Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries

This hearty Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries is a healthy alternative to your morning oatmeal made with protein packed quinoa, cinnamon, almond milk, and fresh berries.


Cinnamon Quinoa Bowl with Berries is a perfectly unique way to start your morning.

There is nothing quite like a hot meal first thing in the morning to help wake you up. It’s honestly my favorite way to eat breakfast no matter what time of year it is, but when it's cold outside it is absolutely the best thing in the world.

For many, a hot breakfast would mean eggs and bacon, and well… the Full English with beans, mushrooms, and sometimes even tomatoes. But for me? I prefer something a little bit easier to prepare, and a lot healthier.

That’s where oatmeal comes in!

However, sometimes you just feel like having something a little bit different, or you run out of oats for your oatmeal.

That’s where quinoa takes the stage and saves the day!

Quinoa for Breakfast?


You’ve almost certainly had quinoa for lunch in a salad bowl or possibly even as part of your dinner - but because so many of us think of it as a grain, like rice, we’ve never considered the idea of having it for breakfast!

In reality, quinoa is a blank canvas that is somewhere between oats and rice; something you can enjoy with any meal. It has so much versatility that you can use it for any meal – even dessert!

However, that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

We’re talking breakfast and one way to use it with your breakfast is to make it like you would oatmeal.

Quinoa vs Oats: Which is Healthier?

Quinoa is itself relatively new to the western world, though in some areas of the world they have been eating it for thousands of years. It's no surprise then that we are only just starting to venture into having it for breakfast – and one of the ways to have it for breakfast is having it hot in the mornings like oatmeal!

But how does it stand up to oats which we know are incredibly healthy?

Protein: Quinoa Wins

Quinoa’s biggest advantage over oats is its protein content. We’re talking 8g of protein in a cup of quinoa vs 6g in the same amount of oatmeal. The type of protein in quinoa also gives it an advantage over oats as it is a complete protein which means it has all the amino acids your body needs. Oats only have some of them.

Fiber: Quinoa Wins…Barely

Oats and Quinoa are both great sources of fiber, but quinoa has just a little bit more. We’re talking about 5g vs 4g per cup. It’s a small difference but worth mentioning.

Iron: Oats Win

If you are eating oatmeal for breakfast because of its iron content then you might want to stick with the oats. They have 5 times the amount of iron in them that quinoa does!

Magnesium: Quinoa Wins

Quinoa has 118mg of magnesium per serving compared to 61mg in a serving of oatmeal. Magnesium is important for giving your body energy, and helps you have healthy bones and teeth.

Overall Winner: Both.

Controversial? Perhaps. But there are incredible health benefits from both of them, and in reality, you most likely shouldn’t pick one over the other. So when you’re planning your meals to alternate between oatmeal and quinoa, your body will thank you.

Can I Make this Overnight?

If you’re a big fan over overnight oats then you might be asking yourself if you can make your breakfast quinoa overnight too – and the answer is yes, but it’s more complicated.

With overnight oats you add your oats uncooked, and it is ready to go the next day, which just doesn’t work with quinoa. The problem is that cold soaking takes longer to do with quinoa than oats and one night just isn’t enough so the quinoa ends up pretty tough.

So, yes, if you want overnight quinoa you will need to cook your quinoa first, but it only takes 15 minutes.

Why bother then? Well, one of the great things about overnight oats is how well developed the flavor is and that’s what you’ll be getting from making overnight quinoa! The flavor of everything you’ve added to your quinoa will really have time to develop overnight.

Just like with oatmeal, your can store it in the fridge for 3 days.

Breakfast Quinoa Topping Ideas

Pretty much any topping ideas you’ve had for oatmeal will work fantastically with your quinoa, from the traditional apple and cinnamon to maple syrup, banana, and flakes of walnut. Here are just a few ideas to help get you started:

  • White Chocolate Shavings, Chopped Macadamia Nuts, Dried Cranberries
  • Cashew Butter, Ground Nutmeg, Ground Cinnamon
  • Thinly Sliced Carrot, Brown Sugar, Ginger, Raisins, Chopped Walnuts
  • Banana, Brown Sugar, Vanilla Extract
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Almonds, Chia Seeds
  • Dried Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds, Sliced Almonds
  • Brown Sugar, Crumbled Bacon, Maple Syrup

Other Quinoa Breakfast Ideas

The Recipe
Cinnamon quinoa breakfast bowl  in a wooden bowl with blueberries and almonds.

Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries

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  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

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Add the quinoa, almond milk, banana, cinnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn heat down to low and simmer for fifteen minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. (If you don't want the mushier texture the banana adds, leave it out and then just serve it sliced on top.)


Top with blueberries or your favorite fruit, nuts, or yogurt. If you make this ahead of, add some almond milk before reheating. I like to use about 1/4 cup.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279
Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 80mg
Total Carbohydrate 55g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugars 18g
Protein 8g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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On Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries
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Sarah G.
January 27, 2021 - 11:42
Add a Rating:
Loved this and was such a nice change from my standard morning oatmeal!
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Megan Eaton
June 16, 2016 - 17:54
Add a Rating:
While I liked the flavors in this dish, it didn't fill me up quite as much as I expected. Next time, i might add some nuts for texture and bulk. Great flavors, though!
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