Are you getting a little tired of rolled oats? Eating the same breakfast day in and day out? Sometimes oatmeal can get a bit boring but did you know that there are other delicious grains you can have instead? This Gluten Free Quinoa Porridge is as simple as making oats in the morning and includes favorite flavors like cherries and spices that make you crave this at the start of each day.
Building a Better Breakfast
For a less mushy texture than oats and a vibrant burst of flavor, make breakfast quinoa as an alternative to oats. By adding in crunchy and sweet flavors like coconut flakes, chopped pecans, honey, vanilla and sweet frozen cherries, you’ll be ready to face any day.
I want to make a case for breakfast in this time of intermittent fasting. Don’t get me wrong – you should fast and you should fast every day. During the night…when you’re sleeping. I have a post about that here. But I’m seeing people fast for the majority of their days, experiencing decreased energy, binge eating in the afternoon and causing their bodies to hold onto weight because their metabolisms are negatively affected. If you’re a person who is open to eating breakfast in the morning, this can actually be really wonderful for your body and for your health goals.
Gluten Free Quinoa Porridge is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a healthy start to your morning. Pro tip – make quinoa ahead and keep in the refrigerator for breakfast and dinner recipes alike. All you have to do is make it once and then you’ll be able to enjoy it all week long without any extra work. Looking for other meal prep tips or quinoa recipes? Check out my new book, Anti-inflammatory Diet Meal Prep. Meal prep for the win!
Quinoa is a healthy alternative to oats or other breakfast cereals because it’s a seed and not a grain, making quinoa naturally gluten-free. Note, oats are naturally gluten free but pay close attention to labels when purchasing, especially folks that are gluten sensitive or intolerant. Oats are commonly processed in facilities that process other, gluten-FULL grains and cross contamination can occur. For truly gluten free oats, find oats with gluten free labelling on the package. Minerals abound in this tiny but mighty seed: manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and tons of fiber. The recommended daily value for fiber is 25 grams each day for a 2,000 diet and in just a 1/2 cup of quinoa, you get 6 grams – a significant amount, which will leave your feeling satiated and satisfied until lunch. It’s also a complete plant-based protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, which makes it an excellent protein choice for vegetarians and vegans. The low glycemic index of quinoa also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Not feeling quinoa? Millet, brown rice or steel cut oats are good alternatives to try in this recipe.
Time for Toppings!
The combination of sweet cherries, nutty pecans, coconut flakes and cinnamon starts your day off on the right foot, with each ingredient offering loads of nutritional benefits. Gluten Free Quinoa Porridge is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants leaving you feeling nourished and energized to tackle your day.
Nothing is better than peak of the season cherries from the farmers market, but frozen cherries are super convenient and perfect for this recipe. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, cherries pack quite an anti-inflammatory punch. In a single cup of cherries, you’ll find 3 grams of fiber, plus vitamin C, potassium, copper and manganese. Compounds found in cherries also contribute to better sleep, improve exercise recovery and may support heart health.
If you can’t find fresh or frozen cherries, dried would be delicious too. Or choose whatever fruit happens to be in season, like peaches or raspberries. Yum!
Some say “pee-can,” some say “puh-kaan,” I say delicious…and nutritious! In a serving of pecans, which is about 19 halves, you’ll find potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, manganese and selenium. This humble nut holds more antioxidants than any other tree nut, but not to worry if you don’t have pecans on hand. Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios would be wonderful substitutions. Try toasting the nuts beforehand for another interesting flavor twist.
Sunflower seeds, ground flaxseeds or chia seeds are great nut free options that can be used for a crunchy topping too. Feel free to mix it up!
Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
Another delicious topping found in this recipe is unsweetened coconut flakes. This tropical fruit is another great source of manganese, copper, selenium, protein, medium-chain triglycerides and fiber. Rich in phenolic compounds, coconut meat has antioxidant effects and helps scavenge for free-radicals. Have extra coconut flakes lying around? Check out my coconut cherry energy oat balls for a satisfying snack or fuel for a pre-workout energy boost.
Sweeten it up
The combination of honey and vanilla pair perfectly with the sweetness of the cherries. Of course, if you prefer a slightly less sweet breakfast, cut back on the amount of honey and sweeten to your preferred taste. Maple syrup or agave are delicious natural sweeteners that would great vegan substitutions for this breakfast quinoa as well.
Spice it up
Cinnamon is an excellent addition to this recipe, adding warmth and depth but can be omitted if you’re not a cinna-fan. A sprinkling of cloves, nutmeg, allspice or pumpkin spice blend would be fun alternatives as well.
The possibilities are endless!
Anyway you make this recipe is sure to be a success! Starting with a delicious base and topping with your favorite flavors or seasonal produce will lead to a fabulous breakfast. Adding milk to create a slightly thinner consistency is also an option. Try whole milk for added richness, soy milk for added protein, or almond milk for a dairy free option. If you feel like mixing it up, try these pairings:
- Steel cut oats, peaches, walnuts, agave and cloves
- Millet, soy milk, ground flaxseeds, raspberries, slivered almonds and maple syrup
- Quinoa, coconut milk, coconut flakes, chia seeds, agave and turmeric (sounds strange but so good!)
For further breakfast inspiration, check out my other breakfast recipes on the blog for more ideas on how to start your day in a healthy way:
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup frozen whole cherries
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly until water runs clear rater than cloudy. Combine quinoa in a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring 1-2 times. Divide equally in two bowls and split remaining ingredients as toppings. Mix each bowl well and serve hot or cold. Makes excellent leftovers as well.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll ﬁnd cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.