Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding from Ricki Heller's new cookbook, Living Candida-Free,

Last year, I was fortunate to serve as one of the recipe testers for Ricki Heller's new cookbook, Living Candida-Free. Some of you may remember me sharing photos at the time. It was a busy but utterly delicious few months, and I am delighted to be able to review the book now. I am also delighted to host a give away so you can win your own copy of the book. To round things out, I am sharing one of Ricki's new  recipes today - Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding.

Before getting to the recipe (and give away!), let me share some general information with you about Living Candida-FreeThe book tackles the challenges of managing sugar intake in today's world. I think we all know that too much sugar isn't good for us, but for some people, too much sugar (or even moderate amounts of sugar) can result in a range of physical and mental health problems that persist and worsen over time. Ricki shares her knowledge and experience around an anti-candida diet, which is designed to combat the consequences of excess sugar and allow for flavour-filled dishes without added sugars. 

The book includes recipes for three phases of eating, ranging from no sugars at all through to moderate and selective intake. The amazing thing is that even in the most conservative phase, Ricki manages to create delicious dishes and wonderful desserts. It's not all about stevia either - she includes options for other sweeteners in many recipes. Her book also talks about what candida is, and covers a range of cooking basics. Plus, every one of the 100 recipes is vegan.

Baked quinoa porridge or pudding (recipe copyright to Ricki Heller, Living Candida-Free)
I didn't test every recipe included in the book, but I did trial the majority of them. The range of dishes on offer is fantastic, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts all well covered. Some of the recipes call for unusual ingredients or long-ish preparation times, but many can be made quickly with kitchen basics. Some particular favourites of mine were 'Creamy Black Beans and Rutabaga Stew with Bharat Spice Mix' (top left below), 'S'Mores Parfaits' (middle left below), and the 'Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding' that I'm featuring today.

Example dishes from Living Candida-Free (photos taken during recipe testing)

The Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding is particularly appealing because it works well as breakfast and dessert. I had never tried sweet baked quinoa dishes before, and the recipe was a bit of a revelation for me. Served hot, this is similar to porridge, but it is also enjoyable cold and it lasts well over the week. If you're serving it for dessert, it can be livened up with dairy-free ice cream or cream (recipes for which are included in the book).

Ricki lists various optional 'add ins' for this dish, appropriate to different stages of an anti-candida diet. I have never needed to follow anti-candida eating strictly, so I served mine with fruit. If you are avoiding fruit-containing sugars, it could also be made with nuts or seeds in the mix.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, but if you'd like to win a copy of the full book, just leave a comment below telling me the sugar-filled dish you'd find hardest to give up. I'm willing to bet many of them would be covered with a recipe in Living Candida-Free! I will select one response at random on the 31st January 2015. There are no geographical restrictions for this give away.

Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding

From Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from DaCapo Lifelong, © 2015.

Good for: all stages of an anti-candida diet.

I love baked oatmeal, so was delighted to find a way to reproduce the creaminess of oatmeal in a quinoa-based porridge. It also tastes great cold from the refrigerator the next day.


Coconut oil, for pan
1/2 cup (95 g) uncooked quinoa (either soak overnight or rinse if dry - I just rinsed mine)
1/3 cup (80 ml) smooth natural almond butter (or use another nut butter if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond, or hemp milk, or Homemade Coconut Milk (recipe provided in the book)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons (10 ml) minced fresh ginger, or 3/4 teaspoon (3.5 ml) ground ginger
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/16 teaspoon (0.25 ml) pure stevia powder, or 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pure liquid stevia, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a medium-size (about 6 cups [1.5 L]) lidded casserole dish.

Sprinkle the quinoa into the prepared dish. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth, then pour over the quinoa. Stir gently until all the quinoa is submerged under the liquid. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, uncover, and stir; replace the cover, and continue to bake, checking every 20 minutes or so, until the liquid is absorbed and the porridge is cooked and creamy, for 40 to 50 more minutes. 

