The Comforting Ingredient Swap For Breakfast Bowls Without Oatmeal

For those of us who want a quick, warm breakfast that will keep us satisfied until our lunch breaks, oatmeal has long been the default. Sure, it cooks up quickly on busy mornings before the coffee has kicked in. But let's face it: There are plenty of ways to make mistakes when cooking oatmeal that results in a bland, overcooked breakfast you struggle to get down rather than really enjoy. Even with all the convenience and cozy, nourishing benefits oatmeal provides, it can get old fast.

Choosing an alternative base for your breakfast is a small change that can make a big impact — especially if you're sensitive to regular oatmeal. By swapping it for quinoa, you keep all the things you love about your usual breakfast while getting something new in texture and flavor. Both options are high in fiber and protein, neutral enough in flavor to complement a variety of toppings, and are warm, comforting morning meals. But where oatmeal can be dreary and homogenous, quinoa is light, fluffy, and can maintain its texture even after several days in the fridge. 

Quinoa is versatile but familiar

One of the best things about tapping quinoa into your breakfast rotation is the range of options it provides. Regardless of what you're looking for, there's a way to prepare a quinoa bowl that will suit your schedule and satisfy your cravings. 

If you're trying to avoid the often thick, mushy texture of oatmeal, precooking quinoa according to the directions on the package is the way to go. Cooked quinoa lasts in the fridge for up to five days — that means you'll be able to make a batch at the start of the week and try a new breakfast bowl every day. While precooked oatmeal becomes a gluey, homogenous lump in the fridge, quinoa stays light and fluffy, allowing you to easily turn it into a savory scramble, a cozy porridge, or an egg-topped pilaf. 

If you love the familiarity of oatmeal but want to try something new, you can instead choose to prepare your quinoa similarly. Just swap the water for your milk of choice and cook according to the package instructions. Add some cinnamon or vanilla, if you're feeling adventurous and know you'll only use it for sweet bowls.

Explore savory and sweet quinoa bowls

Since prepared quinoa is ideal for a whole range of breakfast bowls, all you have to do in the morning is grab a container from the fridge and choose the variation that sounds best. For a cozy, comforting porridge that maintains a bit more texture than your usual oatmeal, combine one cup of prepared quinoa with three-quarters of a cup of your milk of choice, then simmer for three minutes. Pour the mix into a bowl and add a sweetener (like honey, agave, or maple syrup), fresh fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, or cinnamon — any flavors that speak to you.

If you prefer a more savory option that doesn't add more moisture or change the texture of your quinoa, try a breakfast pilaf. Chop shallot, mushroom, and bell pepper into uniform pieces and saute in butter. Season with salt, black pepper, and dried thyme. Once cooked, add in your quinoa and a bit of goat cheese, stirring until the quinoa is warm and the cheese has melted. Then pour into a bowl and enjoy peak savory breakfast goodness.

Short on time and craving some fresh vegetables? Heat your quinoa, add it to a bowl of spinach, kale, or other produce you have on hand, and top it with a feta cheese fried egg and some sliced avocado. With incredible versatility, quinoa breakfast bowls provide the perfect opportunity to get in a hearty, comforting breakfast while also giving your body exactly what it craves.