Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

by Gena on January 25, 2011

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Last week, before I sailed off into my first round of classes, I had a quick breakfast with Brendan at Peacefood Cafe, a sweet little vegan dining spot that’s conveniently situated two blocks away from my place. It was a cold morning—snowy and wet and altogether dismal—and so the restaurant’s quinoa porridge sounded like the perfect warming treat. It made good on that promise, but not until Brendan and I had modified the dish substantially.

First came the banana, which we both ordered on the side. Then came the pomegranate that Brendan had stashed away in his bag, from a fruit tree near his home. This happened to have been my very first time trying pomegranate seeds out—a fact that I tweeted about enthusiastically, as we sprinkled the drippy crimson seeds over our warm porridge.


Finally, and after I got that photo, we both mixed a scoop of Vega Sport Optimizer in vanilla into our porridge.

If you’re wondering whether or not we felt like giant dorks mixing Vega into our restaurant dish, the answer is yes.

We both really enjoyed the porridge—after all that embellishment, it would have been pretty sad if the dish had disappointed us—but we both agreed that it was more of a quinoa soup than a porridge. The texture was really liquidy, and since I like my oats relatively thick, I resolved that I’d try making quinoa porridge at home and get it to the right consistency for me. A few days ago, as NYC braced itself against 6 degree temperatures, I succeeded.

There’s a lot of good stuff to say about this porridge. It’s truly a whole foods recipe: you’re using cooked quinoa and simmering it with almond milk and blending it gently. It’s vegan. It’s gluten free. It’s full of protein. It’s warm and filling, but not quite as dense as oats. And it’s also delicious. Need I say more?

I used an immersion blender to break it down into porridge, a la Katie, but you could absolutely use a food processor, and blender (pulse it, don’t puree it) or simply not do anything to it. Even if the quinoa is intact, simmering it with almond milk will make it sufficiently “porridge” like. I loved the texture this way!

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Quinoa Breakfast Porridge (serves 1)

1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa
3/4 cups almond milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash salt
Agave to taste

Toppings – Your choice!:

Dried cranberries
Pomegranate seeds
Nuts, seeds

Place cooked quinoa and almond milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until the quinoa is absorbing liquid and is very creamy. Add cinnamon and salt and sweetener to taste.

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Using an immersion blender, blend the quinoa until it’s broken down and smooth, but still a little textured.

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Serve hot!

I didn’t have a pomegranate this time, but I did have some dried cranberries, which were just as pretty:

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Nutritionist’s Note: Served alone with fruit, this porridge may not provide you with enough protein, fat, and calories to make a complete breakfast meal (it all depends on your body and its needs). I’d definitely round it out with some nuts, or a tablespoon of nut butter. Alternately, you can do as Brendan and I did, and mix in a scoop of your favorite vegan protein powder or food optimizer! For example, I chose to mix in a scoop of the Vega Whole Foods Optimizer in vanilla chai, which we know I like. It made for a green bowl, which I thought was cute:

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This porridge is a hearty and nutritious whole foods breakfast foundation. With a few creative add-ins—and I know you guys can get creative for me—you’ll find that it’s a really complete breakfast option. Let me know how you experiment with it!

With that, I’m off for a full day of class and a special community service opportunity, which I’ll recap for you guys soon. Happy Tuesday!


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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

chocolate-covered katie January 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Heck yeah!! Blended grains! I *heart* you, Gena :)


chocolate-covered katie January 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm

P.S. The link’s broken, but I really don’t care if you fix it… I was just so touched that you mentioned me. It made my day!


thefruitpursuit (Sabine) January 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

you know what’s funny Katie? Here in Holland we eat something called Brinta, it’s almost like wheat bran (but we refer to it as OATMEAL…) and by adding just some water or milk and cooking/microwaving it it comes out JUST like blended oatmeal! Still haven’t tried actual blended OATS though, what am I waiting for? I think I will tomorrow AM :D


Kat January 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm

We have the same cereal here but it goes under brand names like, “Wheat Hearts”..a play on the word ‘sweetheart’. =o) It’s quite yummy with the Vegan spread Earth Balance and some sweetener (honey or agave). It’s really yummy.


Valerie @ City|Life|Eats January 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I often boil quinoa to porridge texture and add nut butter and fruit, but I like the idea of trying it with a protein boost. Thanks for the awesome ideas :)


sofia January 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm

oooh. for us immersion blender-less folk, they also sell this product i’ve seen (that my dad used to purchase often) called quinoa flakes. i wonder just how “whole” of a food this is, though? i remember feeling like the taste was a bit off… i’m sure regular cooked quinoa tastes a bit different, probably more like quinoa. but this product was a bit easier for lazy students/ interns like myself who don’t dedicate as much time to breakfast and lunch preparations as she should ;) food for thought!


