Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

October 10, 2019

Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl, Marybeth Wells Food Photographer

When you hear or see the word “Quinoa”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

After today, hopefully, this Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl will.

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First of all, I used to butcher the pronunciation of this word in the most hopelessly southern way and call it “kwin-oh-ah” (imagine a nice southern drawl). One day years ago my partner at the time informed me that it was, in fact, pronounced “keen-wah”.

Quinoa is something that I typically reserved for meal prepping, grain bowls, cutting weight before a Muay Thai fight (wow, so glad to no longer be doing that).

Maybe for the occasional soup or chili.

I’ve never thought of it as a breakfast item. That is, until recently when a couple of my private coaching clients have admitted being burnt out on oats.

Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl, Marybeth Wells Food Photographer

I thought, what other foods can I incorporate for a breakfast filled with complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and balanced nutrition overall? My question was answered when I got my shipment from Ancient Harvest this month FULL of quinoa. If you’re not familiar, it’s gluten-free and contains all nine essential amino acids.

Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl, Marybeth Wells Food Photographer

Even if you’re not a fan of quinoa texture, I encourage you to try this warm and cozy breakfast bowl. It’s satisfying, comforting, packed with seasonal ingredients, and downright tasty. Sean thought it looked like “chili mac” 😑.

He also had zero complaints as he ate bowls of it for breakfast the other day 🧐.

Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Course Breakfast
Servings 2 people


  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa but you can use any variety)
  • 1 cup purified water I like to use my Berkey water (link if you scroll to the end of the blog)
  • 1 cup coconut milk I like to use the leftovers from full-fat coconut milk that I use for other recipes
  • 2-3 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate or cacao nibs for garnish
  • 2 tsp Just Date Syrup, honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • Toasted pepitas, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds or coconut flakes to garnish
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice option to use your own pumpkin spice mix if you can't find this or don't want to use it


  1. Place quinoa and water in a pan over medium heat and bring to boil; cover with a lid and let simmer for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.

  2. Turn the heat low, add coconut milk, pumpkin, honey, chia seeds and cacao powder, and mix to combine and heat thoroughly. If you're toasting pumpkin seeds and nuts now would be a good time to do that in a frying pan or on a baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and don't burn :).

  3. Transfer into serving bowls, garnish with toasted seeds and nuts, chocolate/cacao and coconut flakes and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is my favorite served hot on a crisp morning, but it’s also delicious if made ahead and eaten cold. 

As always, if you whip this Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl up please snap a photo, tag me, and use the hashtag #livingwellseats. It seriously makes my day to see your beautiful food creations.

Pumpkin Spice Cacao Quinoa Breakfast Bowl, Marybeth Wells Food Photographer

If you’re looking for any other bangin’ breakfast ideas, look no further than this cacao almond pancake stack below or my Golden Grilled Banana Breakfast Bowl. I made the latter for a retreat last weekend and there were zero not empty bowls in the house.

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  1. Laura says:

    This looks amazing!!!! Gonna give it a try. What a wonderful idea for a nice fall breakfast on the back porch!