Quinoa Breakfast Salad

January 30th, 2012  |  Breakfast, Free of Gluten, Fruit, Other, Salads, Side Dishes  |  1 Comment

My father-in-law called the other day and said he was taking the kids on an overnight adventure Friday night.  An overnight adventure, what??  I didn't even ask what they were going to do---I didn't care---I immediately called my husband and shared the good news!  We were beside ourselves with glee.  Usually, we are going out of town or to some sort of event when the kids go to stay at grandma and grandpa's for the night...but this particular Friday evening we had no plans.  NO PLANS + NO KIDS = COMPLETE AND UTTER BLISS.

We certainly contemplated calling some friends to go out on the town and blow it out on this very special occasion, but in the end we decided it would be nice to just stay at home together and putz around the house.  You see, we got pregnant on our honeymoon {actually about two hours after our marriage ceremony, but it sounds lovelier to say it happened on our honeymoon} and we haven't had much time alone together since the day we said "I do".

The best part of our stay-at-home overnighter without the kids was waking up, enjoying our cup of coffee together in the morning {in complete silence} and this simple and delicious breakfast salad I put together.  It was very filling, but didn't leave us weighted down like a big bacon and egg breakfast would have.  We felt really good eating it and my husband asked if we could have it on a more routine basis.  Um, yes!  It's so easy to make, especially if you make the quinoa ahead of time {and store it in the refrigerator} and just toss in the fresh fruit and light vinaigrette when you're ready to eat it.

I used red quinoa because I had it, but you could certainly use any other type of quinoa you can find.  Don't be discouraged about the prep on the quinoa...you do have to rinse it, then toast it and then boil it with water but the results are definitely worth the little extra effort.




1 cup red quinoa
1 cinnamon stick, optional
1 banana, sliced
1 mango, chopped
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup toasted almonds

2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons peach balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar


To prepare the quinoa, rinse it thoroughly in a colander and allow to air dry for a few minutes.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add quinoa and spread out over the bottom of the pan.  Allow the quinoa to dry and begin toasting, stirring occasionally (about 5-7 minutes).  Remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in the toasted quinoa {add in the cinnamon stick if using}. Cover, reduce heat to low and allow to cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.  Allow quinoa to cool and discard the cinnamon stick.  {This step can be done ahead of time, even the day before--just keep the quinoa covered and refrigerated until ready to assemble the breakfast salad.

Peel and chop the mango into bite size chunks and set aside.

Slice the banana and set aside.

Coarsely chop the mint and set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds until fragrant and slightly browned.  Remove from heat.

Once quinoa is cooled, add it to a serving bowl and top with the banana, mango, blueberries and almonds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, honey, vanilla, chopped mint and vinegar.    Pour over quinoa and fruit mixture and stir to combine well.  Enjoy!

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