Eliz@The Sweet Life January 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm

wowie–what a perfect recipe for these frigid NYC temps!


pitterpatti January 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm

That looks so delicious. I have been looking for something to keep me full in the morning, and I wanted something warm. This looks like it might fit the bill. I have all of the Vega flavors and vanilla chai is my favorite too :)


JL Goes Vegan January 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I’ve made something similar to this but it never even occurred to me to use an immersion blender! Genius! This will be a perfect post-run breakfast this weekend! YUM!


Lorin January 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Interesting idea. I’m still working out my relationship with quinoa, so this might do the trick. Of course, now I feel like I need to buy an immersion blender :)


thefruitpursuit (Sabine) January 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Haha I can totally imagine you guys sitting there sneaking food in your orders :p freaks!


Gena January 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm

TOTAL freaks.


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day January 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

There’s something about hot cereal that is so so comforting. When I was a kid, my mom used to make hot bulgur with cinnamon, raisins, raw milk and ghee.. I remember it fondly.. and love it even more now with soy or almond milk and a little coconut oil or peanut butter! Soo good!


Alli January 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

This looks amazing! I’ve been eating a lot of oatmeal for breakfast lately, but I feel like it’s been starting to weigh me down (pun intended…). I’m definitely going to make a batch of this for breakfast tomorrow, and plan on adding some almond butter, sunflower seeds, and pomegranate!


bitt January 25, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I have had quinoa for breakfast! I prepped it just as I would oats.

So many people have said negative things about Vega that I’m scared to try it. Is it very earthy?


Gena January 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I really don’t find it earthy at all! Sweet and tasty, I think :)


Anon January 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

With the vega, did you need to add more water to thin it out? (versus clumpy?).

Also, I have a question. I’m not eating grains – not my thing right now for some reasons. So I’m trying to make sure I still eat enough fiber or whatever because I’m very constipated :(
So far, veggies overload is not my friend (even if steamed), I just can’t take it.
I eat a lot of fruit, so that is good. I also eat 1/2-1 avocado a day (Is it okay to eat a full avocado per day…can’t control myself), and some nuts, yogurts, butternut squash and sweet potatoes (in terms of carb and fiber sources). Is it possible to have good bowel movements by emphasizing these kinds of carbs instead; and any other suggestions?


Lauren January 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Hey Anon,

Hope it’s ok if I jump in here Gena.

I’ve struggled myself in this past with this and I find taking 100-200 of magnesium before bed helps immensely. I use magnesium glycinate, but other forms can work well too.

Good luck!


Gena January 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm

It’s fine, Lauren, but I also think that anon needs to respectfully try not to ask personal health questions of me and my readers in the comments section, since I’ve mentioned it before.


ashley@quasichick January 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I really need to try this b/c I haven’t found a quinoa recipe that I love…maybe I need to eat it sweetened instead of savory.


Namaste Gurl January 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Quinoa is SOOOO on my list of breakfast porridges in the near future. Yesterday I made creamy barley porridge, by just grinding barley groats in my Vitamix. Simmered with almond milk, chia seeds and spices, it was a lovely warming breakfast. Thanks for reminding me to try quinoa!


Christin@purplebirdblog January 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I love the green color of the Vega! I had some brown rice farina the other morning that looks very similar in texture to this. I love breakfasts porridges, so this is definitely on my list of things to try!


M January 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Shakin and cryin right now. OMG, WHAT A BREAKFAST!


Gena January 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Ha! And what a great reaction!


Christine (The Raw Project) January 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Wow, I just saw another post using quinoa for breakfast and thought why not? This looks wonderful. I wish I had time for a breakfast like this on weekdays, but I’m looking forward to trying this over the weekend. It looks like a great pre-run breakfast and I wonder if it’ll be good with black quinoa.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

This makes me totally want an immersion blender! I wonder if I really ‘need’ it after I have a Vita, Blendtec, Magic Bullet and a zillion other appliances, but i actually think I would use it! Or i tell myself that anyway :)

This reminds me of the look/texture of cream of wheat. My grandma used to feed me cream of wheat when I was a little girl and she’d add half-and-half (cream) to it. And butter. Nothing like a grandma’s cooking, right :)

Hope your week is off to a mellow start!


Little Bookworm January 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I have only had quinoa in a savoury dish but this breakfast version sounds lovely! :)


elise January 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm

brendan’s been hanging in NYC for quite a while lately!?
i love quinoa for breakfast, but i havent ever tried blending it. looks delish.


