Toasted Almond and Coconut Quinoa Porridge, and Five Other Ideas for Non-Traditional Hot Cereal

toasted almond quinoa coconut breakfast

In spite of the fact that D.C. has been as hot and muggy as can be for the last two days, it’s officially October, which means ‘tis the season for warming breakfasts. Dearly though I love smoothies, I greet hot breakfast cereal with a particular kind of glee, and count my first bowl of steamy oats as one of my favorite autumnal rituals.

Oats, however, can get a little dull, especially when you eat them as often as I do. And the truth is that nearly all whole grains make beautiful, nourishing breakfast food, so long as you cook and flavor them according to your morning tastes.

Today on Food 52, I’m sharing six alternative ideas for morning grain bowls, featuring millet, amaranth, polenta, and quinoa. I love these bowls, each of which I’ve sampled and will probably soon make individually for this blog, so that you can see what they’re all about. The full recipe in today’s Food 52 post is for toasted almond and coconut quinoa porridge. Creamy, sweet, and topped with a sprinkle of pitted dates, I promise you that this recipe will not disappoint.


To get the recipe, and get inspired to think outside the oatmeal box, head on over to Food 52 to sample my six ideas for filling, hearty, and warm vegan breakfasts.

What alternative grains do you enjoy in the morning? I’d love to know!


Images courtesy of Food 52.

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Categories: Breakfast
Ingredients: Quinoa
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan

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  1. This was amazing! I tasted it before adding the dates and found that it was already sweet enough for my palate. So, I added shredded coconut on top with the toasted almonds.

  2. Always looking for new breakfast recipes to implement. Especially after reading “Wheat Belly.”

  3. Hi Gena,
    I reed a lot about food combining, especially combining with fruit. Is it ok to combine fruit in smoothies with lets say almond milk? Or with oats for breakfast?
    There are so many great recipes, also for desserts, all combining fruit with something. Your thoughts?
    Thanks a lot! Tina

    • Hi Tina,

      I was very seduced by food combining myself as I got into raw foods, but let me assure you that there is no–I mean zero–science to back the theory up. It’s just not how the digestive system works; everything we eat is churned and broken down in the stomach environment (which is strongly acidic no matter what we eat) and then transferred to the small intestine, whose pH is also heavily regulated. Things do not “wait” for each other, or pass through one by one; fruit can’t “ferment” in the stomach while a bolus of meat digests, and we don’t change our stomach or small intestinal pH whether we eat protein or starch. So, please do enjoy fruit with oats!


    • Tina, I know this comment was ages ago, but there’s no science behind food combining theory! I hope this helps put your mind to rest — it’s based on a really flawed understanding of digestion ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This looks fabulous, I adore the idea of quinoa for breakfast and need to try it! I’m in such a smoothie run and need to mix it up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I used to love couscous in the morning when I could still eat wheat!! I do love quinoa in the mornings, and brown rice.

    This isn’t non-traditional, but this morning I also ‘discovered’ (i.e. in Dreena’s Let Them Eat Vegan”) that you can grind steel cut oats up and they cook up like oat bran! Why haven’t I don’t this before?! Steel cut oats are the only kind of oats that I like cooked, but I am often deterred by the time factor. Not anymore.

    Your list looks great. I have some poor neglected amaranth in the back of the cupboard that might be useful now.

  6. See… now I’m just hungry.

    I don’t eat many alternative grains, I’m afraid, but I love making oats, and then adding a 1/2-1 mashed banana and peanut butter powder (and a swirl of peanut butter) into mine. Naturally sweet with no added sugar.

  7. I thought I was the only person to make sweet grain dishes with coconut milk ๐Ÿ™‚ All this time, I’ve thought I was crazy – like some kind of demented health-food wizard in her kitcheny keep – for doing so, and now that I actually stop and think about it, I realise… I must have been crazy to think I was the only one to do it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Summer heat hasn’t quite hit here in Brisbane so I think I can comfortably squeeze a few more warm grain breakfasts in – great timing ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I adore making breakfast polenta puddings, and I’ve often stirred in coconut flour to make it super thick and delicious. Maple syrup and sesame seeds for happiness! And now I shall click over to your link and see what you came up with ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Incidentally Gena, I love this post too! Fall conjures up many fond memories of my childhood, particularly of my late mother who use to whip up a variety of hot cereal delights for my younger brother & me. It’s about this time of year I miss her cream of wheat with melted butter & maple syrup or her old fashion oats slow cooked with apples & brown sugar or even her occasional malt-o-meal. It makes me a bit sappy to just think about it but your post gave me some vegan ways I can recreate those fond memorable porridges such as your amaranth recipe which does have a similar texture to cream of wheat. You’re awesome, thanks.

  10. Can anyone tell me the shelf life of amaranth? I’ve had a large airtight plastic jar full of amaranth in my fridge for way over a year, maybe two, that I don’t know what to do with nor do I know if it’s still good. I tried to air pop it but it comes out just like it went in the popper just warmer but nonetheless still bitter. Any ideas or suggestions?

    • My guess is your amaranth is fine. I’ve had some sitting at room temperature for at least as long as your stuff, and when I cooked it up it had no funny flavors and caused no gastrointestinal issues. I think the idea of using different grains as the basis for porridges is great- I find them a lot more interesting than oatmeal. Had amaranth today with soy milk, dried cherries, honey, and coconut- yummy, and very filling.

  11. I’m excited to look at this when I get a minute (probably tomorrow) — I _love_ how often we’re on the same page, as I’ve been playing with different whole grains for bfast too!

    I miss our conversations so much and am looking forward to resuming soon.
    lots of love

    • Oh gosh, I miss them too! And it’s all my fault, I think, for dropping several balls. Catch up soon?

      • No ‘faults’ here! I’m pretty sure I dropped some balls too. Just beginning to pick them up ๐Ÿ˜‰
        Yesyesyes on catching up soon!

  12. Gena this looks so very delicious. Once the cooler weather finally reaches the Carolinas I will have to make some (I know my children are ready for this).

  13. The heat just broke last night and your timing couldn’t be any better. This month is 5% off of bulk foods at the co-op and I’m ready to go fill up my grain jars!

  14. Gena, I have amaranth porridge really often, but I grind it first ( I dont grind it super fine, for about a 2 to 3 min)and then roast it with a weeny bit of coconut oil for about ten min till its malty and fragrant. Turn off the flame whisk in water, turn on the flame again and cook on medium flame for about ten minutes or as thick as you like it. I LOVE it this way with some date syrup and chopped pears and nuts. Roasting really does make ALL the difference, and takes away that funny raw taste as does grinding for the chewiness.

  15. Oh my, that Toasted Almond and Coconut Quinoa porridge looks way better than the oatmeal with chia seeds I’m eating as I read this. Too bad I didn’t read this first. I could have had your porridge instead. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I make Quinoa breakfast porridge all the time but without full fat coconut milk. I discovered half almond milk/half coconut milk by Blue Diamond (I think) and it is super tasty but with fewer calories and fat. I don’t do well on a high fat diet — even healthy fats, so I try to find alternatives.