Breakfast Quinoa



The first few times I made quinoa at home, I was thoroughly unimpressed.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it–I just didn’t understand what the hubbub was about. I knew that quinoa had a higher protein and vitamin content, thus making it an effective substitute for “empty” carbs such as white rice. But I couldn’t get over the slightly-bitter taste at the end, nor the slightly-slimy consistency. The little strings, or the germs, that extended from each individual grain were also not appetizing. At the time, I decided that the nutritional value of quinoa did not trump the less appealing parts of eating it.

Everything changed when I read this article on CNN’s Eatocracy site, written by America’s Test Kitchen. Apparently, I (and many other cooks) have been instructed to cook quinoa incorrectly! Armed with this knowledge in hand, I decided to give quinoa another shot; the result was absolutely delicious. Now I go through bags of quinoa quite easily, and most of them are used for this particular recipe.



When cooked correctly, quinoa is chewy, toasty, and nutty–flavors which I found very complimentary to milk and a touch of sugar. Although the use of milk instead of water makes this recipe more finicky, I believe the result is well-worth the effort. The mouthfeel of chewing on toasted quinoa instead of mushy oatmeal is fantastic–I haven’t gone back to making oatmeal in months. And as I mentioned above, quinoa is a great nutritional alternative to oatmeal or to cereal, both of which are largely empty in protein.

I will admit–there is a bit more effort involved since you’ll need to stir the quinoa consistently throughout its cooking time, but I believe it’s worth it for the flavor it will create. Make sure the heat only goes to medium at the highest and that the milk never goes above a light simmer; these precautions will go a long way in making the consistency, as well as the flavor, just perfect.

I’ve used strawberries for this particular photoshoot because they were what I had on-hand, but any ripe berry will do! I think you’ll be surprised by how much you like quinoa for breakfast, and I hope you’ll give it a try.



Breakfast Quinoa

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: breakfast


  • 1 c. white quinoa
  • 1½ c. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • fresh berries (recommended!)


  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running cold water. Drain well.
  2. Place the quinoa in a sauté pan and turn the stovetop heat to medium; no oil is necessary.
  3. Stir the quinoa frequently as the remaining moisture evaporates from the grains, ~1-2 minutes.
  4. Continue to stir the quinoa until the quinoa starts to pop, ~4-5 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat to medium low and pour the milk into the pan. It may bubble and sizzle upon contact but will soon level out.
  6. Cook the quinoa until the milk is fully absorbed by the grains. Stir somewhat frequently to prevent the milk from forming a protein film at the top.
  7. When the quinoa has mostly absorbed the milk, turn the heat off and stir in a pinch of salt and brown sugar. (If you’d like to add cinnamon, do so at this time.)
  8. Pour into two bowls and top with fresh berries and a splash of milk. Serve immediately, as it is best hot.

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Comments: 4

  1. Meghan September 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm Reply

    What a clever idea! I’m going to try this for sure! Thanks for posting!

    • admin September 24, 2014 at 9:19 pm Reply

      Thank Meghan! Let me know how it turns out :)

      • Meghan November 21, 2014 at 11:53 am Reply

        I tried it and I loved it!!! It wasn’t slimy at all, and the flavor was great. Instead of brown sugar I used honey, but it still was much better than anticipated. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to this new and interesting idea!

        • admin January 8, 2015 at 8:05 pm Reply

          Meghan, honey sounds like a great idea! I’ll have to try that as well–thanks for sharing :)

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