Katie January 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Interesting – I wonder what would happen if I took an immersion blender to my kasha which I just tried cooking up for breakfast this morning. I think the kasha might benefit from this treatment. Will have to try and report back.


Colleen January 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t like porridge or oatmeal…


Susan (Oliepants) January 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I just started playing around with quinoa and I have to say I’m in love – I love the addition of the Vega Chai flavor! I bet that’s so delicious! Must give it a try!


Bianca- Vegan Crunk January 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Yum! I love the image of y’all sneaking pom seeds and Vega into your porridge!


Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun.blogspot) January 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I love quinoa, and I’m happy to see it in a breakfast recipe! I’m thinking maybe red quinoa breakfast bowl on V-day? Maybe with some strawberries and raspberries, in case there’s any confusion as to its festiveness…


Hannah January 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Mmmm this sounds so creamy and delicious!

I’m thinking of getting a protein powder to add to my oatmeal here at school–do you have a favorite, Gena, that is taste friendly and vegan?


Gena January 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Well, Vega optimizer is by far my favorite. However, it’s pricey! A little pricier than some others. Source of Life tastes awesome (to me) but has some soy foods in it, and it’s actually been ages since I had it, so I’m not totally positive it’s vegan. Sun Warrior is nutritionally stellar, but I really don’t like the taste :-(

If none of those appeal, I’m a HUGE fan of regular old hemp protein, which tastes a little hempy and isn’t sweet, but is neutral enough to work in almost anything.


Aurelia January 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Hurrah for immersion-blender friendly recipes!


Deby January 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Ohhh wait a minute!! This is wayyy to good!!!!

Oh wow, I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow!!! I often switch the morning oats for amaranth and cook just like you did with almond milk and its delicious but I looove quinoa too!! So that’s tomorrow’s breakfast!

I’ll be adding some bananas and blueberries, that’s the fruit I have at home, agave, and I always like to add seeds; flax, hemp, chia, to give that protein and healthy fats to complete the meal!! It’s the perfect meal to start the frigid mornings we’re having here!!

Love to you Gena and to all your readers!! Have fun in class!!!
Deby =)


Gena January 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Thanks, Deby! Ditto!


Lola January 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Yummy!!!!!!! :)


Sharon January 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm


This looks so good. Question…how does Brendan’s Smoothie Infusion differ from the Optimizer? I use this quite a bit, but would like to try the Vanilla Chia Optimizer you keep talking about!


Gena January 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm

The optimizer is a little “healthier” tasting (a little greener, a little less sweet and fruity) and a little more nutrient rich. They’re both great, but I prefer vanilla flavors to fruity ones!


Sharon January 26, 2011 at 12:19 am

Thanks! Going to WF tomorrow, will have to pick some up.


Emily January 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm

This is so timely, Gena. I just mentioned eating quinoa as a breakfast cereal to one of my clients today; now I can send her your blog address! :)


Jessica @ The Virtual Scrapbook January 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm

This sounds delicious! I’ve had quinoa for breakfast but never though to blend it! That is a great idea! :)


Kim January 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I’m also starting to expand my breakfast horizon by embracing different kinds of grains, so my morning ritual isn’t just oatmeal anymore. Sometimes I would even have brown rice to fuel my day! I find quinoa very tricking to cook, though I’ve used a pressure cooker and it worked well! I’ve yet to visit Peacefood Cafe! Just so far up (UWS) for me to travel to. :(


Colleen January 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

This looks so good! Your friendship with Brendan is lovely to hear about, but I’m also pretty sure I’d like to go to breakfast with *anyone* who whips out a pomegranate & Vega to stir into our porridge :)

I like the idea of cooking whole, leftover grains & then taking the immersion blender to them. Much more versatile to use up leftover stuff instead of pre-planning everything by grinding it dry.


Sarah January 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Even though it’s 8:30 a.m. and I am sweating already whilst drinking my coffee, you’ve just reminded me that I need to eat some quinoa porridge again – stat! You’re even making me question my planned breakfast smoothie!

My brother-in-law made me quinoa porridge for breakfast a few times the last time I was in the states, and I couldn’t believe I’d never tried it. My little niece apparently loves it (great taste for a 4 year old!), so he makes it for her all the time. Of course, she’s the same little girl who sneaks bits of lettuce from the communal salad bowl at dinner time! Kindred spirits, she and I :-)


Gena January 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I think I’d like eating with your niece!


lauren January 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I just got a pom on sale for $1 and need to use it — quinoa flakes sound perfect! The fruit reminds me of living in Granada, Spain — Granada means Pomegranate in Spanish — they were sooo delicious there!


