Did you know you can toast quinoa?  I never thought of doing it until recently, when I noticed quinoa topping on pasta I had at a restaurant.  It was crunchy and great and I decided I had to try toasting some myself.  For this parfait I toast raw quinoa with sliced almonds and shredded coconut in a dry skillet.  The quinoa turns golden brown and gets a delicious nutty flavor.


The toasted quinoa with nuts and coconut takes the place of the granola that I usually put in a yogurt parfait.  I’m a big fan of granola but this quinoa mix, in addition to tasting good & having a nice crunchy texture, is also quite healthy: it’s high in protein; gluten free; and it’s toasted in a dry skillet with no added fat or sugar.


You can prepare all of the components for this parfait in advance. The coconut quinoa mixture can keep in an airtight container for about 5 days.


The gingered maple syrup can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a few days.  Fruit can be washed and cut up in advance.  If everything is ready ahead, you can assemble the parfait in just a couple of minutes.


I have to thank my sister in law Jen for inspiring this recipe.  She and I talk about food a lot! Jen has mentioned, many times, an amazing yogurt & granola parfait with gingery simple syrup that she had on one of her family vacations.  She got me craving it, so here’s my version!

Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Out of this World
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Toasted quinoa with coconut & almonds is a high protein alternative to granola. Layer it with fresh fruit, tangy yogurt gingered maple syrup. (in a pinch you can substitute fruit preserves for the syrup)
  • Gingered Maple Syrup
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, grated ginger root (from a 2-inch piece)
  • Toasted Coconut Quinoa
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer, drained
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Parfait
  • 24 ounces plain yogurt (your favorite)
  • 2-3 cups mixed berries or your favorite fruits, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Toasted coconut quinoa (see recipe below)
  • Gingered maple syrup (see recipe below)
  1. Make the syrup: In a small saucepan bring maple syrup and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat and stir. Set aside to cool. (can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days)
  2. Make the toasted coconut quinoa: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rinsed quinoa (don't worry if it's damp. The water will evaporate) and cook, stirring and tossing with a spatula, for a minute or so, to evaporate the excess water. Add nuts and coconut. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes more, or until quinoa is a making frequent popping sounds and becomes toasted and golden brown. (lower the heat a bit, if need be, to avoid burning) Spread toasted quinoa mixture out on a plate to cool, sprinkle with salt and toss to mix.
  3. Assemble the Parfaits: When the syrup & toasted quinoa have cooled, about 15 minutes, assemble the parfaits: Using bowls or parfait glasses, make alternate layers of yogurt, quinoa, fruit, syrup. Repeat. Top with a light sprinkling of quinoa.



  1. Natty says

    WOW this sounds delicious. I’m allergic to almonds, can you share any suggestions to substitute almonds. Thanks!

    • says

      Can you eat other nuts besides almonds? I think walnut pieces or pecan halves would be delicious in this! If you can’t eat any nuts how about using seeds – I bet pumpkin seeds would be good. Another thought is to use puffed rice cereal – I probably wouldn’t toast it for the whole 7 minutes – maybe just throw it in the pan for the last minute or two. I hope that helps!

  2. Marian says

    Oh! I love knowing this. It’s another recipe I am going to try out but like the others I also know it’s not much of a risk. They are always delicious. Thank you Lisa.

  3. Andrea says

    I used red quinoa, because that’s all I had on hand, doubled the ginger(cause I love it) and no coconut and it came out delicious! Can’t wait to have it tonight with berries and vanilla ice cream!

  4. says

    I had no idea you could toast quinoa. But again—Why not. I was drawn in with the word coconut. Yes I am one of those nuts. I love yogurt. This is such an easy way to
    make a really delicious healthy dessert. Healthy gets such a bad rap.

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