Overnight Superfood Bowl with Chia Seeds and Quinoa

by Gena on June 13, 2011

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Happy Monday! Nice thoughts on yesterday’s post about “fit” dining. I thought we all managed to be both charitable and honest with our assessment of everything from calorie counts to lean proteins. Thanks, everyone, for chiming in.

Since yesterday’s post profiled a restaurant that specializes in superfoods, I thought I might stay on theme and talk a little bit about my most recent superfood experiment. Lately, I’ve been having a hard time managing my breakfast routine; this is mostly due to my class schedule, which runs from 11:45 am – 2:45 pm daily (this doesn’t include the clinical work I’ll be doing later on this year). As you can see, it cuts right into my daily lunch. So far, I’ve been doing a substantial breakfast, a small but calorie dense snack at around 11, and a bigger snack when I get home. Dinner comes later.

This is all fine, but it’s not optimal for me. I’m not a grazer by nature, and I’ve always liked three big, substantial meals daily more than I like mini-meals. Obviously, life is life, and one day, when I’m doing 18 hour long shifts, I’ll just make due however I need to in terms of my meal planning. Right now, though, while my schedule is still forgiving (second half of summer will be less so), I’m more interested in finding ways to eat around my schedule that also accommodate my habits and preferences. I think I’m going to opt, at least for the time being, for a really big breakfast, a snack that’s lunch-like after class, and dinner as usual. And of course, I’ll graze when and if I need to Smile

So here I am, trying to think of breakfast options that are sating, and yet also not too hot or heavy, because everything I heard about summer temperatures in DC is true. Smoothies fill me up, but they  don’t tend to keep me full enough, no matter how much I load them up with fat and protein. Oats, which are my satiety-quenching breakfast of choice, are inconceivable in these temperatures. And chia puddings with fruit and cacao nibs, which may be my number one breakfast food, period, aren’t quite holding me from 9 am to 3 pm.

Suddenly it came to me: overnight oats. Of course. Whole grains are very often the single most vital food for keeping me full, and overnight oats delivers them without heat. The problem was that I had no rolled oats in the house. I scavenged through the hobbit pantry, searching for an oat substitute, when I came upon my box of quinoa flakes. If rolled oats can be soaked, I thought, surely these much slighter grain flakes can, too. I made a pudding of chia and quinoa flakes, and here’s how it worked:

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Overnight Superfood Bowl with Chia Seeds and Quinoa (almost raw, vegan, GF and soy free)

Serves 1 very generously, 2 modestly

3 tbsp chia seeds
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup almond milk (add more if needed)
1 tsp vanilla
stevia to taste


1 chopped banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tbsp goji berries

Mix the chia seeds, quinoa flakes, almond milk, stevia if using, and vanilla in a bowl and set in the fridge overnight. Add more almond milk int he morning if it’s too thick or pasty.

Top with fruit and nibs, and enjoy!

It was only after making this that it occurred to me that between my chia seeds, my favorite ancient grain, my blueberries (with their powerful antioxidant content), the cacao, and the gojis, I had a veritable superfood party in my yard:

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And the taste? OK, I’ll be blunt: soaked quinoa flakes are kind of weird. Oats are better, and you can go ahead and substitute them here if you are faint of heart. But then again, I like the health properties of quinoa, and I like variety, and they don’t taste bad, exactly: just oddly nutty. So this breakfast may not be a permanent keeper, but it was a good experiment, and may yield even better future tries.

As for my hunger? The bowl worked like a charm. I made it through my class day with no afternoon hunger at all, so I have indeed proven that my body likes a good grain+chia combo in the morning.

What breakfasts do you all count on both for satiety and for keeping you cool in very hot summer months? I would love a few tips!


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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany June 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I have never tried quinoa flakes, but this inspires me! Even though you are iffy about the results, I’m sold haha!! And seriously… over-night anything is just the bees-knees!!!


