Breakfast Quinoa with Pumpkin to Bring Some Spice to Your Morning 

Move over pumpkin spice lattes, there’s a new way to get your spice kick in the morning!

Overhead oblique vertical image of a white bowl of quinoa with pumpkin and warming spices, topped with almond slices, on a white surface with scattered nuts, a spoon, a fall-themed white dish towel, and a small bowl of orange squash puree, printed with orange and white text near the midpoint and at the bottom of the frame.

There’s nothing cozier than waking up to a warm bowl of nutty, cinnamon and maple goodness.

And while I’d happily eat pumpkin oatmeal every day, I get that not everyone wants a bowl of mush in the morning.

That’s where this quinoa hot breakfast cereal comes in.

Rather than being soft and milky, this bowl is chewy and nutty. It’s perfect for those that want a little more texture from their breakfast!

Technically a pseudo-grain, quinoa is a seed that’s naturally gluten free, and one of the few plant-based complete protein sources. In other words, it contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs to grow and repair itself.

Another benefit of protein is that it helps keep you full for longer than carbs will. In fact, numerous studies have found that individuals who eat a good-quality protein at breakfast, such as quinoa, have better appetite control throughout the day.

Just one cup cooked contains 8 grams of protein – not bad for a “grain”! But protein isn’t the only benefit of this ancient superfood.

Quinoa is also an excellent source of fiber, manganese, magnesium, and fiber, and a good source of many other micronutrients including B vitamins (important for maintaining energy levels and brain function), folate, copper, potassium, and iron.

Oh, and don’t forget about other trace nutrients. This tasty pseudograin is particularly high in two flavonoids: quercetin and kaempferol. Both of these have antioxidant properties, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and disease-protecting effects.

Vertical image of a white ceramic bowl of pumpkin quinoa breakfast cereal topped with almonds, with a spoon, on a white surface with a black, white, and orange patterned dish cloth and a glass bowl of pumpkin puree, with scattered sliced nuts.

Now, when buying quinoa, you’ll have a decision to make: red, white, or black.

While they all cook the same, there are subtle differences in taste between the three.

Besides being pretty, red quinoa tends to be the chewiest and nuttiest of the bunch. Personally, it’s my favorite for cold grain salads.

Black quinoa is probably the hardest one to find, and has the earthiest flavor of the three colors. However, I find that it also tends to be a bit sweeter, and makes for a fun spin on rice porridge or other grain-based desserts.

The most common is white quinoa. Truthfully, it’s often more tan-colored than white. It has the lightest flavor and texture of the three, and tends to result in the fluffiest texture. It’s also the most versatile of the bunch, and it’s my go-to choice for this recipe as it won’t overpower the other ingredients.

Speaking of those other components, let’s talk a bit about pumpkin.

Vertical closeup overhead image of a white ceramic bowl of quinoa breakfast cereal with pumpkin and spices, topped with sliced almonds, with a spoon, on a white surface with scattered nuts, an orange and white patterned cloth, and a small bowl of squash puree.

While you may only typically pick up a can when it’s time to bake a pie, canned pumpkin is a versatile ingredient that I always stock up on when it goes on sale.

However, make sure you’re buying 100% pure pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling!

Pumpkin is a winter squash that’s native to North America, and it has impressive nutrition stats.

One cup of cooked pumpkin contains just 49 calories, yet it provides more than two times your daily vitamin A needs! It’s also a good source of many other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium.

But the best part about pumpkin is that it’s one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin – two compounds that help filter out blue light, which we get exposure to from TVs, phones, and computer screens. As a result, lutein and zeaxanthin help reduce our risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Phew. That’s a lot of nutrition packed into such a simple recipe!

While the dietitian in me is head over heels for how healthy this breakfast is, the pumpkin-spice-loving side of me is obsessed with the flavor.

Just a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg followed by a drizzle of maple syrup, and you have yourself the ultimate fall breakfast on busy mornings in just 20 minutes!

Oh, and don’t forget the sprinkle of nuts on top! I could tell you all about the health benefits, but for now, I’ll just let your mouth enjoy the nutty, chewy bites instead.

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Overhead horizontal image of a white bowl of quinoa breakfast cereal with pumpkin topped with sliced almonds, on a white surface with scattered nuts, an autumn-themed dish towel, a bowl of orange roasted squash puree, and a spoon.

Breakfast Quinoa with Pumpkin & Spice

  • Author: Kelli McGrane
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x


Spice up breakfast with a bowl of this warm and nourishing breakfast quinoa flavored with pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg.


  • ⅓ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • ⅔ cup water or milk
  • 2 tablespoons canned or homemade pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds, or chopped walnuts


  1. Place quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove quinoa from heat and fluff with fork. Stir in pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Pour quinoa porridge into bowl and top with nuts. Enjoy immediately.


Nutritional information below includes whole milk.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Porridge
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Breakfast

Keywords: quinoa, gluten-free, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Rinse, Chop, and Measure Ingredients

Rinse quinoa using a fine mesh sieve under cool running water. Set aside.

Roughly chop walnuts, if using, and measure the remaining ingredients.

Horizontal overhead image of three white ceramic and two clear glass bowls of quinoa, sliced almonds, warming spices, roasted orange squash puree, and maple syrup, on a white surface.

Note: for the nuts, you can use any type, roasted or raw. For a slightly creamier porridge, use milk instead of water.

Step 2 – Cook

Horizontal overhead image of a nonstick saucepan of uncooked quinoa and water, on a white surface with a small white dish of sliced almonds.

Place quinoa and water (or milk) in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.

Horizontal overhead image of a nonstick saucepan of quinoa, surrounded by small white bowls of pureed pumpkin, sliced almonds, and other ingredients, on a white countertop.

Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.

Horizontal overhead image of a nonstick saucepan of cooked quinoa on a pink and white checkered cloth, with small white ceramic and glass bowls of warming spices, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup.

Remove from heat.

Step 3 – Stir in Pumpkin and Spices

Stir pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg into quinoa.

Horizontal overhead image of a nonstick saucepan of cooked quinoa with small piles of pumpkin puree and spices on top, about to be stirred in with a spoon, on a pink and white checkered cloth on top of a white surface.

You can use canned plain pumpkin for this, homemade pumpkin puree, or homemade roasted winter squash puree.

Step 4 – Sprinkle with Nuts and Serve

Pour porridge into bowl and sprinkle nuts on top. Enjoy warm.

A Gluten-Free Breakfast That the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Not everyone needs to go gluten-free, but for those who are allergic or intolerant to gluten, it can be annoying to make two separate recipes when cooking for a group.

Overhead horizontal image of a white bowl of quinoa breakfast cereal with pumpkin topped with sliced almonds, on a white surface with scattered nuts, an autumn-themed dish towel, a bowl of orange roasted squash puree, and a spoon.

While this breakfast quinoa is a quick and easy recipe that everyone can enjoy, don’t let the flavor combinations stop at pumpkin and spice. Check out these other gluten-free breakfast bowls that are sure to make everyone at the table happy:

What are your favorite whole grains to eat at breakfast? Share in the comments below, and don’t forget to rate this recipe after giving it a try!

Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 2, 2012. Last updated: February 12, 2024 at 16:38 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.

About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD

Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.

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