This easy Slow Cooker Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast Bowl is a warming, protein filled, gluten free meal perfect for busy schedules, topped with the most delicious 3 ingredient vegan caramel sauce (refined sugar free)!
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Now that we’re approaching my favorite season, fall, it’s time to break out that oh-so-special, seasonal ingredient that’s one of my favs (and I secretly eat it all year long!) – PUMPKIN! Oh, glorious pumpkin. You can be sweet or savory, roasted like a root vegetable, pureed into pies, mashed like potatoes, mixed into smoothies or blended into lattes. If you haven’t already, I recommend you check out my Pumpkin Cranberry Crumb Mini Muffins and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies + Coconut Frosting! In today’s recipe, pumpkin is mixed with fluffy, nutty quinoa for both a sweet and savory, high protein breakfast.
I’m also celebrating that I can east quinoa again! For whatever reason, quinoa used to give me a bellyache, which totally sucked because a) it’s gluten free, b) it’s vegan, and c) it’s completely delicious, healthy, high protein and so common everywhere now! I had been avoiding it for a few years but recently had the inspiration to try eating it again, and I had no issues whatsoever! *Fist pump!* So now I get to share some quinoa recipes with you – woo hoo!
A couple things I did that may have helped me digest it easier that you can try too if you have digestive challenges is: 1) I rinsed the grain under cold water before cooking – sometimes a residue gets left on quinoa, but it rinses off, so take the extra minute to do this! 2) I bought organic.
Today’s Slow Cooker Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Vegan Caramel Sauce totally rocks because:
- It can be made in a slow cooker, rice cooker or on the stove, making it convenient for literally anyone
- It’s a healthy, high protein breakfast bowl that can be customized to be more or less sweet, depending on your preference – the whole family will enjoy this!
- As we discussed above, it has savory pumpkin AND quinoa as the star ingredients
- It’s (optionally) topped with an ahhhh-MAZ-ing, can’t-get-any-easier Vegan Caramel Sauce! (more on that below)
CONVENIENCE DURING BUSY TIMES
I can’t believe that it’s already back-to-school season in some parts of the country – uhmm what?! When did that happen?!?! While I’m not going back to school myself anymore (though part of me would love to enjoy a semester of college again!), this is a super busy time for me and I feel like I’m trying to balance a lot – moving countries, getting a car (I bought a car I LOVE on Tuesday – so freakin’ excited!), working almost full time while putting as much time into Vegan Chickpea as possible, and more – so I’m fitting right in with the frenzied parents who are trying to get into healthy, manageable routines again.
One way I stay prepared is to make sure that I always have my go-to ingredients in my pantry, so if I don’t have time to run to the store to get fresh groceries, at least I know I have some backups I can depend on. One thing I always have on hand are shelf-stable non dairy milks since they require no refrigeration until after opening. At a recent trip to Walmart I recently discovered Silk’s new Shelf-Stable, Single Serve 4-pack bottles of Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk (my fav!), and an Almondmilk and Cashewmilk with Caramel blend flavor.
I was picking them off the shelf at the same time as a cute young couple who seemed to be having a date night out shopping without their kids (things to look forward to about parenthood, huh?!). The woman was so happy to have found Silk’s single serve bottles, because her son has a dairy allergy and now she has some new, convenient options for what she can pack in his lunch. Yay!
So, I found these Silk bottles after looking around for awhile, because they were in the aisle across from the beer and next to the wine. Kinda random, eh? I actually had to ask one of the very nice stock guys to point me in the direction, since I could only find the refrigerated milks. Here’s a photo of them in the store so you know what to look for!
These Silk milks are both excellent sources of calcium, while being dairy and gluten free. They have no saturated fat, are 100% cholesterol free, have no artificial colors/flavors, and are verified by the Non-GMO Project’s product verification program. I especially like the Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk because I mostly avoid sugar, and that line has no sweeteners added to it with zero grams of sugar. But, either flavor will work perfectly in this recipe – it just depends on your preference.
As a side note, can I just say that – as an American returning to the States after living in Europe – I really appreciate certain conveniences we have here that just aren’t an option in other parts of the world, like getting to grocery shop at 10pm. That may sound really weird, especially to non-Americans, but if I’ve been busy all day and want to avoid the hectic crowds, shopping late night totally rocks. Thank you 24/7 Walmart in Fairfax!