Cream of Quinoa

By Ann Fulton

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My grandmother often made cream of wheat when I was a little girl and I loved eating it, topped simply with a sprinkle of brown sugar.  Quinoa flakes offer a modern spin on that tasty breakfast with a gluten-free grain that cooks in two quick minutes.  It takes almost as long to pour cereal from a box…Well, maybe that is quicker and we certainly do that sometimes, but this option is warm, comforting and has just one ingredient on the label!

Compared to the old days when I topped hot cereals with brown sugar alone, now I load on the toppings.  I almost always stir in half a chopped banana for added sweetness and heft. Berries or peaches, when in season, are favorites.  And, always, slivered almonds for crunch.  (I toast a large amount of almonds at once and store in an airtight container in the fridge.)  During the colder months, I like to take about a third of a cup of frozen blueberries, warm them in a small dish in the microwave, then pour over the finished hot cereal.  The extra juice that develops as the berries thaw is a tasty bonus.

If you have ever eaten cream of wheat or farina, the texture of quinoa flakes is much the same with the slightly nutty flavor quinoa is known for.  I include my favorite ways to dress up this quick-cooking breakfast in the recipe below.  I do think that a dusting of sea salt adds the perfect finishing touch and allows a little bit of your favorite sweetener to shine.   So you know what to look for if this is a new idea for you, I took a photo of the box, shown below.

So you know what you are looking for…you can find these quinoa flakes, or a similar brand, in the organic or gluten-free aisle of most large grocery stores and many smaller markets.

Cream of Quinoa
One of my favorite combinations is cooking the quinoa in coconut milk and then topping with berries, coconut and toasted almonds. I chop half a banana and stir it into the quinoa during the last 30 seconds of cooking. It offers natural sweetness and a bit more heft to my morning meal. A pinch or two of sea salt and a drizzle or sprinkle of your favorite sweetener finishes this bowl off perfectly!

Yields one serving.
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup milk (regular, almond, coconut, soy all work well)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional Add-Ins
  • A pinch or two of sea or kosher salt
  • Honey, maple syrup, stevia, or sweetener of choice
  • Slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Sunflower seeds or pepitas
  • Chopped bananas, peaches, berries, or fresh fruit of choice
  • Raisins, chopped dried apricots, shredded coconut or dried fruit of choice
  1. Bring the milk and the cinnamon to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa flakes, and then reduce the heat to low.
  2. Cook for two minutes or until thickened, adding a little extra milk to thin according to personal preference. Scoop into a bowl and top as desired.
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    1. Ann Post author

      You can absolutely microwave the quinoa, Marie. You’ll have to fiddle around to see what time works best for your microwave. I’d start with a minute, stir, and then cook in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until done.

  1. Mary Lou Keller

    Just found my breakfast! I had seen this on your site and went looking for it. Going to fix this morning since I am off work today and have time to be leisurely.

    Have a lovely day Ann!

    1. Ann

      This is one of those breakfasts that has grown on me over time and reminds me of the cream of wheat my grandmother used to fix, only with that subtle, nutty quinoa flavor. I hope you enjoyed your bowl. It’s quick and easy, too, which is always a help!

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    1. Ann

      I thought this might be new to many and a twist for those who, like you and me, grew up with cream of wheat. Hope you enjoy! xo