Serena June 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Yum! This looks delicious. :B I haven’t had chia in nearly a year. Just haven’t really craved it I guess. But this is definitely changin’ my mind. ;)
PS. What are your thoughts on stevia? I’m generally afraid of artificial sweeteners, and while stevia (the leaf) isn’t artificial, the white stevia ‘powder’ must be… and what about the drops? :/


Amanda June 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm

i’ve been seeing these quinoa flakes everywhere around the blogosphere! Still have yet to try them, but good to know they’re palatable in the overnight soaked form! Btw, I love the flavor combo of banana, blueberry, cacao, and goji! It’s so pretty too!


Remy June 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I love the nuttiness of quinoa!

For satiety, I rely on a combination of thickness (ie. an extremely thick smoothie); a slow pace of eating (if possible); and a variety of textures (ie. crunchy seeds with dried or fresh fruit).

Personally, if I include or end with a food that is psychologically perceived as decadent (some dark chocolate chips, for instance), I feel entirely satiated.


Christine (The Raw Project) June 14, 2011 at 12:06 am

I still need to try quinoa flakes and having them for breakfast seems like a great idea. Lately I’ve been more of a grazer since I need something before heading to work at 7AM, but my stomach is barely awake. So I’ll go with a breakfast smoothie and grab a snack before lunch if needed.

But this breakfast seems perfect for weekend adventures or even a dinner for me. Thanks!


Emily June 14, 2011 at 12:24 am

That looks good! I’ve just made this and it is in my fridge for tomorrow morning. I’m excited to find out how I like it. I don’t have quinoa flakes, but I blended a third of a cup of it in my ninja blender. The dry to liquid ratio might be a little off, but I think it will work okay. I also used soy instead of almond.


Lenna June 14, 2011 at 1:11 am

Overnight oats, huge bowls of fruit salads or smoothies made of frozen fruits (bananas, blueberries) with a bit of protein and fat added are my favourite summer breakfast. I love your overnight oats:)


Sarah June 14, 2011 at 1:13 am

I am a fan of overnight oats for winter and summer both because of their staying power and their versatility! Smoothies work well for me, but I am a sedentary office worker. And now that I am eating three squares (thus bigger meals…I did the mini-meal thing for YEARS), I often pair my smoothie with hot steel cut oats. Works well in summer and in winter because of the hot and cold :-)

I am so excited you posted this because I just found out I may have coeliac disease. I get a biopsy in a week and a half to find out for sure, but I tested positive in the blood test. I have to gorge on gluten until the test, but I will definitely be trying this afterward! I tried quinoa flakes a week or two ago for breakfast, but I tried them warm (with blueberries!) and I loved them. I love the strong quinoa flavour.

Even so, I know I will miss my oats if I turn out to be coeliac. They don’t sell gluten free oats in Australia, and besides, I’ve heard that you should give them up for a while even if you can get your hands on gluten free ones to let your intestines heal :-(


Gena June 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

Dear Sarah,

I really hope the diagnosis comes back negative!! Fingers crossed. But if you do have it, of course, you’ll find ways to manage it.



Sarah June 14, 2011 at 10:06 am

I am confident in my ability to deal with it too, particularly because I cook so much, but it’s the idea of trying to eat out or at other people’s houses that exhausts me. But if it IS the case, it would perhaps explain (in part) my lifetime of digestive ailments and migraines…and raises the question why NONE of my doctors ever suggested it before, despite years of seeking treatment for these ailments! We shall see.


Annett June 14, 2011 at 3:36 am

How funny expressions you have over there, “overnight” indeed! That looks like my normal breakfast of soaked rolled cereal and flax, chia, raisins, prune, gojis, carob or a little raw cacao in water and 6 amonds soaked separately and shelled. I eat fresh fruit first and my style is no bananas or crunch. It is both filling and light and yes, it contains a bit of everything. Lovely presentation.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 14, 2011 at 3:37 am

Your overnight bowl looks lovely, Gena!

