• 1/2c water
  • 1c almond milk (unsweetened, unflavored), divided into two 1/2 cups
  • 1/2c quinoa
  • 1 apple (use your favorite !), cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 pinch cardamom
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt

Ever since I stopped eating meat in high school, I have made it my goal to prove to people that nutritious food can be delicious. There’s too many people who think that healthy food tastes like cardboard or whatever. And yes, it can happen, but that does not have to be the norm. Bland tasting food comes from laziness and a lack of creativity, not from the ingredients themselves.

This breakfast is one of my “told you so” dishes. Quinoa is by far my favorite grain, and one of my favorite foods. As a vegetarian, it being a complete protein on its own is also a key factor in my loving it so much.  Though it comes in three colors, I prefer the red. It has more of a crunch than white quinoa, and I love the way it ends up looking–deep red and brown and gorgeous.

The quinoa and the apples are both cooked in almond milk to give them a creamy texture and nutty flavor. The only sweetener used is a few teaspoons of honey, and a mix of warm, earthy spices like cloves and cardamom take this breakfast to a new level, while still making it familiar and accessible to even the pickiest, no-nonsense eaters. It’s easy to make, and is a great way to use up any leftover quinoa from a previous dinner !

Breakfast Quinoa with Spiced Apple Compote
Put quinoa, water, and 1/2c almond milk in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in another pot, add the apples, the other 1/2c of almond milk, honey, and spices over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium-low. I tried to take a photo, but, unsurprisingly, a cinnamon-colored liquid just looks brown and weird under stove lighting. Just trust that it looks and smells amazing in real life.

Let both pots cook for about 10-12 minutes–if the apple mixture is looking a little too thick, thin it out with a tablespoon or two of water and return to the heat. When the liquid in the quinoa is almost completely absorbed (a little liquid is okay), and the apples are soft. Spoon the quinoa into a bowl, then use a slotted spoon to put the apples on top. Spoon some of the compote sauce over top until it reaches the sweetness and consistency of your liking. Feel free to add more cinnamon or honey, some chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, or some ground flax !

This is the kind of thing you can adapt in any number of ways–switch up the fruit, replace the almond milk in the compote with orange juice–you can use any kind of quinoa you want, or even try it with bulgur wheat. It’s a great, protein-packed, nutritious breakfast that’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Easy to make and even easier to eat, this breakfast dish is quick, tasty, and a great way to start your morning. Enjoy !

-K