12 Jun Quinoa Porridge: Build a Better Breakfast Bowl
Oatmeal is tried-and-true, but quinoa porridge serves as base to your breakfast bowl that offers more protein, all 9 amino acids, and a chewier texture.
Grain bowls, buddha bowls, burrito bowls – whichever version, I’m sure you’ve tried this mode of combining flavors and textures. Perhaps you have tried it for getting rid of random bits of food in your fridge – another perk of a “bowl”!
Bowls may have become popular as our culture has become more gluten-conscious, therefore relying on starches like rice and quinoa instead of wheat (i.e., bread). Being vegan is also on the rise, and grain bowls offer the perfect format for a pile of vegetables and plant-based protein.
A quinoa porridge bowl is one of my breakfast favorites for both taste and nutrition reasons, all broken down below.
Grain Bowls for Breakfast
Breakfast grain bowls are a first meal that is much more satisfying and nutritious than cereal or toast. They can be free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and suitable virtually any other sensitivity you might have.
The grains can also be prepped ahead (like at the beginning of your work week) for multiple days of quick breakfasts. I love that with one “base,” you can make your bowl taste differently daily by switching the toppings.
Oatmeal is the original breakfast bowl base (long before the “bowl” phenomenon started), but you can start with a variety of other grains: farro, amaranth, millet, and quinoa, as examples.
Reasons to Love Quinoa (and Quinoa Porridge)
Quinoa is actually a seed or a “pseudograin.”A quinoa-based bowl has more protein than a bowl using other grains (like oatmeal, wheat, or grits) would. That means it’s more likely to carry you all the way until lunch without cravings or low blood sugar.
Cooking quinoa porridge with coconut milk, spices, and a small amount of sweetener makes it creamy and super delightful.
- 1 cup White Quinoa rinsed well
- 1 1/2 cups Coconut Milk about 1 x 15 oz can, full-fat or lite
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 2 tsp Honey or Maple Syrup
- In a saucepan over high heat, combine the quinoa, 1 cup of the coconut milk, water, vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender (about 12 minutes).
- Remove from the heat. Stir in honey and the remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk.
- Serve warm in bowls with your toppings/mix-ins of choice.
- For meal-prep in advance: store in glass containers or baggies for future breakfasts (<7 week in fridge, <6 months in freezer). Leftover quinoa heats up easily and tastes just as good.
- Rinsing the quinoa is key for reducing the bitter, earthy texture quinoa can sometimes have.
- Only have red or tricolor quinoa? The darker quinoa varieties tend to have a more earthy taste. You can certainly use them, but you may not get the light, sweet “breakfasty” flavor we’re aiming for.
- No coconut milk? Try another liquid (soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk)
- Only have lite coconut milk? That’s fine, it still works! I recommend full-fat because it’s more satisfying and will keep you fuller for longer.
- No honey or maple syrup? White sugar, brown sugar, or agave syrup would all work. Alternatively, you could use stevia (just a few drops).
And to Top it All Off…
This quinoa breakfast porridge recipe is already packed with both taste and nutrients. It can certainly be eaten on its own.
However, adding toppings adds even more taste and texture. It also adds a wider variety of nutrients:
- Macronutrients, like fat, protein, and carbohydrates (including fiber)
- Micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals
- Phytochemicals, like antioxidants
Eating intuitively – based on what you FEEL like your body needs and wants – is more important than carefully crafting your day around nutrients. With that said, it’s sometimes fun to see what’s “inside” some of our favorite foods, and why eating a variety serves us.
Breaking Down the Toppings for Quinoa Porridge
To add FIBER (for healthy digestion and more stable blood sugar)
- Seeds: chia, sesame, ground flax, hemp, sunflower, poppy
- Coconut flakes
- Dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, prunes, apricots, goji berries)
To add PROTEIN (for maintaining muscles and feeling fuller, longer)
- A few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
- Protein powder or dried peanut powder (mix these in, rather than sprinkling on top)
- Nut butter (almond, peanut, sunflower, soynut)
- Seeds (see above)
To add VITAMINS & ANTIOXIDANTS (for keeping your cells functioning at their best – think immune system and metabolism)
- Fresh or frozen fruit (berries, kiwi, banana, peaches, plums, apples, mango, pineapple…)
- Baked fruit (apples, pears, peaches, etc. roasted in the oven until slightly softened)
- Fruit compote (berries cooked over medium heat until softened with a small amount of honey)
- Cacao nibs or cocoa powder
Speaking of vitamins…if you’re looking for FOLATE (a vital B-vitamin while trying-to-conceive and pregnant), try these:
- Citrus (oranges, mandarins, grapefruit)
- Quinoa itself is good source of folate! (Enriched oatmeal and breakfast cereals contain folic acid – the synthetic form of folate which is also great while TTC)
For IRON (in which many women are deficient, but is especially critical for athletes, postpartum moms, and plant-based folks):
- Dark chocolate
- Dried apricots
- Pumpkin seeds
- Blackstrap molasses
- Again, quinoa itself is a good source of iron
AND don’t forget…
- Chocolate chips
- Extra soy milk, almond milk, or other milk
- Spices: nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin spice blend
- Whisky (my mom said they put this on their oatmeal in Scotland…and I want to be comprehensive, so…)
Maybe I’m kidding about the whisky, but in times of social distancing, it might not be the worst idea. Enjoy your quinoa porridge bowl!