Quinua con Leche

Arroz con leche, or rice pudding, is ubiquitous in Latinx food culture, but countries around the world—from Asia, and the Middle East, to Europe—prepare their local versions. Spanish colonial foodways introduced arroz con leche to Peru and the dessert is most popular in Lima, where families often serve it as a dessert combinado with mazamorra morada, a purple corn pudding. My travels to the Andes inspired this variation that calls for the ancestral Inca Mother Grain—quinoa—instead of rice. Quinoa is not only the star of this dessert, but also a source of complete protein. Here, oat milk makes the pudding vegan. Cinnamon and fruit peel, prevalent in many Peruvian desserts, provide a warm, sharp, and familiar aroma. To cook this dessert is to bring together the world of Peru’s Andes and the coastal capital. Sweet, creamy, and comforting, this pudding reminds me of home.

Quinua con Leche / Quinoa Oat Milk Pudding

Serves 4

  • 1 cup white quinoa, rinsed
  • 3½ cups oat milk
  • orange peel from half an orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • orange zest or cinnamon powder, for garnish

In a 2-quart pot with thick bottom, combine the quinoa, 3 cups oat milk, the orange peel, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is reduced, about 15 minutes

Mix in the sugar, vanilla extract, and remaining ½ cup oat milk. Stir for about 5 minutes to achieve a creamy consistency. Remove from the heat. Compost the orange peel and cinnamon stick.

Serve warm in small ramekins and garnish with orange zest or cinnamon powder.