What breakfasts do you all count on both for satiety and for keeping you cool in very hot summer months? = does vanilla stevia sweetened iced coffee count as breakfast? It will keep you cool. Not sure about satiated but I would be lying if I didnt admit to loving some iced coffee in the summer time, especially.

And ok, another thing I’m sure you are not into…but…a microwave. Yes, you can make oat cakes in the microwave in 2 minutes. They are portable. You can add chia seeds, protein powder, dried fuits, banana, or none of the above. You can top with nut butter, or not. They are portable in a baggie or a container, and can be eaten warm or cool. Immediately or 4 hrs later. Recipe and versions on my site. Microwave Banana Oat Cakes. Dont wanna link drop but they do SAVE my life with breakfast, snacks, kiddo, etc.



Gena June 14, 2011 at 9:23 am

Coffee is a part of my routine no matter what, dear Averie, but my appetite in the AM is too intense to forgo a bit bowl o’ something.

I wish I could do the cakes, but I don’t have a micro. Any suggestions if you’re without one?


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Well, you could make the same thing by just pan-frying or pan-searing them and you could make a half dozen or dozen at a time and freeze/refrigerate the extras.

Or you could make pancakes (hearty ones with protein powder, or chia/flax seeds, etc.) in advance to have as grab and go.

This gets far too complicated for me b/c I just need…my microwave. $20 bucks, Craigslist :)


Emily June 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

This looks great, I’ve been needing an alternative to hot oats during those hot summer days :)


Eat Hike Sleep Repeat June 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

Overnight oats are a staple for me: mashed banana, chia, almond milk, hemp protein, and chlorella as the base. Then I add whatever fruit I have on hand, plus some nuts or seeds.

I have also started adding rolled oats to my smoothies. This gives a great thickness (you can eat the smoothie from a bowl) and the satiety, while being super quick. I try throwing in the quinoa flakes for some variety.


Gena June 14, 2011 at 9:23 am

Oh my — love that first suggestion. Thanks!


Jess June 14, 2011 at 8:16 am

These photos are gorgeous. I’m so curious about quinoa flakes and recommend quinoa to people all the time, but it happens to be the one food I seem to be allergic to or at least unable to tolerate, which is kind of a bummer.

Overnight oats, smoothies (with oats added after blending), and chia pudding are my go-to summer breakfasts. I just polished off a green smoothie that was divine. That it’s barely 60 degrees in NYC doesn’t seem to matter this morning!


Daniel June 14, 2011 at 8:44 am

Going with the “overnight” theme, you can actually use any cooked grain, mix it with milk / chia seeds and let it sit overnight and you’ll have a great thick bowl of grains that are nice and chill in the morning. When I want something cold I usually do that and toss in a bunch of granola and load it down with frozen fruit – the texture is fantastic and the bulk is wonderful as well.

And I agree that smoothies, though filling initially, do nothing to keep me sated for more than an hour tops. :P


Gena June 14, 2011 at 9:22 am

Great advice, thanks Daniel!


Lauren June 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

Looks great! I am the same way, I’m not a grazer at all. I’ve always liked to have 3 big meals. I do a big smoothie with double protein powder in the morning, keeps me full for hours.


Alejandra June 14, 2011 at 10:05 am

Overnight oats definitely. Cottage cheese with mounds of fruit also provides some variety.


mary June 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

You can add oats right into smoothies. The new book “Cinch” has oats in all the smoothie recipes, I think.


Shannon June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

I’m a med student and the morning is key for loading up on a healthy breakfast that will carry me over into lunch time. I’ve been doing a chia pudding with a nice dollop of sunflower butter and lots of berries…works great! I also love quinoa so I’m going to give this a try, but you’re right in saying the flakes have a pretty weird taste…did the vanilla help to cover that up?

ps. I love your blog and your approach to food. I also wish you all the luck as you adventure into the land of school apps…its a tough one, but once its said and done and you’re in school, it was all worth it, Good Luck!