Spoon into bowls and serve (this is lovely with ice cream or whipped cream).

Variations: After mixing everything in the casserole dish, add up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) total of any one of the following (or a combination totaling 1/2 cup [120 ml]): walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or Oven-Dried Cranberries (page 105) at any stage; or blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or chopped apple or pear at Stage 2 or beyond.

So tell me - what sugar-filled dish would you find hardest to give up, or would you most like to see recreated with healthier ingredients?


  1. This is so cool! I'm on a massive cookbook bender at the moment, so this is perfect timing. I've also been wondering what to cook for breakfast, and this sounds just right.

    I'd find caramel or custard so hard to give up - now there's a challenge! Making a healthier version of those... :)

  2. Sounds like a great cookbook!! I imagine the recipes are great whether you're trying to avoid candida or not. :) I'd like that quinoa for breakfast!

  3. I haven't tried that recipe but should do - but I do have lots of favourite recipes from doing the testing and am excited the book is out and - can't wait to make more recipes from the book - love seeing all the recipes you tested.

  4. Great review! Congrats on trying so many recipes. I am very weary of sweetener substitutes (can't stand stevia) but thank goodness I don't need to worry about candida. The black bean stew sounds great. ;)

  5. I'm trying to give up sugar and grains right now to reduce candida. This is perfect timing! I love all sweets but I'm craving chocolate hardcore right now.

  6. Sounds like a great book. I just can't enjoy baked quinoa though :(

  7. Sounds like an interesting book, I will have to check it out one of these days.

  8. I have heard of this cookbook and know it has been very popular. I'm trying to cut back on sugar this year as I've been doing a lot of research into acid/alkaline foods and the importance of having an alkaline body. Of course, anything with sugar including alcohol is in the acidic category and that can lead to cancer, joint pain, diabetes etc, etc. I think I'd find it hard to give up pavlova as I'm not sure how you'd make one without that main ingredient xx

  9. Oh thanks to you and ricki for this recipe- looks amazing! Can't wait to try it :)

  10. This sounds lovely, though is off the menu for me because of the quinoa.

  11. The quinoa looks delicious and I love your dedication in testing so many of the recipes... just looking at the photo collage is making me hungry.

    My sugary treat is chocolate... in slices, in tarts, in raw forms... it's very hard for me to give up :)

  12. I find giving up cookies and sweet breads hardest.

  13. Great review Kari! I'm a big fan of Ricki's and would love to get my hands on her latest book. I don't eat much cane sugar myself as I find it makes me queasy, but I do love maple syrup drizzled over my morning pancakes and waffles. I'd definitely find that hard to give up!

    I've never eaten quinoa in a sweet dish either, so I'm intrigued to find out how it tastes in porridge. Will definitely add this recipe to my 'to try' list x

  14. That baked quinoa pudding is INSANE - I need to buy more almond butter to make a double batch next time, because I nearly made it a single-serving event :p Either way, Ricki is such a lifesaver for amazing, nutritious and decadent meals.

    The most difficult thing to give up is chocolate chips, because I can't find any that aren't unsweetened. It's not a dish in itself but it features in so many glorious looking recipes that it leaves a big gap when I leave them out in terms of that yum factor. I figure I should order some choc chip moulds and make chocolate myself with stevia, but the lazy! So in the meanwhile I;ll just have to carry on sweetening cookies and the like with bits of raisin or something. I've always got my blood sugar levels under watch for pre-diabetes, so even some natural sugars from fruits hit a little too hard. Live and learn!

  15. I didn't try this on in testing but it sounds amazing. I had so much fun testing too and can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book so I can remake them!

  16. This is a lovely book ! I've had candida for a few years now, but I've only really been on the strict diet for almost 7months now. The hardest thing I found hard to give up is chocolate cake... I used to be crazy about chocolate before. So I can't wait to try all those lovely desserts in this book :D!

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    This means that you literally get rid of fat by consuming coconut fats (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from big medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!


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