Brunch/ GF, Vegan & Raw/ Healthy Eating/ RECIPES

Crunchy Toasted Quinoa Topping


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Crunchy Toasted Quinoa Topping!  You are going to love this. It is an amazing way to add a healthy protein crunch to the top of your daily oatmeal or a berry yogurt snack.  It would even be great on top of ice cream.


I have been thinking about this recipe for about 2 years now. Yep, it is about time I allowed my taste buds the privilege of tasting crunchy, roasted, toasted quinoa again.

The first time I had toasted quinoa, I didn’t even know what it was! We were enjoying an amazing family trip at Disney, and were at Boma, a restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Boma is known for their breakfast buffet, and I’m a huge breakfast fan, so I was pretty excited to wake up that morning and EAT!

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 It was my favorite breakfast meal during the whole vacation, and by far the best breakfast buffet I had ever had.  All of it was amazing, but there were 2 things really stood out to me.  First was their super fun drink called Jungle Juice, which was a refreshing combination of pineapple, orange, mango & lemonade.   Second was their amazing crunchy quinoa topping they had at their oatmeal bar.

I remember being intrigued by the sign that read ‘Toasted Quinoa’ and sprinkled it on my oatmeal with a curious shrug.  Quinoa was just starting its journey into the world of ‘trendy’ food, and I had always seen it cooked and soft…never toasted and crunchy.

Needless to say, I am still thinking about that bowl of oatmeal 2 years later! It made a big impression on me. It was DELICIOUS!

In searching for recipes of this Crunchy Quinoa topping, I have found a recipe that suggests at Disney, they cook the quinoa then sweeten it and deep fry it.  NO WONDER I loved it!

I was not about to put my precious, healthy quinoa into a fryer, so I went on a mission to create the same sweet and crunchy taste without the frying or calories.

banana quinoa oatmeal

I hit the jackpot in creating this recipe, and it tastes exactly like the toasted quinoa topping I remember at Disney.  It is crazy easy to make, and a jar of it sitting in my pantry makes me very, very happy!


There is a reason why quinoa has become the ‘it’ food.  This little grain packs a punch.

What is quinoa?

“Pronounced “keen-wah,” this protein-packed grain contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It looks a bit like couscous and is as versatile as rice, but quinoa has a richer, nuttier flavor than either of them.” {source}

It is a go-to protein source for vegetarians, has more calcium than milk, is great source of magnesium (which is the calming mineral–yes please!) zinc, and iron. It is also gluten-free! No wonder it is trendy… and I think it is here to stay!

One thing to know about quinoa is that it has a naturally bitter coating – which is a natural insect repellent -called saponin that needs to be rinsed off before preparing.  It needs a good soak  for 10-15 minutes before using.

I skip this step and make sure the quinoa I buy says ‘pre-soaked’ on the box.  I’m all about efficiency in the kitchen, and this saves time.  I still give it a quick rinse to remove any remaining saponin dust.


A key way I kept this toasted quinoa recipe healthy and low-calorie was by adding Pure Via ® to sweeten.  There is much I love about this brand of stevia, but the fact that it is non-GMO was the tipping point for me.  I’m sold.  It comes in handy packets to throw in your purse, and tastes really great with no bitter aftertaste.  It is made from the stevia plant and is a great way to add sweetness to food without adding sugar or artificial sweeteners. I found it at Walmart at a great price, but to make it even better, you can download a coupon to save .55 cents on a 40 packet count box, while supplies last.


This recipe has just a few ingredients – quinoa, cinnamon, coconut oil, salt, honey & stevia.  It only uses 1 tablespoon of both the oil and honey to a whole cup of quinoa, so calories are minimal. The honey is a great bonding agent, and adds a nice cinnamon glaze to the surface of the quinoa.  I wanted more sweetness than 1 tablespoon of honey provides, so Pure Via® stevia came to the rescue.



It’s a cute little grain, isn’t it?


Here is what it looks like with the ingredients all mixed in.  It comes together easily.  Just throw all of the ingredients into a bowl, and use the measuring spoon to give it a quick stir.


Simply spread onto a baking sheet (no need to grease the pan) and roast.  In just a few minutes, you have an amazingly healthy and tasty topping.



I used it along with bananas and coconut to top my morning steel-cut oats, and I also used it to top my afternoon raspberry yogurt snack.



Yesterday I put the yogurt in a mason jar, topped with raspberries and toasted quinoa, threw on a lid, grabbed a spoon and a couple of packets of stevia, and had the perfect to-go snack. Talk about a protein punch!



{for your pinning pleasure}

Crunchy Toasted Quinoa Topping
Prep Time
15 mins
Recipe Type: Brunch
Servings: 6
  • 1 cup quinoa pre-washed
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil use refined coconut oil  if you don't want coconut flavor, heat to liquid if solid
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 packets Pure Via® + more to taste
  1. Put all ingredients into a bowl. 

  2. Stir well. Spread into a non-greased pan. 

  3. Roast at 375 degrees for 10-15 minuets, stirring once or twice. Be careful not to over-toast.

  4. Cool. Taste. Sprinkle with more salt or stevia if needed.

Recipe Notes

Top oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream or whatever your heart desires!


Want to know more about Pure Via® ? 

~You can find it at Walmart, where you can save $.55 on ONE (1) Pure Via® Non-GMO, All Natural, Zero Calorie 40 Ct. Packets

~Did you know Jewel is a fan of Pure Via®?  You can download her cookbook and free song here.

~Follow Pure Via® on Facebook for great food & recipe ideas.

~Do you tweet?  You can follow them at Twitter, too.

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  • Sara
    January 25, 2016 at 12:00 am

    I found this to be a little too salty, likely because I substituted only a tsp sugar for the Stevia. I didn’t want a super sweet topping though. I will cut back the salt next time. A minor adjustment to a good recipe. This is the tastiest toasted quinoa recipe I’ve seen. Thank you!

    • AmyNewNostalgia
      January 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      I am a lover of all thing salty-sweet, so I understand if it is too salty for some! So glad you will tweak and reuse the recipe.

  • rhesa
    July 28, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I just had a toasted quinoa that topped a great salad and it was awesome! I don’t eat wheat so croutons have been missed until I tasted this salad. I can’t wait to try your recipe, both as is as a sweet topping and with some savory seasonings for aded crunch to my salads.

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