Emilia @ Namaste Gurl June 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

Lucky for me, I live on the coast right near the bay, so the temperatures usually don’t rise past 75 :) I feel for you- east coast weather sky rockets in the summer and totally reverses in the winter!
I’m with you on breakfast- I need a hearty wholesome breakfast that will tie me over till lunch. No measly bowl of cereal of bread will do so. I’m talking a big smoothie in a bowl composed of frozen fruit, greens, avocado or nut butter, protein powder, chia seeds, hemp, oats, etc. I usually add the same to my porridge bowls in the morning. Have you tried adding hemp protein to your smoothies or overnight oats along with avocado, greens, chia seeds, spirulina, etc? It really seems to do the trick for me! You should try my chocolate- cherry overnight smoothie: http://www.namastegurl.com/dough-boy-on-steroids/ Definitely does the trick satiety wise!


Emilia @ Namaste Gurl June 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

PS, do you know any online sites where you can find cocoa nibs and goji berries that don’t cost an arm and a leg? :)


Kelsey June 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

this looks scrumptious!

I’m with you on smoothies–no matter how much protein/fat I add, they never keep me full in the mornings!

Lately I’ve been bulking up chia seed pudding with protein powder, which tends to keep me full–plus it’s delicious!

P.S. why are goji berries so pricey?? I’ve resisted buying them for this reason. BUT I suppose they do last a long time, so maybe I’ll give them a try…


Catherine June 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I’ve been doing a lot of overnight oats lately (or soaking-for-an-hour-or-so oats). My base is always the same: oats, chia seeds, almond milk, and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. My favorite toppings are blueberries or dried apples, hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds, and a dash of cinnamon. Sometimes a scoop of protein powder or a banana. For extra crunchiness, chopped walnuts.


Anna June 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Gena, what kind of almond milk do you use? Or do you make your own? I looked at the ingredients list of mine recently and was shocked by all the nasty added stuff.


wendy (healthy girl's kitchen) June 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

This looks delicious! Thank you so very much for your answer to my last question about fats.


melissa June 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm

looks truly amazing, a great treat on a hot summer morning.


Laura June 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Smoothies are really my #1 breakfast. If I add both almond butter and hemp or sun warrior protein, I have no problem with satiety. But then, maybe you haven’t seen the size of my smoothies? Sometimes I drink one glass and then take a second glassful in a water bottle with me. Other days a lara bar and fruit, or shredded wheat cereal with almond milk and fruit and nut toppings. What about your homemade energy bars? They are delicious when taken from the freezer and still cold. I don’t normally eat really large breakfasts though- I get pretty snacky in the afternoon no matter what, so I like to start out lighter. Sprouted grain toast with a nut butter, banana, and honey (scratch that- agave?) would be a good option. But holding you 9am-3pm? I know that was an exaggeration, but seems like no food should have to do that! :)


Michele June 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Don’t forget about buckwheaties- always satisfying. Also, avocado ‘yogurt’ (avocado, lime juice, a few drops of liquid vanilla creme stevia and a dash of salt).


Ilana June 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm

This post inspired me to go out and buy chia seeds!


Gena June 15, 2011 at 8:27 am



Meghan @ StruggleMuffins June 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I hear you loud and clear on the quinoa flakes being a lil’ weird, and notsomuch in a good way. I like quinoa flakes when I can cook them into a recipe that has a lot going on; in an uncooked concoction like overnight oats, there’s no way to disguise their sawdust-like qualities. I’m a big proponent of overnight oats with either oats or Ezekial cereal, mixed with cocoa powder, chocolate Amazing Grass powder, chia seed or flaxseed, mashed bananer, almond milk and vegan protein powder of choice – all topped with a nut butter, of course. Or I’ll make a couple pancakes with flaxseed or chia seed and whatever flour strikes my fancy, stick them in the fridge overnight and them make a pancake sammich by adding banana slices, granola and nut butter and taking it with me on-the-go in the morning!


BroccoliHut June 14, 2011 at 9:06 pm

What a fantastic combination of flavors!I always count on smoothies loaded with nut butter, wheat germ, and protein for satiety.


Bex June 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Definitely a grains girl for breakfast! I like steel cut oats with banana, raisins, and nuts. The only other thing that keeps my really full is that super dense, thin-sliced pumpernickel bread from Germany. Smeared with almond butter, it keeps me super full til lunch.


amy June 15, 2011 at 1:14 am

I make a big batch of quinoa and put it in the fridge to cool. Each morning I grab a big scoop and cover it in hemp milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, maple syrup, mixed raw nuts and fresh berries. I don’t heat it up and just eat it cold. Very filling and perfect for hot weather!!! I also have a plate of steamed greens. I never thought I would be a greens for breakfast kind of girl, but russian kale is phenomenal in the morning!


Gena June 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

What a terrific idea! Thanks!


Lauren Slayton June 15, 2011 at 9:54 am

I think you dealing with schedule snafus is so helpful to your readers. How long did this hold you? I find I can get from 830-almost 2 on a heavy smoothie and a few nuts. It’s not easy though. Is it bad that it’s 11am and I want lunch now?


Marie June 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

If i’m up at 7:30, I always want lunch at 11 lol


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 15, 2011 at 10:28 am

I’m not sure if you have tried spelt flakes, but they work amazing in overnight oats! They are my new fav way to enjoy them. I havent tried quinoa flakes yet though! I love that you added goji berries…I need to buy those more often.


Jen @ keepitsimplefoods June 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

Wish I’d had one of these for breakfast! They look amazing!


Jo June 17, 2011 at 6:21 am

Hi Gena,
Whats a normal serving size of oat bran? Is it 1/3rd cup? 1/2? Im new to this… just wondering!


Lynna @wholeytreats June 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

Mmm this looks delicious. I’ve been making something similar for breakfast for a few weeks now but with oats instead of quinoa flakes and granola and almond butter on top. It holds me over pretty well, but I don’t think anything could hold me over from 9am-3pm!!

I used to have a similar schedule to you at work, and I liked having a small snack or juice in the morning and a good breakfast right before I left for work. This way I was just getting hungry for lunch around 2:30 or 3.


valerie June 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Thank you so much for this great idea! I was getting so tired of regular cooked oats in the morning (especially in the summer in Hawaii!) I adapted your recipe (and gave you credit on my blog). Oats and chia are amazing with almond breeze!

Your blog is the best vegan/raw food blog! Don’t ever stop writing!



Gena June 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

Aw! Thanks!


Mike July 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Great recipe! I love chia seeds but I only use them in my smoothies. Gonna definitely try this.
I recently wrote an article on the health benefits of chia seeds, check it out and let me know what do you think about it, I would really appreciate it!

Mike @TheIronYou


Yummy November 25, 2011 at 6:45 am

I tried this soak with just chia, coconut and whole quinoa…revolutionary, nutty, textural, amazing!!!…then I used this mixture as a protein boost to a blended soup after it was cooked…holy more amazing.


Heather July 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I have never had overnight oats or chia… until now! :) I just made an adapted version of this recipe based off what I already had on hand & I am shocked at how full I am!

Thank you for introducing me to what I know will become a staple in our house! :)


Loraine Bethers February 1, 2013 at 1:51 am

You article is well written. I enjoy reading your blog.


Pauletta Arb February 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm

This is just amazing. I wish I could do the same.


Lulu June 29, 2013 at 9:18 am

You can’t eat from 9am to 3pm?? That’s insane! Props up to you for surviving that long endeavor! Once I had a cold oatmeal parfait (bought from school) consisted of oatmeal and berries and granola and that was good enough to last me from 10am to 3 or 4pm, but I was ravenous afterwards.


mp January 8, 2014 at 6:20 am

My milk did not get absorbed. I had the same issue with my oats. What am I doing wrong? I left out the Chia seeds, but that shouldn’t have made a huge difference.


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