Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

I remember my initial reaction when I was first found out that I had to eliminate gluten from my diet.  Naturally, I was devastated.  No more pizza?  Croissants?  NO BREAD?!?  NOOOOOOOOOO.  “Kill me now/What the hell am I going to eat?/I hate my life” were some of my initial reactions.   Once I stopped panicking, I started researching what I COULD eat, and the list was actually pretty long.  Potatoes, rice, and corn were all okay, as well as quinoa, buckwheat, and GF oats.  Not too shabby.  I realized I could definitely live pretty well off these carbs.  Plus, I’m lucky to live in a time and place where lots of gluten-free options are available.

breakfast bake with bowl

Something kind of unexpected happened when I stopped eating gluten.  My already huge love of food and all things delicious became even more profound.  I’ve always loved to eat, and going gluten-free deepened my appreciation for every delicious bite I ate.  My love for food also became about creating it too, and not just stuffing my face.  My new dietary restriction gave me an opportunity to try new recipes, learn to be a better cook, and more courageous in the kitchen.  It also gave me a springboard to share ideas and recipes with friends, family, and you, my awesome readers here on my blog.

Oatmeal ready to bake

American Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend and it’s got me thinking about what I’m thankful for.   As life has thrown me my share of challenges and sorrows, it’s also gifted me with opportunities and many blessings.  What I’ve realized is that being happy feels a choice we make.  It’s like if you opt to look on the bright side and choose gratitude daily, you’ll probably end up a whole lot happier.

I’m not saying I’m happy all the time, because really, that’s just insane.  Can you even imagine how annoying that would be?  It’s just at some point, when I stopped expecting my life to be a certain way, I became a whole lot happier and thankful for my life as it was.  I am blessed with a loving family and great friends, I married the best guy I know, and I’m healthy.  Life is good.  Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating.

breakfast bake and pears portrait

This recipe is the perfect make-ahead breakfast.  I made a batch on Sunday and will enjoy throughout the week.  It calls for quinoa flakes, which is a great complement to oatmeal.  This breakfast is packed with protein, slow burning carbs, fruit, fibre, and yumminess.  I’ve made it here with pears and vanilla bean, but it also works amazingly with apples and cinnamon.  I like to switch it up so I don’t get sick of the same thing.  I’m sure it’s great with bananas too (I’m a banana-hater, so I won’t be testing that anytime soon).   I like that it tastes like dessert for breakfast, which is my favourite way to start the day.

 Baked Oatmeal & Quinoa |

Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

This recipe is the perfect make-ahead breakfast. I made a batch on Sunday and will enjoy throughout the week. It calls for quinoa flakes, which is a great complement to oatmeal. This breakfast is packed with protein, slow burning carbs, fruit, fibre, and yumminess.
Course: Breakfast
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: berries, corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, fruits, gluten-free, kid-friendly, nuts, quinoa, yeast-free
Servings: 6
Author: ness


  • 8" square baking dish


  • 4 cups pear (peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 medium pears))
  • 1 vanilla bean pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups soy milk or other dairy-free milk
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add pears, half the berries, and two tablespoons agave nectar. With a sharp knife, slice vanilla pod lengthwise. Scrape vanilla beans from inside pod and add to pear mixture. Stir to combine. Spread fruit in even layer in greased baking dish.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine oats, quinoa flakes, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Spread evenly over fruit mixture, pressing down slightly.
  • In another bowl, mix together milk, 4 tablespoons agave nectar, melted butter. Slowly drizzle mixture over oatmeal mixture, making sure milk moves through oats evenly. Scatter nuts and remaining berries over top.
  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and mixture has set. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with maple syrup if you prefer it to be sweeter. Serves 6 as main or 12 as a part of larger brunch spread.
Quinoa flakes are dried and similar to oatmeal and available at health food stores. If you can't find it, you can simply use all gluten-free oats instead. To make apple cinnamon version, use 4 cups of diced apples and 1 teaspoon cinnamon instead of pears and vanilla. (adapted from Lottie + Doof)
Quinoa Granola

Quinoa Granola

Gywneth Paltrow.  Love her or hate her, the World’s Most Beautiful Woman knows how to put herself out there.  Admittedly, I was a fan of her last cookbook; including this recipe here.  The recipes looked interesting and appealing to eat and fairly doable, and for the most part seemed to be embraced by the food community.  However, her latest cookbook ‘It’s All Good’ has caused a bit of controversy over her parenting and food views.

Quinoa Flakes Box

All that aside, I’m just going to comment on her quinoa granola recipe.  It’s by far, my most favourite granola of all time.  Some granola recipes are too sweet, sticky, heavy, fatty, or filled with random stuff I don’t like (such as raisins).  This one is simple, light, just sweet enough, and delightfully crunchy.  I hadn’t heard of quinoa flakes and found them to be smaller and lighter than oats, with that distinct quinoa nuttiness flavour.  It was tough to find in stores, but I ended up locating it in the snack aisle of Whole Foods (with the help of two associates).

Quinoa flakes in bowl

Quinoa mixture in bowl

Quinoa on tray

Quinoa done on tray

I haven’t made the leap to buy ‘It’s All Good’ yet, mostly because my cookbook collection is massive and I’m still trying to cook my way through them.  I found Gwenyth’s granola recipe on Fit Sugar.  In the meantime, I’ll let the Gwenyth hater’s hate while I will enjoy my granola, because it IS all good.

quinoa granola x 2

Quinoa Granola

It’s by far, my most favourite granola of all time. Some granola recipes are too sweet, sticky, heavy, fatty, or filled with random stuff I don’t like (such as raisins). This one is simple, light, just sweet enough, and delightfully crunchy.
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nuts, quinoa, soy-free, yeast-free
Author: ness


  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 cups quinoa flakes
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¾ cups dried figs (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup walnuts (roughly chopped)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil and maple syrup. Add quinoa flakes and stir until all ingredients are combined.
  • Spread quinoa mixture onto parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, stirring occasionally. Quinoa is done when lightly golden brown. Let cool.
  • Once quinoa is cooled, combine with figs and nuts and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Recipe adapted from Gwenyth Paltrow’s ‘It’s All Good’, found on Fit Sugar
Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Neiman Marcus

Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Neiman Marcus

Some folks look for new ways to jazz up their Thanksgiving spreads, but personally, I’m a traditionalist.  I like everything about Thanksgiving just as it is.  In my family, this means the juiciest turkey on the planet, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy.  Traditional right? But then there’s also chili chicken, biryani, shrimp balls, lasagna, BBQ pork, shrimp and veggie stir fry, duck, beef curry, bread, dumplings and salad.  Not so typical, but in our Hakka household, we take the best of Indian, Chinese, and Canadian food and feast.  These spreads are legendary and friends of the family often hope for an invite, or at the very least, some leftovers.

wet ingredients cookie
dry ingredients pt 1

I’m also a traditionalist when it comes to chocolate chip cookies.  Honestly, some gluten-free cookies can be really terrible. There are some packaged ones out there that are just disappointing (especially since they cost a fortune – like really?  expensive cardboard?  I’ll pass).  I’ve also tried a few from bakeries, and while tasty, they’re nothing like the chocolate-y chewy Neiman Marcus cookie.

coconut oil

Do you know the urban legend of the Neiman Marcus cookie?  Well you can ready about it here.  Apparently it’s a myth which is why NM posts the recipe on their website, for free.  It’s honestly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made (before I went GF) – moist, flavourful, and super simple to whip up. Tender and chewy.  Traditional and tasty.  Love NM.

cookie dough on sheet
cookie dough ready to bake
baked cookies on tray

During the holidays, I used to bake countless batches of these cookies and give them out as gifts.  Since going GF, I thought I’d never have them again.  Until now.  I figured out a way to swap out the ingredients to create a healthy, just as tasty maybe even tastier version.  Bye bye butter, hello coconut oil. Exit flour, enter quinoa flour.  I also cut down the chocolate chips again so they hold together better.

The quinoa flour is great because it adds protein and a subtle nutty flavour (even though it’s nut free) – healthy enough for breakfast in my opinion.  The coconut butter is great too both for flavour and for those who are dairy intolerant.  They bake up so beautifully and fill the whole loft with a warm chocolate chip cookie aroma that is intoxicating.  This gluten-free version of the NM cookie is definitely going to be a new tradition in my home. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

cookies with milk birdseye view


During the holidays, I used to bake countless batches of these cookies and give them out as gifts. Since going GF, I thought I'd never have them again. Until now. I figured out a way to swap out the ingredients to create a healthy, just as tasty maybe even tastier version. Bye bye butter, hello coconut oil. Exit flour, enter quinoa flour. I also cut down the chocolate chips again so they hold together better.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: Bob's Red Mill, chocolate, coconut, cookies & bars, corn-free, gluten-free, quinoa, yeast-free
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: ness


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, add oil and sugars and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 30 seconds.
  • Add egg and vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder and whisk together until blended. Beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly until combined, about 15 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Using a 1 ounce scoop or 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto greased sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the top of the cookie with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. For a crisper cookie, bake for an extra 2 minutes.
Adapted from Neiman Marcus recipe
Chocolate Fig Quinoa Granola Bars

Chocolate Fig Quinoa Granola Bars

 With Labour Day around the corner, for many, it’s time to think about back to school snacks.  My homemade granola bars are packed with protein and keep you feeling full for ages.  Plus they’re tasty and kind of addictive and surprisingly easy to make.
  bar ingredients
The beauty of making your own bars is that you get to pick exactly what flavours you want –  my faves are figs (slightly sweet and nicely chewy), chocolate, walnuts and coconut.  The walnuts and quinoa are great for a boost of protein.  The coconut adds a little sweetness too. And to me a granola bar without chocolate is unthinkable.  I like to pre-wrap a few bars in plastic wrap so they are ready to go if I’m on the run.
granola bake
stir granola
coconut granola
The granola mix is made up of the gluten-free oats, walnuts and quinoa.  Bake together for about 10 minutes before stirring and adding the coconut which tends to burn if baked for too long.  Make sure to avoid the quick-cooking oats for this recipe – the bars tend to fall apart.  Hazelnuts are also a yummy option instead of walnuts. If you need a nut-free version, simply omit the nuts and add an extra half cup of oats.
melted butter with sweetners
The glue that holds the granola together is a mixture of maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, and vegan butter.  You just put everything together in a small pot until the butter melts and comes to a boil.

figs up close

These are the dried figs up close.  I used dried Calimyrna figs which aren’t as sweet as Mission Figs.  I dig that the seeds kind of look like quinoa.  I found them at Whole Foods. If you don’t dig figs, just swap for your fave dried fruit.

Once you combine the granola with the figs, chocolate, and butter mixture, spread into a greased baking dish press down into an even layer (about 1″ thick).
granola in tray
 granola bar close up

Chocolate Fig Quinoa Granola Bars

My homemade granola bars are packed with protein and keep you feeling full for ages. Plus they're tasty and kind of addictive and surprisingly easy to make.
Course: Breakfast
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: barefoot contessa, butter, chocolate, cookies & bars, corn-free, Earth Balance, egg-free, gluten-free, nuts, pasta, rice & grains, quinoa, yeast-free
Servings: 18 bars
Author: ness


  • Fine mesh sieve 9"x13" baking dish, greased


  • 2 cups Gluten Free Oats (not the quick cooking kind (Bob's Red Mill))
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dried figs (diced into 1/4" cubes (or other dried fruit))
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl of water, rinse the quinoa. Using a fine seive, drain the quinoa. On a large baking sheet, spread oats, quinoa, and nuts in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add coconut, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add dried figs and chocolate chips. Turn oven temperature down to 300 degrees.
  • In a small sauce pan, add honey, agave nectar, maple syrup and butter. Bring mixture to boil and remove from heat. Pour the butter mixture into the granola and stir until fully incorporated. Pour into greased baking dish and press down firmly with the back of a silicone spatula or fingers into an even layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa and Quinoa Cookbook

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