This recipe’s photo shoot was going swimmingly until the very end. Ingredients, sunlight, dog not on table—check, check, check. Then I told myself to quit being lazy and pull out the tripod to be sure I got some crystal-clear photos of the final dish.
I tripped over Cookie, the tripod arm bumped the foam board reflector, the reflector knocked over the mini milk pitcher and then both bowls. It was like watching a stack of dominoes fall.
It was Cookie’s lucky day. She helped clean up the spilled milk and I gladly called it a day. I’m excited to share this recipe today. I mean, if that recipe title didn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. Cinnamon toast! This breakfast quinoa really tastes like cinnamon toast.
I haven’t even been terribly excited about quinoa for breakfast, but this recipe is a definite game changer. Cooking it with freshly toasted pecans (you’ll toast them in the saucepan before adding the rest), coconut oil, cinnamon, and a few dashes of salt makes it legitimately crave-worthy. Do try it and let me know if you agree.
I found the recipe concept in an Amazon impulse purchase, a vegan and gluten-free cookbook called Yum Universe by Heather Crosby, who also runs a blog by the same name. I tweaked the method and ingredients, like I do.
This recipe is the perfect use for leftover quinoa, although I like it so much that I’ve started cooking up quinoa just for breakfast. Here’s how to cook perfect quinoa, which never fails me.
- Heaping 2 tablespoons chopped raw pecans
- 1½ teaspoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
- Tiny pinch of salt
- 1 cup pre-cooked quinoa* (either chilled or warm from cooking—both will work)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, more if desired
- 1 tablespoon chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries
- Hemp seeds, chia seeds or flax seeds (optional), for serving
- Milk or yogurt of choice (totally optional), for serving
- First, toast the pecans before we add the remaining ingredients. To do so, warm the pecans in a small saucepan (use a larger saucepan if you are making multiple servings) over medium heat, shimmying the pan often, until the pecans smell fragrant and toasty, about 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the coconut oil, cinnamon and salt to the pot. While stirring constantly, cook until the cinnamon is fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Add the quinoa to the pot and stir to combine. Cook, while stirring constantly, just until the quinoa is warmed through, about a minute or so. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the maple syrup.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and top with dried fruit and a hefty sprinkle of hemp seeds, if using. Top with a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve promptly, with additional maple syrup and milk or yogurt on the side, if you'd like.
Change it up: Try honey instead of maple syrup, use your favorite nuts or seeds, toast unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut with the nuts, top with fresh fruit or instead of dried, add a big dollop of applesauce, etc.
Make it nut free: Omit the nuts or replace them with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds).
*How to cook quinoa: Check out my preferred cooking method here. You'll need to cook about ⅓ cup dry quinoa with ⅔ cup water to yield 1 cup quinoa, but I recommend making more than that so you have leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast.