Best Breakfast Quinoa Bowls 

The best? Oh, really? Quite the big head we have about this quinoa, no? It’s true. I freaking LOVE this breakfast, friends. It’s easy to throw together and only a handful of ingredients, plus toppings you can mix up based on what you have. And I love things you can switch up because then you don’t get bored, AND you can sometimes use up those last bits of whatever is in the refrigerator or pantry. Also, this is super filling and for a plant-based meal it’s not too shabby on the protein. Lately I’ve been trying to get more protein into my diet and being a mostly vegetarian can make it tricky. But that’s probably a topic for another post. If you all have favorite protein-packed plant meals, let me know in the comments!

Real question: Is it weird that I ate this warm quinoa bowl along with iced coffee? Maybe? What can I say, it’s iced coffee season AND I CAN’T STOP!

But also, I ate this quinoa two days in a row (it makes two servings, you’ll see) and I decided to not heat it up the second day just because it’s currently summer and I’m an adult so I do what I want. And you know what? It was actually really good! Kind of reminded me of overnight oatmeal.

Best Breakfast Quinoa Bowls, makes 2

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 banana
2 teaspoons maple syrup
toppings of your choice: berries, sliced fruit, nuts, and seeds are all great here
this is the bowl I used. So cute!

First, rinse your quinoa really well.

I use a fine mess strainer to do this, and as you can see I let it drain over whatever is in my sink that I may or may not need to wash. 🙂 Giving quinoa a good rinse before cooking can help to remove that sometimes slightly bitter flavor it can take on. I especially think it’s good to rinse here because these breakfast bowls are a (naturally) sweet dish, as opposed to savory, so we don’t want any bitterness left on the grains.

In a small to medium pot, heat the milk and salt until very hot, almost boiling. Stir in the quinoa and cinnamon, then cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 12-15 minutes (see notes) until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the grains, although it may still look a little soupy (that’s OK for now!)

While that cooks, mash up the banana. And I mean really mash it. Once the 12-15 minutes of cooking is up, remove the lid but keep the heat at a low simmer. Add the banana and the maple syrup and stir to combine. Keep cooking for another 5 minutes until the majority of the liquid is gone and the quinoa is well cooked, but will seem like porridge (in part from the added, mashed banana). Remove from the heat and divide into two bowls.

Top with berries, sliced fruit (I am sort of feeling like next time I’m gonna buy a mango for this!), applesauce, nuts (love sliced almonds here), and seeds. I had chia and flax seeds available so I added sprinkle of both of those to mine. Yum! xo. Emma

Notes: You can use any kind of milk you prefer here but note that it may change the cook time slightly. If you use something thicker, like whole milk or even 2% you’ll probably want to cook the quinoa covered for closer to the 15 minute mark. If you use something a bit thinner, like almond milk, you’ll probably be good to go around the 12 minute mark. But just taste a few grains and check for doneness—that’s always the best test.

Like I alluded to above, you can save the second serving for the next day if you like. Just omit the toppings until you’re ready to serve and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.