Quinoa: Breakfast’s Other Whole Grain

Quinoa, a protein-packed whole grain, is not a staple reserved only for lunch or dinner.

by John D. Ivanko
PHOTO: John D. Ivanko/farmsteadchef.com

Quinoa, a protein-packed whole grain, is not a staple reserved only for lunch or dinner. The Arbor House, a bed-and-breakfast in Madison, Wis., makes their Quinoa Breakfast Salad with fresh and dried fruits, herbs, and toasted walnuts. It couldn’t be a tastier breakfast to wake up to in the morning.

“This recipe is gluten-free and is one of the most popular with our guests,” says Cathie Imes, co-innkeeper with her husband John.

Their eight-room, award-winning, environmentally conscious inn includes the national landmark, five-bedroom 1853 Plough Inn building connected through arbor-covered pathways to a three-bedroom annex. The Arbor House set the bar for ecologically-minded inns when it opened 20 years ago, long before sustainability was a buzzword and green design and energy efficiency became mainstream.

Cathie’s inspiring, sumptuous and creative breakfasts are served in the great room of the annex. In addition to the Quinoa Breakfast Salad, we savored potato zucchini pancakes with homemade rosemary butter and a creamy caper sauce prepared with Greek yogurt and sour cream; cardamom lime sweet rolls; and smoothie of pineapple, mint, algae and seaweed. Yes, the smoothie was green but totally refreshing—our pitcher went back empty.

It’s no wonder Cathie has served her breakfasts to a lineup of guests that have included a former U.S. Senator and governor, heads of national environmental groups and associations, media personalities, award-winning authors, and distinguished professors. As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Cathie has the culinary touch to combine ingredients in a most healthy way.

The Arbor House’s Quinoa Breakfast Salad can easily be adapted for hard-core farmsteadtarians, looking to source nearly all their ingredients locally and seasonally, if not from their own backyard or growing fields. Just mix and match the fruit and nuts of your choice.

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Recipe: Quinoa Breakfast Salad

Courtesy of Cathie Imes, co-owner of the Arbor House

Yield:4 servings


  • 2 cups uncooked organic quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cups orange marmalade
  • 1 cups fresh blackberries (or blueberries)
  • 1 T. chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Granny Smith apples (or pears), chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries (or dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or sliced almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt


Boil four cups water. Add quinoa and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Soak apple cubes in lemon juice for 10 minutes to prevent oxidation. Soak dried cherries in a cup of water to soften fruit.

In large mixing bowl, combine cooked quinoa, marmalade, blackberries, herbs, apples, cherries and sea salt. Fold gently. Serve into four small bowls, topped with toasted nuts.

Try this other recipes using quinoa:

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