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn January 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I love quinoa, and this is perfect! Quinoa flakes are always so blah, but I think the use of REAL quinoa will make a huge difference:)


Hannah January 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Oooh, I love the idea of pulsing the quinoa here! I love thick porridge but I also love smooth porridge, which is why I prefer oatbran to rolled oats. Will definitely be giving this a try!


elizabeth January 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm

As a somewhat frugal raw foodist – I almost never buy nuts or exotic fruits or packaged raw foods or anything but avocados out of season – I want to pitch the Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer, despite the price tag, as a “worth every penny.” I don’t know of any other product I consume (with possible exception of bee pollen, which I add to my Vega smoothies) that pays bigger dividends. Just try to assemble that nutrient profile out of your own kitchen. You’d have to buy maca and chlorella and a whole bunch of other stuff, and you’d have to know how to put them together. I go through a container a month – that’s twice as long as it’s supposed to last, by the way, as a serving is two scoops, not one. But really, unless you’re a triathlete like Brendan, you only need one. And it’s really flavorful, so that may be all you can take in a 16 oz smoothie. Moreover, you often find it discounted at Whole Foods (up to 15% off) and it’s always at least 10% off at Amazon. Even at full price, it’s about $1.30 a day, a very small price tag to put on your health. (I will say, that unlike Gena, I can’t stand it in porridge!)


Mandy (theamazonprincess) January 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Yum! That look so easy! I might have to make this tomorrow morning. :) Thanks Gena.


melissa January 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm

wow yours looks so much better than PC, although I know you love that place!


ainslie January 26, 2011 at 1:42 am

I LOVE sweet quinoa dishes, but i’ve never actually blended it into a more porridge-y texture. totally trying this for my next quinoa breakfast…and if I happen to steam and mash some sweet potato into it too, well, that can’t be helped.


KRISTEN'S RAW January 26, 2011 at 1:46 am

Quinoa is a rock star :)


maria @ Chasing the Now January 26, 2011 at 3:31 am

Thanks so much. I’ve been trying to find recipes using quinoa that I can make. I’ve tried a lot of savory dishes, but don’t really like the quinoa in them. I’ve had sweet quinoa before and loved it. Great reminder!


Stefanie January 26, 2011 at 7:47 am

I never thought of blending quinoa but I will have to try it.


Miet January 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

Having this right now (though not blended) – it’s very yummy!


Allison @ Food For Healing January 26, 2011 at 11:56 am

this looks fasinating! i might have to try it one day. i love quinoa and i love oatmeal, so making something that is both would be sweeeet!


Daphna January 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Gena, that looks great!! What is your favorite packaged almond milk when you don’t have time to make fresh?


Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:21 am

Want me to be honest? Blue Diamond. It’s not all fancy and organic like Pacific (which is also FINE), but the taste is the best.


Laura neff January 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Only bummer about Blue Diamond is that, as a company, they get a low environmental rating…not good stewards, apparently! :( From what I understand, Pacific is better in that way.


Laura neff January 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I love the idea of using the immersion blender for this!

Gena, is there any reason you couldn’t skip a step and just cook the quinoa in the almond milk (or maybe even a little extra so it would still blend up in a creamy way)? Would anything funky happen with the milk? Sometimes I use half hemp milk, half water for oatmeal, so i’m curious about that for quinoa, though I’ve never tried. Thanks for your thoughts!


Nicole January 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I literally just got on the computer to look up a breakfast-y thing to do with the quinoa I just made for my lunch salad tomorrow and found this! you are brilliant! thank you :)


Jeanette February 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

I just made this for my 8-year old and he liked it almost as much as his amaranth porridge that I usually make for him. I wouldn’t have thought to blend quinoa, which makes it so much more creamy in consistency.


Melissa Blanco B. February 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I am a big quinoa porridge fan. I make myself some all the time when I have a writing deadline (I’m a professor and I write book reviews and journal articles as well as work on my sole authored book that will eventually, one day, in the near future come out). I call it brain power food. Writing/studying, for some reason, just makes one hungry, don’t you think? Keep the recipes coming!


Jodi February 17, 2011 at 9:34 am

I just made the recipe and added sliced almonds, cinnamon, honey and blueberries. I didn’t blend it though — I like the little crunchy pops of the seeds. But will try blending — sounds good too! Yum. Someone commented about quinoa flakes. I bought and tried them once and they were very bitter — Yuck– definitely off in flavor as was observed. :-)


Daniella August 21, 2012 at 3:44 am

Hey Gena,
can you use raw Quinoa? I have never used it before but have some in my cupboard, as well as some soaking in the fridge? I am having problems finding a raw Quinoa recipe.



Anonymous April 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

Made it this morning for my 13 yr old daughter (newly vegan) and she exclaimed, “THIS is VEGAN?!”. We love it :)


Gena April 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm



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