Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Quinoa Rainbow Breakfast Bowl (gluten free, dairy free, vegan, egg free, soy free, refined-sugar free)

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) has to be one of the most incredible seeds on the planet. It is so amazing that 2013 was designated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation as the International Year of Quinoa. And rightly so! It is nutritional magic.

Importantly, it is a complete protein, which means that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that your body needs to regenerate and grow. This little gem contains twice the level of protein that you will find in either rice or barley. That makes it a perfect base for a breakfast that will set you up for the day and of course, perfect if you follow a vegan diet.

It is naturally gluten free, contains high levels of calcium, magnesium and manganese and is a great source of vitamins B, E and dietary fibre. It is also considered to be among the least allergenic of grains.... What's not to love?

This is not my first Quinoa Breakfast Bowl recipe, but for this one, I have taken the perfect little seed to a new level. I have added some freeze-dried fruit powder and a little maple syrup to the pan for flavour and colour and instead of using water, I have cooked it in a delicious new dairy free alternative to cows milk, made by Vita Coco. It is so simple to make..... you literally weigh up your ingredients into a pan and simmer for a few minutes!

I am already a Vita Coco fan and regularly drink their coconut water, which I find incredibly refreshing. So when I heard they had bottled a new coconut milk, I was keen to get hold of some.

I drink a lot of coconut milk, both straight and in coffee, as I generally prefer it to cows milk, especially when I am at work. There are a number of brands on the market, but they vary considerably in taste, wateriness and also the slightly grainy residue that they leave at the bottom of the cup.

Trying the Vita Coco Coconut Milk however, I am impressed. Vita Coco Coconut Milk is made with 70% coconut so it tastes creamy and has the slight viscosity that you get with cows milk. Unlike some non-dairy milk alternatives, it has no added sugar and is also soy free...... and I can verify (having just drunk a very large glass of it 'straight', that it is delicious. I think I have just been converted....

Try it for yourself! You'll find Vita Coco Coconut Milk in most major supermarkets.... usually in the Free From chilled section.

I wasn't sure how it would work in place of water to cook quinoa, but as you don't 'drain' quinoa or rinse it following cooking, it was a perfect choice. All the goodness and creaminess of the coconut milk remained in the dish, enhancing every mouthful with a little extra very healthy breakfast decadence.

Set against the slight tartness of the freeze-dried cherry, the perfectly pink, slightly nutty, cooked quinoa makes a delicious and very wholesome base on which to add fruit, nuts and other additions of choice. When cooked, quinoa seeds maintain a little crunch which is set against an internal fluffiness.

Mine is topped with a veritable array of textures and rainbow colours..... Soft, squidgy, fruity blueberries with their amazing anti-oxidant properties (as well as a healthy dose of vitamins)..... Crunchy green Iranian pistachios for extra protein and heart-healthy fat...... Some soft, slightly chewy dried peaches (another great source of vitamins and fibre)..... Some of my favourite freeze-dried melt-in-the-mouth raspberry pieces, adding tangy sweetness and extra vitamin C...... and a show-stopping physalis for good measure.

Because I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I have also added a sprinkle of coconut palm sugar, which has much lower ratios of fructose than standard sugars, making it a healthier choice for those of us who are prone to guilty indulgence.

Since I have made this amazing Quinoa Rainbow Breakfast Bowl, it seems churlish not to share as widely as possible. I noticed that Foodies 100 has teamed up this month with Vita Coco in a challenge to create a delicious, dairy-free breakfast using Vita Coco Coconut Milk Alternative. Yay! Perfect!

So..... This recipe is an entry into the Dairy Free Style Your Breakfast challenge with Vita Coco and Foodies100. 
See more great breakfast ideas at 

I am also sharing my incredibly healthy, set you up for the day Quinoa Rainbow Breakfast Bowl with the following linkies, to share the Quinoa-Vita Coco love :

Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes - also celebrating National Vegetarian Week

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice - If you cook up extra quinoa, you can store it in the fridge until ready to use each morning.

Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel

Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Quinoa Rainbow Breakfast Bowl (serves 2 or 1 large, protein-filled  breakfast)


80g quinoa 
200 ml/g Vita Coco Coconut Milk (Original)
½ tablespoon freeze-dried cherry powder (or ground freeze-dried raspberry/strawberry)
½ tablespoon maple syrup

2 physalis fruits
1 to 2 tablespoons freeze-dried raspberry pieces
4 to 5 dried peaches (or apricots) - cut into small pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons Iranian Pistachio nuts (or chopped standard unsalted pistachios)
large handful fresh blueberries
approx 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar of choice)


(You can prepare the quinoa the night before and eat it cold, or warm in the microwave in the morning with a little additional Vita Coco Coconut Milk if you prefer a warm breakfast)
  1. Weigh and mix together the quinoa, Vita Coco Coconut Milk, freeze dried fruit powder and maple syrup in a small pan and bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring.
  2. Turn down the heat and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  3. After 8 minutes, turn off the heat and place a lid on the pan. Leave for about 20 minutes to sit.
  4. You can either eat the quinoa warm, or if you prefer it cold, allow to cool completely or place in an airtight container and chill over night if you have made it the night before.
  5. When you are ready for your Rainbow Breakfast Bowl, place a layer of cooked quinoa in a bowl and arrange your fruit as you choose on top. 
  6. Sprinkle with a little coconut sugar and enjoy!
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated


  1. This looks beautiful - I didn't know you could get freeze dried cherry powder - will have to look out for it #cookblogshare

    1. Thank you Louise. I love using freeze dried fruit powders. You can get a whole range of them (including the cherry) from Healthy Supplies. x

  2. I'm so impressed by how pretty this is! I've never had quinoa for breakfast but it's something I'd love to have a go at one weekend when I've a little more time. I'll also have to look out for the freeze dried cherry powder as I can imagine it would be great for all sorts of baking as well. Thank you so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice!

    1. Thanks Corina. You're welcome. I am always amazed at the incredible colours nature throws at us.
      I get my freeze dried cherry powder (along with all sorts of others) on the internet from Healthy Supplies. xx

  3. What a fabulous colourful breakfast. You are so good going to such trouble at breakfast time. where did you get the freeze dried cherry powder from? Ive not come across it but I have got raspberry powder as well as the dried raspberry pieces (I love those too). Thank you for sharing on CookBlogShare

    1. Thank you. Although it looks like a lot of work for breakfast, you can cook up the quinoa and keep it in the fridge. So I reckon this is a much quicker and easier breakfast than say, pancakes!
      You will find the cherry powder (and lots of other amazing fruit powders and freeze dried fruit) on-line at Healthy Supplies. They are a fantastic source xx

  4. This is just awesome, Kate! That pretty pink quinoa is so, so, pretty, and I love how beautifully you have made it look in the picture...and the coconut milk sounds FAB! I really hope you win - you totally deserve it!! Eb x

    1. Thanks Eb. The quinoa came out an amazing colour. And all completely natural too! It would be lovely to win, but I am not expecting anything. I think they have probably completed their judging by now anyway....
      The coconut milk is definitely the best I have come across. Give it a try if you get a chance xx

  5. Gorgeous as always! I love using freeze dried raspberry powder - now on the hunt for dried cherry powder, sounds amazing!! I have seen this milk around must get round to trying it! x

    1. Thanks Midge. Definitely try the milk. It tastes fab!
      And also check out Healthy Supplies for freeze dried fruit.... They have so many different fruit powders to choose from.... I have a whole bunch in my cupboard which I use for all sorts of things. I discovered them a few years ago and haven't looked back! x

  6. Hi, such pretty enticing colours. I wish my breakfast looked like this. I never knew that Vita CoCo did milk. I need to give it a try #freefromfridays

    1. Thanks Chloe. You must try and find the Vita Coco milk..... It is rather lovely! x


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