Break out of your oatmeal rut and consider something new in that hot cereal bowl: healthy breakfast quinoa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge oatmeal fan. My people are from Ireland, for goodness sake. But finding easy ways to change things up is a smart idea, since every grain offers different nutrients.

Is Quinoa Good for You?

Yes! Quinoa has much to offer on the nutrition front. It has a well balanced amino acid profile (protein building blocks) and is especially rich in magnesium and iron. If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s a particularly good option for upping your dietary protein. It’s also a fiber-rich, slow-release carbohydrate, which means it provides sustained energy.

Apples, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and quinoa: Ingredients for breakfast quinoa

Oatmeal Versus Quinoa

Both oatmeal and quinoa are gluten-free and nourishing. Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain, which may explain why it is higher in protein than oatmeal. And unlike oats, which seem to pair just right with fruits, both cooked and dried, quinoa lends itself to crisp and crunchy toppings. Diced raw apples and toasted  nuts are our standard fixings around here, or we’ll sometimes go tropical with mango and crispy coconut chips. Each bowl is finished with a drizzle of maple syrup and cold milk.

How to Make Breakfast 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. Here’s how:

  1. Put the quinoa into a medium saucepan and fill with water until it covers the quinoa by a good inch or so.
  2. Bring it to a boil, cook until tender, then drain well.
  3. Spoon it into serving bowls and enjoy warm or stash it in the fridge for next time. Chilled quinoa can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave.

A Few Tips for Breakfast Quinoa

  • If your quinoa isn’t labeled “pre-rinsed” get it into a fine mesh colander and give it a good rinse before cooking.
  • Be sure to use a fine mesh strainer. It’s a tiny grain, so will slip through the holes of a standard colander
  • Drain it well after cooking. My preferred method for cooking quinoa is to boil it, much like you do pasta. This means you need to leave it to drain for a minute or two before eating.
  • Store leftover quinoa in the fridge in a container with a tight seal so it doesn’t dry out.

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

Be sure to try these other easy, healthy breakfast recipes!

Skillet Egg and Veggie Bowl

Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie

Oat and Millet Breakfast Bars

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Egg Wraps

Healthy Breakfast Egg Muffins by Well Plated

Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Skillet with Eggs by Joyful Healthy Eats

Breakfast Quinoa

Servings 3 to 4 servings
Author katiemorford


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup diced apples/pears, berries, banana, or mango
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts or whole seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Milk
  • Maple syrup or honey for sweetness, if desired
  • Cinnamon, if desired


  1. If the quinoa isn't labeled "pre-rinsed", pour it into a fine mesh sieve or colander and rinse thoroughly under warm water.
  2. Transfer the quinoa to a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover the quinoa by at least 1 ½ inches. Set the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. When the water boils, drop the heat until it simmers vigorously. Simmer until it is tender, about 15 minutes. Pour into a colander and leave to drain in the sink for a few minutes.

  3. To serve, divide warm quinoa among 4 bowls. Top with fruit and nuts/seeds. Drizzle with milk and add maple syrup and cinnamon, if desired.