This delicious Quinoa Breakfast Bake is easy to make and loaded with nutrients. Baked quinoa has a delicious nutty flavor, is perfect for meal prep, making a super yummy breakfast available any day of the week.
This post has been updated from the original posted January 2021.
Meal prep recipes like this Quinoa Breakfast Bake with Apples and Cinnamon are a great way to have a good breakfast even on the most hectic mornings.
Baked quinoa is a great alternative to the oatmeal version or egg bake recipes if you’re looking for easy ways to get grain-free vegan breakfasts on the table.
I’m completely smitten with this quinoa breakfast bake. It has a similar texture to my baked steel cut oatmeal, giving off total nostalgia for the rice pudding my grandmother used to make, complete with all the cozy fall spices too.
Why you’ll love this baked quinoa recipe:
- Tasty plant-based morning meal that’s quick and easy….and so not boring!
- Grain-free for diverse gut flora.
- One-bowl for easy clean up.
- Meal prep rockstar: Prep when convenient and bake when ready.
- Low in calories….but still satisfying.
- Plant-based protein, fiber and healthy fats help regulate blood sugar.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Quinoa: Excellent plant-based source of protein with all nine essential amino acids. Low on the glycemic index, high in fiber, minerals and antioxidants. You can use white quinoa, red, or multi-colored.
- Ground flax: High in Omega-3s, fiber and protein. In place of eggs or even a flax egg, stirring ground flax right into the batter will help hold this quinoa breakfast casserole together.
- Chia seeds: High in nutrition, low in calories! Coming in strong with antioxidants, Omega 3s, fiber and high quality protein.
- Almond milk: Any plant-based milk will work here. For nut allergies, use coconut milk, soy or oat milk.
- Apple sauce: If you don’t have any unsweetened applesauce, use ripe bananas mashed or or pumpkin puree.
- Pure maple syrup: If you sub date syrup, I found it much sweeter (super tasty too!) so cut back by 1 Tablespoon. You may find the natural sweetness from the fruit is enough for you, so taste the batter before adding the syrup.
- APPLES: Here’s where you can really change things up, depending on what’s in season. Pears work well, as does any stone fruit (think: peaches, plums, nectarines). Fresh berries are terrific and frozen berries (you don’t even need to defrost first) are perfect in this great recipe.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are a super-food. They are nutrient rich with healthy fats and promote both gut and heart health. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and omega 3s. If you are allergic to nuts, use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. If those won’t work for you, just omit the nuts and substitute with some old fashioned oats mixed with the maple syrup and cinnamon for the topping.
- Spices: If you like more cozy flavor, use 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice to replace the cinnamon.
How to make Baked Quinoa:
First, get out a large bowl to mix together the base. Preheat oven to 375.
1. First mix together the almond milk, half the maple syrup, apple sauce and vanilla extract.
2. Add the ground flax, rinsed but uncooked quinoa, chia seeds, cinnamon, allspice and walnuts.
3. Keep mixing until the wet ingredients and dry ingredients are fully blended. It’s not unusual for the cinnamon to take a bit longer to blend in.
4. Stir in the fresh fruit. If you’re using frozen berries, there’s no need to defrost first.
Get out an 8 x 8 square baking pan. It’s time to assemble the quinoa casserole.
5. Pour the quinoa mixture into square casserole dish. (STOP HERE for make ahead nutritious breakfast. You can cover and store in fridge overnight or up to 2 days. )
6. In a small bowl (or just use the same bowl…no need to even wash it), combine the chopped walnuts, remaining maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.
7. Scatter topping over top of baking pan. It will not TOTALLY cover the apples and quinoa mixture, and that’s OK.
8. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 50 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Use ramekins with lids to make individual portions and store them easily.
- No apples? No problem, mix in some berries instead.
- Mix this up and get it into the pan the night before…hello 5-10 minutes after dinner when the kitchen hasn’t been cleaned yet anyhow….cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge to pop in the oven in the morning. EASY PEASY.
- This is a vegan recipe….so go ahead and undercook it a bit for a creamier version.
Toppings for Breakfast Quinoa Bake
- I say toppings are optional…but don’t skip all the good stuff!
- Toppings can be easy, fun and colorful.
- Top with a dollop of almond yogurt, a drizzle of almond butter and some raspberries….wow. Just wow. A healthy, plant based protein breakfast that’s so delicious I could eat it every day!
- Peanut butter is another creamy, dairy-free choice, plus it’s super simple.
- I also like to add cacao nibs, chopped nuts or hemp seeds for their crunch.
- More fruit or fresh berries are great choices too.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: Can be eaten warm, cold or room temp. Top with plant-based yogurt, nut butter, fresh fruit or berries.
- PREP AHEAD: Make until just before baking and cover. Store in the fridge overnight, up to 2 days. Bake as directed when ready to serve. Or, Baked quinoa can be frozen or refrigerated if made ahead and then reheated.
- STORE: Cool completely. Cover tightly. Baked quinoa will stay good in the fridge in an airtight container for a week or freezer for 3 months.
- FREEZE: Cool completely before packaging in freezer safe containers or zip top bags made for the freezer. You can freeze the entire breakfast casserole, or freeze in individual serving sizes.
Baked Quinoa FAQs
Yes! This quinoa breakfast bake is perfect for make ahead easy breakfast. Make the recipe until just before baking and set in the fridge overnight, or up to 2 days, and THEN bake just before serving.
OR make the full recipe, including baking, in advance and serve cold, or at room temperature. You can also gently reheat when ready to eat.
Make sure vegan breakfast casserole is completely cool before freezing. Cut into individual servings and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat to serve warm. You can also freeze the entire casserole and reheat just before serving.
Yes, quinoa has complete plant based protein and good amounts of fiber. When baked in this recipe, it’s high in nutrition and low in calories, making it a great addition to a healthy diet.
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Quinoa Breakfast Bake
- 2 cups almond milk
- ¼ cup apple sauce*
- ¼ cup maple syrup divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
- 3 Tablespoons ground flax
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon divided
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 2 apples small (¼″) dice*
- ¾ chopped walnuts*
- OPTIONAL: pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a medium sized bowl, mix almond milk, apple sauce, 2 Tablespoons of the maple syrup and vanilla together.
- Add in quinoa, flax, chia, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and allspice and mix until well incorporated.
- Chop apples into a small dice, pour into bowl and mix well.
- Pour into 8 x 8" baking dish. Stop here if making ahead. Cover and refrigerate overnight or as long as 2 days, then continue below, reducing baking time as noted.
- In the same bowl, mix together chopped walnuts, remaining 2 Tablespoons maple syrup and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon plus the sea salt, if you are using any. Sprinkle on top of mixture in baking pan.
- Bake for 50 minutes, until browned and just set. If you prepped ahead and mixture has been sitting in baking pan at least 4 hours, reduce baking time to 30 minutes.
- Serve warm, at room temp or cold.
- You can prep this in advance and then just pop into the oven when needed. See directions for adjusted baking times.
- Freeze the entire baked quinoa. Defrost and then reheat in 350 oven for 20 minutes.
- Cut into pieces. Freeze in individual serving size. Defrost on the counter for a couple hours or in the fridge overnight. Enjoy cold or warm in the oven or microwave.