Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

If you need an alternative to oatmeal, these easy Breakfast Quinoa Bowls are the perfect solution. Not only does quinoa pack in more protein than oatmeal, but it also has a bit more texture, making it a great option for a healthy, hearty, and filling breakfast. 

Although I love a good bowl of oatmeal, sometimes I want something just a little bit different and swapping in quinoa for rolled oats does just that. I still get to enjoy all my favorite toppings, but the quinoa adds a delicious nutty flavor and texture that I love. 

This version with apples and cinnamon ranks up there as one of my favorites. Cooking the apples with the quinoa, not only softens the apples, it also infuses the quinoa with apple flavor and adds some natural sweetness. Then it's paired with the cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger to create a bowl rich with warm flavors. 

One important note, this quinoa breakfast bowl is not especially sweet and I prefer it that way. For a sweeter breakfast, you will likely need to add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.  Sweetened almond milk can also add sweetness or you could add some flavored yogurt on top.

Quinoa breakfast bowls with apples, cinnamon, and caramel sauce being lifted on a spoon.

How to make a breakfast quinoa bowl - Two Methods

Depending on how much time you have and what's in your fridge, there are two main ways to make this quinoa breakfast bowl. One is cooking the quinoa from scratch is one method using cooked quinoa. 

  • Starting with dry quinoa: To make this recipe with dry quinoa, you will cook the quinoa ina combination of almond milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. The apples also cook in the mixture so they soften and break down, adding apple flavor to the whole dish. The end result of this method is creamy and the quinoa is deeply infused with all the other flavors. This is my preferred method since I think it packs the most flavor.
  • Starting with cooked quinoa: If you have leftiover cooked quinoa, you can also turn into a breakfast bowl by heating it up with  almond milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. If you are using apples, you will want to cook them down first. Thie version is almost more porridge like. It's still really delicious. 

Can I eat quinoa for breakfast?

Quinoa is often overlooked when it comes to breakfast, but much like oatmeal, this versatile grain is a great, filling breakfast option. To make it a more breakfast style meal, prepare it much like you would rolled oats. Add warm spices like cinnamon and ginger. Add fruit for sweetness. Cook it with almond milk or coconut milk to add creaminess. Then top with fresh fruit, nuts, nut butter, and seeds. 

For those looking for a savory option, quinoa can also work. Consider making a savory quinoa breakfast bowl with cooked quinoa, sauteed veggies, and a fried or poached egg. Finish everything with a drizzle of hot sauce or some shredded cheese. 

What's healthier - quinoa or oatmeal?

Quinoa and oatmeal are both healthy grains that are high in fiber, heart-healthy, and work great as part of a healthy diet. One advantage of quinoa is that it has more protein than rolled oats and is a complete protein. Quinoa is also slightly higher in fiber than rolled oats. With that said, both are extremely healthy whole grains. 

Meal Prep Ideas

This recipe is great for meal prep and it's easy to make quinoa to have ready to go for the whole week. Simply double or triple the recipe, depending on how many servings you need. Let the quinoa cool and pack in individual containers to have ready to go each morning. Reheat in the microwave, adding a touch of milk if needed. Then add any toppings you like. 

Recipe Ideas and Variations

Like oatmeal, breakfast quinoa can be made in all different flavors. You can use all different fruit, spices, nuts, seeds, and more. Basically, any flavor that works for oatmeal, works for quinoa breakfast bowls.

  • Peanut Butter Banana: Either chop or mash a banana and add it right to the quinoa as it cooks. Top with some fresh banana, for texture, and add a dollop of peanut butter on top. 
  • Berries and Cream: Add one mashed banana to the quinoa to add some sweetness and creaminess. Then top with fresh berries and a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt. 
  • Peaches and Raspberries: Cook the quinoa, without adding any fruit. Consider adding some honey or maple syrup if you like things sweet. Then top with fresh peaches, raspberries, sliced almonds, and Greek yogurt.
  • Banana Chocolate Chip:  Add a chopped or mashed banana to the quinoa while it cooks. Then top with fresh banana and chocolate chips. 

Can this be made with leftover quinoa?

This breakfast bowl can be made with leftover quinoa instead of cooking the quinoa from scratch. However, the recipe will change slightly. 

Start by cooking down the apple. This can be done in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave. Simply chop the apples, add them to a microwave safe bowl, and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Use one apple for each serving. 

Then add the quinoa, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, ginger, and salt to the cooked apples. For each portion, plan on:

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • Pinch salt

Continue to cook the mixture until everything is heated through. This will take 2-3 minutes in the microwave. 

Topping Ideas

The topping options are almost limitless when it comes to this recipe. Think about this breakfast quinoa in the same way you would think about oatmeal. There are so many different options and flavor combinations. 

  • Apples pair really well with peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower butter. This adds protein and healthy fats. Chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts also work great.
  • To add sweetness, consider topping with some natural honey or pure maple syrup. Some other sweetener option are date syrup, chopped dates, apple butter, jelly or preserves, applesauce, or sweetened yogurt.  Stevia would also work for a sugar free option. 
  • For a crunchy element, top with some extra raw apples. Pears, berries, and bananas also work great with this recipe.
  • Add some protein by topping the quinoa breakfast bowl with some Greek yogurt
  • For a more indulgent option, drizzle the quinoa with caramel syrup, chocolate syrup, or peanut butter drizzle

Apple cinnamon quinoa breakfast bowls with walnuts, apples, and caramel sauce in a bowl.

More Quinoa Recipes

Calories 304, Total Fat 5g, Total Carbohydrate 60g, Protein 7g, Serving Size 1 cup

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