Missing summer mornings and acai smoothie bowls? Here’s what I call the “winter version” of that favorite. Plus, it has chocolate! You honestly can’t go wrong.

If you’re still not convinced, check out this quick video tutorial on the OTM Instagram!

Maya Salem / Daily Nexus



  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup coconut milk 
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For serving:

  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 squares dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Mixed berries
  • 1 sliced banana
  • Hemp seeds or chia seeds


  1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer for 2 minutes, using your hands to sort through and pick out any discolored pieces or pebbles that may remain.
  2. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add rinsed, drained quinoa and toast for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until water dries up and quinoa is slightly toasted.
  3. Add coconut milk and a pinch of salt, and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. If it stops simmering, increase heat to medium-low. You’re looking for a slight simmer throughout the cooking time.
  4. Once the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Add a bit more almond milk if you prefer the texture thinner.
  6. Serve each bowl of quinoa with a small square of dark chocolate, and any other desired toppings.
  7. This dish is served best fresh, though leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for two days. Reheat in the microwave with additional almond milk to add moisture back in.

Any toppings taste great, so go crazy! Between the fibrous quinoa and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, this breakfast bowl is a surprisingly nutritious start to the day. Be sure to tag @ucsbonthemenu on Instagram with your favorite toppings!

A version of this article appeared on p. 11 of the April 7, 2022 print edition of the Daily Nexus.