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meatless monday: cinnamon quinoa cereal

June 21, 2010

I rarely post breakfast recipes simply because I so very rarely change my routine.  Steel-cut oats with brown sugar, yogurt and muesli, handful of nuts with some dried fruits.  When it comes to breakfast, I don’t really flex the creative muscles often.  And then I saw Heidi’s recipe and realized I could kill two birds with one stone:  give quinoa another chance and try a new breakfast food.  What’s not to love about that.

Quinoa (keen-wa) is one of those foods that I’ve never been able to love no matter how hard I try.  I want to like it, I know I should, but somehow every time I’ve had it, I’ve thought “what’s the big deal?”.  Where did it all go wrong for quinoa and me?  I think I’ve been guilty of doing a half-hearted job of rinsing the grains and under-seasoning. After making this recipe, I feel my quinoa-hating days are finally over.  Now, to work on Mr. KC who still seems less than convinced.

Tips for prepping quinoa. Rinsing quinoa is important as it has a natural coating of saponins (said to be a natural insect-repellent) rendering its  taste bitter.  Rinsing is slightly complicated as I only have the tiniest of mesh strainers.  So what I do is throw the quinoa in a medium-sized bowl, add warm water and give it a good swirl.  I then gently pour the water out, using the small strainer to catch any rogue quinoa grains.    If you have a large enough mesh strainer to hold all your grains, just run some warm water over them for a few minutes and you’re good to go.  After a few good baths, I lay the grains out on a baking sheet to toast/dry for about 10 minutes on 300°F.  I’m not convinced the toasting did much, so you can probably skip that step.

So, whether you’re on Team Quinoa or not, give this recipe a whirl.  There are tons of variations you can try from the fruit, to the nuts to the milk (soy, almond, even coconut–go wild!) and with each one you know you’ll be getting one heck of a start to your day.

cinnamon quinoa cereal
makes 4 servings
adapted from 101 cookbooks


  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rinsed quinoa (red quinoa used here)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons agave nectar or brown sugar
  • dash of olive oil


  1. Combine milk, water, cinnamon stick and quinoa in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. While quinoa is cooking, give your sliced almonds a light coating of olive oil and sprinkle on nutmeg.  Cook at 400°F or toast in your toaster oven until lightly browned.  Allow to cool.
  5. Turn off heat from the quinoa; let stand covered 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in blueberries; transfer to four bowls and top with almonds.
  7. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar or  brown sugar over each serving.
7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    June 21, 2010 6:43 pm

    This looks delish. What’s the texture of the quinoa like in a breakfast cereal? Crunchy? Or super soft, like oats?

    • June 21, 2010 7:56 pm

      It’s definitely still on the crunchier side of life. As an avid oatmeal eater, I was surprised by this at first, but especially with the addition of nuts, it works really well.

  2. July 15, 2010 8:36 pm

    I am one of the folks that dons a “Team Quinoa” shirt. Love it. However, the 3 other members of my family are not really fans at all. Each time i make it (always in a different way), they give it the ‘ol college try and politely ask if they have to finish it. I AM TRYING YOUR RECIPE this weekend and will give it a ridiculously fancy name and see what happens. : )

    • July 16, 2010 5:33 pm

      Good luck! As I mentioned, it didn’t completely convince Mr. KC, but he did go back for seconds, so I feel like it’s a step in the right direction. I have a lentil soup with red quinoa that I made, I actually really liked it as a way of bulking up the soup. I’ve been meaning to post, but it just doesn’t seem right with this heat wave we’ve been having. I’ll get to it at some point, I’m sure.

  3. July 16, 2010 1:31 am

    I’ve recently started blogging a lot about quinoa! Its a great grain! Thanks for the breakfast idea, i’ll be making this and passing it along to many!

  4. Claire permalink
    August 8, 2011 2:18 am

    do you have to make it in the morning right before eating it or can you make a big batch and keep it a few days (like cereal)? I feel like it will be more like oatmeal in which case you would make it and eat it right away

    • August 8, 2011 10:30 am

      For the best results, I definitely recommend making it the same day. With that said, quinoa holds up considerably better than oatmeal when cooked so leftovers are easier to keep. I’ve definitely doubled the recipe and brought some into work to zap in the microwave for a quick breakfast. It’s definitely a little drier the next day, but even adding a little milk before re-heating would make a world of difference.

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