped up her Chia and Quinoa Parfait and I’m so glad I popped my quinoa breakfast cherry.

This is the bomb.

Heads up, as the recipe comes from a book called I Quit Sugar, it’s not a sweet dish. It’s got a semi-sweetness to it from the berry mix and the yoghurt (I used coconut yoghurt which is naturally sweet). I’m ok with that. It’s not that I’ve quit sugar entirely but I err mostly on the non-sugar side of the food equation so it suits my tastebuds.

Sarah Wilson's Chia and Quinoa Parfait | I Quit Sugar #iqsIngredients

(serves 2)

Sarah Wilson's Chia and Quinoa Parfait | I Quit Sugar #iqs


1. Mix together the quinoa (cook this as you would rice using the absorption method – I use my Thermomix and do the same measurements and timings as I would for white rice … more tips from Sarah here), chia seeds, LSA mix (LSA stands for linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds and the ingredient is a premade mix of these), milk and cacao powder. Place in airtight container in the fridge for one-two hours.

2. To serve, layer with yoghurt and berries*

Berry Grown-Up Sauce

2 cups frozen berries

1 tbsp rice malt syrup

1 tsp finely grated ginger

1/2 tsp grated orange zest

1 star anise, finely crushed

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store in a clean glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Thermomix method: Place knob of ginger, orange peel, star anise  and cinnamon in bowl. Blitz for 5 seconds on Speed 8. Add berries and rice malt syrup and cook for 10-15 minutes at 100 degrees, Reverse, Speed Soft.

Have you served up quinoa at home? What’s your favourite way to do that?

* The aqua hand-lacquered tray, on which the parfaits are photographed was gifted to me by The Brown Trading Company. I bought the mason jars from The Spring Shop here.


Comments 19

  1. Make sure you source Fair Trade quinoa though – there is a big problem with the price of quinoa rising so high that the locals where it is grown (Bolivia etc) can no longer afford what was a major staple and source of nutrition. You can minimise the impact by buying a brand that is truly Fair Trade Certified. This is really important! 🙂

  2. Oooooooo, I love quinoa and whack it in just about everything: casseroles, soups, stews, replacement for rice…. Added some to mashed potato the other night and so YUM. I do confess that I haven’t moved on from my morning oats, although I’m always willing to try something new. Thanks for recipe xo

  3. Check out Michelle Bridges’ quinoa porridge with cranberries and raisins from her “Losing the last Five Kilos” book – this has become a staple in our house except I have modified it to include Goji berries instead of craisins as they’re better for you. I also use toasted almonds instead of walnuts which seems healthier. Bottom line, it’s good for you and it keeps you going all day (not that you should skip meals, but I’m just sayin’…)


    3/4 cup quinoa (don’t use the quinoa flakes – they’re horrible)

    500ml water

    Into a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer 10 mins. I do this the night before and leave it till morning.


    1/4 cup Goji berries or craisins
    1 tablespoon raisins

    1/2 cup milk (or water)

    simmer another 10min (while you sip a coffee and check out what’s happening on Styling You :))

    add some chopped walnuts or toasted almonds

    serve with a bit more milk if you like

    I also add some frozen blueberries if we have any, or a chopped banana. this is a seriously FANTASTIC breakfast.


  4. No I have not as yet used quinoa yet but i am going to asap as I want to try it and it is a superfood ,so yes I will give it a go,this recipe looks yummy,I am not a breakfast eater but i know i should so i will give this recipe a try,and I love chia seeds yummo,thanks again for sharing.

  5. I am actually terrified of using quinoa as a breakfast food although i know I shouldn’t. (do you avoid oats for the possible gluten cross-contamination? Or is it something else?) If you like it then I trust you! I think I might give it a go. I did make a pudding out of it once, like a rice pudding, and it was really nice. meanwhile, 2011? It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago!

  6. I’m a huge quinoa fan. Love it. Funnily enough, I went to a cooking class recently where the chef was pronouncing in kin-owe-ah. Made me wonder about his diversity of ingredients I must admit 😉 Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to give it a whirl!

  7. Today you have just given me another reason to love you Nikki! I don’t know how I missed that you are gluten-intolerant, given that I am poring over your posts as they appear! As a coeliac, I have only recently discovered quinoa, as I generally just try and avoid all ‘substitutes’ for fear that they will never live up to my memories of the real deal. Quinoa surprised me, because I used to love cous cous, and so finding something so similar in both texture and appearance was lovely. Haven’t tried it as a breakfast option yet, although I did see a recipe that suggested soaking quinoa flakes in a fruit juice of your choice to make muesli with nuts and fruit – was going to give that a go next week, but that parfait looks much more tempting.

    1. Ahh, thanks Marianne. Yes, have probably been intolerant as long as I can remember having digestive issues. I’m not coeliac (father-in-law is so I know what you go through!) Only stopped gluten three years ago after a nutritionist diagnosis and reading Sarah Wilson’s blog. We’ve got the same auto-immune disease so gluten is best avoided. I felt completely different three years after dropping. As you are coeliac it’s worth looking at this link:

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