Break out of your oatmeal rut and consider something new in that hot cereal bowl: quinoa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge oatmeal fan. My people are from Ireland, for goodness sake. But changing things up is a smart idea since every grain offers different nutrients. Quinoa has a well balanced amino acid profile (protein building blocks) and is especially rich in magnesium and iron. Oh, and it’s gluten free. Go quinoa!

Breakfast is actually my favorite meal for this teensy, protein-packed grain. Sometimes I’ll make a fresh pot in the morning; more often, I’ll warm up leftovers from dinner the night before. Unlike oats, which seem to pair just right with fruits, both cooked and dried, quinoa lends itself to toppings crisp and crunchy. Diced raw apples and toasted almonds are our standard fixings around here, or we’ll sometimes go tropical with mango and banana. Each bowl is finished with a drizzle of maple syrup and cold milk.
Breakfast Quinoa
If you’ve never made quinoa, here’s a quick tutorial: Put two cups quinoa into a fine mesh sieve (or colander lined with cheese cloth) and rinse thoroughly with water to eliminate any bitterness). Combine quinoa in a sauce pan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, put on the lid, and cook until tender (about 20 to 25 minutes). Any liquid remaining can be drain off.

If you want to learn more, here’s an entire blog devoted to the subject.

What ideas do you have for quinoa at breakfast (or other grains for that matter)? I’d love to hear.

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  1. Monica
    10.06.2011 at 8:56 AM #

    I had never tried quinoa before my Mom served it to me for breakfast! (Yes, I still let me Mom make my breakfast when I go home!) But she uses half steel cut irish oatmeal and half quinoa, which I prefer because I think the oatmeal has a more familiar flavor and texture for me. But I have a big bag of quinoa here, and as Fall is upon us in Cambridge, I’ll try a nice hot bowl of quinoa with fresh apples and pecans tomorrow.

    • katiemorford
      10.06.2011 at 9:24 AM #

      A little pampering from mom is always nice, at every age!
      The idea of mixing Irish oats and quinoa is really appealing. I will have to give it try.

  2. Pamela
    10.06.2011 at 9:53 AM #

    Thanks Katie. This prompts me to get some quinoa, I never knew that rinsing was to remove bitterness!

    • katiemorford
      10.06.2011 at 11:06 AM #

      If buying quinoa in a box, it is likely pre-rinsed and a quick rinse will do. If buying in bulk, a soak or longer rinse is a good idea to remove bitterness!

  3. 10.10.2011 at 8:00 AM #

    Katie, I’ve recently just begun experimenting with quinoa after reading so much about this ancient grain. I have to say that my first two attempts at cooking quinoa were not that great. It may be that I didn’t rinse it like you’ve suggested here. We eat oatmeal (or Oa-meel as my two year-old calls it) every morning and I’ve been thinking that we need to switch it up a bit so I will try this recipe. I’m also trying my hand at more “clean” eating and am looking for different grains to incorporate into our diet so I appreciate all of your wonderful recipes on using a variety of different grains. I’ll have to report back on our quinoa breakfast.

    • katiemorford
      10.10.2011 at 4:49 PM #

      Good for you for branching out on the grains front. Rinsing the quinoa should make a real difference…..I’ll be curious to hear how you like it.

      x, Katie

  4. 10.17.2011 at 7:03 PM #

    My boys tend not to care for quinoa on its own (unless it’s curried quinoa!), but for breakfast, I have good luck feeding them an oatmeal/quinoa split. On days when they don’t want the quinoa, I beat an egg and add it to their oatmeal, just as it finishes cooking.

    • katiemorford
      10.17.2011 at 8:28 PM #

      Two great tips. You are the second person to mention quinoa oatmeal combo. I like it! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Catherine
    01.22.2013 at 3:01 PM #

    Thanks for the tips about removing the bitterness. Do you have any other recipe suggestions for cooking with Quinoa? My son has a lot of allergy to food, so we depend on Quinoa quite a bit. Looking for food substitute or recipes that does not include wheat, oat, rice, eggs, soy, milk and nuts.

  6. Catherine
    01.22.2013 at 9:43 PM #

    Katie, Thank You so much for the references. It is very helpful to know i’m not alone and to have the opportunities to learn from other families dealing with similar allergy problems. Greatly appreciate your help.

  7. Jenny
    04.23.2014 at 2:31 PM #

    Thank you for sharing your Breakfast Quinoa recipe. We featured it on our blog this week!

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