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Quinoa for breakfast? Oh yeah!

Quinoa breakfast cereal wit fruit
Desayuno de quinua con fruta

There are many ways to prepare quinoa yet the most traditional way of the Andes is to make it into a porridge, whether sweet or savory. It is also used to add to soup. One of my favorite ways to eat it is for breakfast with the natural sweetness that can come from fresh and dried fruit. Today, I wanted to share a tip and an idea of what to do with "leftover" quinoa so that it never goes to waste! This is the very simple recipe for "Desayuno de quinua con fruta," or breakfast quinoa cereal with fruit. It is vegan (though you could add any kind of milk) and can be prepared in 20 minutes or less (if you have leftovers!).

Let's talk a little bit about quinoa first and its preparation to make it last in your fridge.

Quinua (in Quechua or Spanish), or quinoa (in English or Spanish), is an ancient pseudo-cereal. "Pseudo" because it is actually a seed like amaranth or chia. It is indigenous to the Andes and was known as the Mother Grain because of its importance in the sustenance of pre-Incan and Incan civilizations. As I've mentioned in other posts, quinoa grows with its own protection from birds. The seeds are coated with saponin to deter birds from eating them. Saponin makes the seeds very bitter and they must be washed several times before cooking and eating them. (To view an example of washing in one of my videos, click here.) Because of the nature of quinoa, sometimes it can seem like a lot of work to prepare it but if you plan ahead and make a larger amount, you can use quinoa in many of your dishes by sprinkling some in your salads, in your soups, and as a hot breakfast cereal as I'll share below.

Cooke quinoa in a pot
Cooked quinoa

My suggestion is to make a pot of quinoa without any seasonings, not even salt. It will keep longer in the fridge this way. Then if you'd like to add it it to soups, salads, or to make a porridge, you can season afterwards to your liking and create something sweet or savory. As an aside, I was also taught that you should not season quinoa while cooking it (with salt) as it does not allow the seeds to open properly and evenly. I am not sure if it's an old wive's tale or not, but I trust in my elders' knowledge!

This recipe will begin with an already prepared pot of quinoa but we will cook up some fresh fruit for the topping and mix-ins.

My recipe is but a jumping off point and you can use ANY type of fruit you enjoy. I am going to use pineapple, cranberries and pepitas (also known as pumpkin seeds, all of which are indigenous to the Americas) but you could also use apples, peaches, mango, strawberries, blueberries, fresh cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, etc. Whatever is in season and whatever your preference. Super easy, super nutritious, and super yummy! Buen provecho, amig@s!


Bowl of quinoa with fruit topping

Desayuno de quinua con fruta (Breakfast quinoa cereal with fruit)

Serves 2


  • 3 cups white quinoa, cooked

  • 1/2 cup water (plus more to cover fruit)

  • 1 pineapple, skinned, cored, and diced small

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 6 whole cloves

  • 3/4 cup organic dried cranberries

  • Maple syrup or cane sugar, to taste, if needed

  • Pinch salt


  1. After dicing pineapple, place in a small pot and add enough water to just cover the flesh of the fruit.

  2. Add cinnamon stick and cloves to the pot.

  3. Add a pinch salt and added sugar if the fruit is not quite sweet enough.

  4. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.

  5. Add dried cranberries and let simmer for 5 more minutes, until cranberries become plump.

  6. Turn off heat and reserve.

  7. In another small pot add quinoa and half cup water. Heat through.

  8. Add 4 tablespoons of the pineapple-cranberry mixture and a bit of the water from the fruit.

  9. Heat until flavors are combined and adjust any seasoning.

  10. Serve warm and top with additional dried cranberries and pepitas or sunflower seeds.

Note: You will have leftover fruit mixture. Use it for smoothies, add it to other hot cereals, put it on top of ice cream, or freeze it for future use!

Another note: You can add any type of milk in this recipe for a creamier outcome in place of the water.

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