Sick and tired of the same boring breakfast? Switch things up with a breakfast grain bowl. This breakfast bowl offers a hearty start to the day featuring millet, oats and quinoa filled with berries, nuts and warming spices.
If you’re anything like me, you have a pantry full of grains that go mostly untouched save for one jar — oats.
I do love a good bowl of oatmeal in the morning, which is pretty hysterical considering I thought it was the grossest texture in all the land as a kid. My brother would actually torment and tease me with spoonfuls of it to my face as he ate it on school day mornings while I happily shoved a toaster strudel or something like a breakfast hot pocket down my throat before running out the door to catch the bus.
But what about all those other grains sitting pretty on the pantry shelves? I may use millet here and there either as a breakfast porridge or a gluten-free tabbouleh but mostly, they all get little use.
That’s where this breakfast grain bowl comes in. This recipe makes use of those often neglected grains to create a hearty, comforting and incredibly filling start to the day. Spiced with cinnamon, hints of citrus and ginger, it’ll put cream of wheat to shame with the first bite.
Breakfast grain bowl ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to create this gluten-free grain bowl breakfast. The beauty of it, however, is that the grains are flexible. If you don’t have one of these one hand, swap in another.
- Steel cut oats
- Coconut oil
- Orange juice and orange zest
- Fresh ginger
- Plain Greek yogurt — optional
- Maple syrup
- Chopped nuts
Millet, steel cut oats and quinoa are gluten-free grains but others such as farro, teff, amaranth, sorghum and buckwheat — some of them gluten-free, others not — are great alternatives for creating this breakfast bowl.
Besides oats, we often think of most grains as side dishes for dinner, but they actually make a great option for breakfast too. Many grains are packed with fiber and offer a balanced amount of protein per serving. To balance out the protein even more, add a scoop of your favorite protein powder or collagen to the grains as they cook.
How to make a breakfast bowl with grains
Thoroughly rinse all the grains in a fine mesh strainer with cold water. Add to a medium saucepan with the coconut oil, orange zest and fresh ginger over medium-high heat and toast the grains for a minute or two, stirring frequently and allowing the fragrance of the orange and ginger to come out.
Add the water and orange juice, bring the mixture to a bowl then cover and reduce to a simmer over low heat. Let the grains cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.
Once cooked, spread the grain mixture out onto a baking sheet to cool and remove the pieces of ginger. Once cooled, transfer to a large bowl and toss together with the yogurt, maple syrup and cinnamon.
Fold the berries into the breakfast grains gently so they don’t break then top with chopped nuts. The grain bowl can be enjoyed immediately or chilled for later meals.
Breakfast bowl variations
There are a lot of directions you can take a breakfast bowl like this. Besides this berry and nut approach, here are a few ideas to add some variety to your grain bowl and enjoy it all year round as the seasons change. Use any of these variations as a starting point to make this breakfast your own.
Superfoods breakfast bowl
Add ingredients such as goji berries, fresh berries, pepitas, sunflower seeds and coconut flakes. You can even throw in some maca powder or spirulina into the grains as they cook. Just be judicious with the amount of spirulina, a little goes a long way. Keep all those ingredients out and make superfood brownies while you’re at it!
Savory breakfast bowl
For the savory lovers out there, turn the breakfast bowl into a savory affair with a poached egg or some crispy tofu and some fresh herbs or chopped scallions. Instead of using orange, ginger and cinnamon to flavor the grains, try an everything spice or some garlic and onion powder. Top the bowl with sprouts, avocado slices and sliced tomatoes.
Fall-spiced breakfast bowl
Don’t limit a fall breakfast grain bowl to just pumpkin, use any squash you have on hand! You can either stir pumpkin puree into the grains as they cook or top the grain bowl with sliced and roasted squash. Roasted buttercup, honeynut and butternut squash are all great winter squash options that lean towards the sweeter side in taste. Roast them with cinnamon or a pumpkin pie spice blend until tender and caramelized. This type of grain bowl can be topped with nut butter, hemp seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Meal-prepping grain bowls for breakfast
One of the best things about this kind of recipe for breakfast is how easy it is to meal-prep it for the week. Make the grain mixture base on the weekend then portion it into individual containers and store in the refrigerator.
Each morning you can retrieve a pre-portioned serving and top it as you like before enjoying — whether that’s at home at the table or at your desk at work for busier mornings.
More breakfast recipes you’ll love
Turmeric baked oatmeal is one of my favorite ways to enjoy oats in a more non-traditional way. It’s also a great make-ahead breakfast that can easily be enjoyed all week long.
You’ve probably heard of overnight oats, but have you tried overnight buckwheat oats? Buckwheat can be treated just like oats with this type of preparation and it’s a nice way to change things up.
Overnight muesli is another way to switch up the oatmeal game. With a combination of dried fruit, nuts and grains, this strawberry lemon approach is a delicious way to start the day.
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! I’d love to know how it goes. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Tag @runningtothekitchen on Instagram & Facebook.
Berry Breakfast Grain Bowl
- 1/4 cup millet
- 1/4 cup steel cut oats
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 inch fresh ginger sliced into rounds
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- juice of 1/2 an orange
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup blueberries
- 3/4 cup blackberries
- 1/3 cup walnuts chopped
- Rinse quinoa, millet and steel cut oats.
- Heat coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.
- Once melted add millet, steel cut oats, quinoa, orange zest and ginger rounds.
- Toast grains, tossing frequently for 3 minutes.
- Add water and orange juice, bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer.
- Cook until liquid is absorbed (about 20-25 minutes).
- Remove from heat and spread grains out on a baking sheet to cool.
- Discard ginger.
- Once cooled, transfer grain mixture to a medium bowl.
- Add yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, juice of the orange and mix together.
- Fold in berries carefully so as not to break them.
- Top with walnuts.
- Can be eaten immediately or chilled overnight for flavors to develop deeper.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.