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Quinoa Upma with Cilantro Mint Chutney 

a savory Indian breakfast

It's been some time since our last post. We could say we've been busy feeding our spirits and not our bellies, but that wouldn't be totally true. Yes, we've been off enjoying life, exploring new opportunities and seeing the world. As I write this, Mark is in Madrid for work, and I just returned to the land of the living after a 2-week pilgrimage to India with my meditation teacher, Ramaa Krishnan, and 35 amazing women, followed by 3 weeks of jarring jetlag.


So, yes, we've been feeding our spirits, but we've also fed our bellies well. In fact, 2 minutes into my first conversation with Mark in Madrid and he was off blabbing about some smoked salmon brioche he ate for breakfast. Yes, this is what we talk about! My go-to breakfast in India was a dish called Upma, a savory cream of wheat that only got better with India's special spicy green sauce. Since I typically don't eat wheat, except for the two naan- and upma-filled weeks I had in India, I was determined to make a gluten-free version that was equally delicious. Truth be told, wheat is pretty wonderful and the dense, stickiness of semolina is one of the reasons this Indian dish is so divine. BUT, after considering millet and buckwheat, I managed to come pretty close with this simplified quinoa version that is worth the trip to the store to stock up on some ingredients. Upma can be eaten any time of day and would make a great side dish with some chicken tikka. 



  • 1 cup quinoa 

  • 1/4 onion, chopped finely

  • 1 green chile like a seranno pepper, chopped

  • 2 tsp green lentils

  • ½ inch ginger grated or chopped finely

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • 10 to 12 cashews

  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or ghee

  • 1.5 cup water



  • Rinse the quinoa and spread in an even layer on a dish towel or paper towel to dry while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Once dry, roast quinoa in a dry pan until fragrant. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

  • Add ghee to heated pan. Add mustard seeds. Fry until you hear the mustard seeds begin to snap and pop. 

  • Add cumin seeds and lentils until they begin to brown a bit. 

  • Immediately add cashews and brown slightly. 

  • Add onions. Sauté until translucent. 

  • Add green chile and ginger. Sauté about one minute. 

  • Add 1.5 cups water and bring to a boil. 

  • Add quinoa and bring back up to a boil. 

  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy. 

  • Add chopped cilantro.


Cilantro Mint Chutney



  • 2 cups cilantro leaves

  • 1 cup mint leaves

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 T lime juice

  • 1 tsp chopped green chile like the serrano pepper, without or with seeds depending if you can take the heat

  • 1/2 tsp coconut sugar (optional)

  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt



  • Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix or high speed blender until well-blended yet with some density.


Serves: 3-4 whether it's a side dish or main breakfast dish

Time: 20 minutes prep. 20 minutes to cook. 


HEARTFUL RECIPE - One of our real food recipes that focuses on veggies, protein, healthy fats and/or healthy carbs and doesn't include gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, corn or peanuts. 


Write-up by Pam.


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