I am slightly obsessed with porridge. Goldilocks is my middle name…. I really love the stuff! Nothing really hits the spot for a totally filling, healthy and satisfying breakfast, plus the toppings and flavours you can add are endless. You just need a bit of imagination.
The interesting thing health wise is that oats contain a really clever substance called beta-glucan, a soluble fibre which can help lower cholesterol levels. Oats can also lower blood sugar levels and aid digestion. Porridge is not just for breakfast (or Christmas) ….there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating porridge at any time of the day. I even tried “Savoury Porridge” as part of my porridge quest which took oats to a whole new level. It might sound weird but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
I eat porridge all year round, not just in the Winter as porridge gives you great slow release energy in the form of complex carbohydrate to sustain you through the day. It is perfect for Weight Watchers as oats are a healthy food option and help you to feel fuller for longer. In the Summer I top my porridge with fresh fruits and berries.
In the Autumn I add hot oven baked, cooked or stewed fruits. The top right bowl below is halved plums, oven roasted and served with mixed berries reheated in the microwave then topped with almonds. The bottom picture is sliced pan cooked nectarines and pecans in butter and honey then served with fresh blueberries and cinnamon.
In Winter I add more spices and often top my porridge with canned fruits or sometimes frozen berries which I heat up in the microwave. A spoonful of yoghurt, quark, honey, maple syrup, peanut butter or any other nut butter is also sensational with porridge!
Below are some of my favourite porridge ideas. Feel free to try a few or all of them!
You will first need good quality porridge oats. I prefer organic jumbo oats but some people prefer instant porridge sachets which cook quicker. Just add water, milk, almond milk or soya milk and cook in the microwave or on the hob stirring well.
My basic Porridge Recipe (how I like it)
50g of jumbo porridge oats
225ml of hot water from the kettle
Mix well and heat in the microwave on full power for 2 min stirring again half way through and at the end of cooking.
Use a DEEP pyrex bowl or similar for microwave heating or it will bubble out of the bowl making a right mess!
Fruit, Nut and Seed toppings
Apples make a great topping but I recently discovered grated carrot added to porridge is amazing too! Apple and carrot together, grated and mixed into the porridge before cooking is delicious with a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or mixed spice. Top with more chopped or grated apple and/or grated carrots. Add any nuts you fancy such as pecans, walnuts or cashews for extra protein plus a drizzle of maple syrup or honey and a splash more milk if you prefer. I like to sprinkle over a few dried berries such as cranberries or goji berries for even more flavour.
I love sliced banana with my porridge. As well as containing potassium and fibre, bananas help to make a more filling and sustaining breakfast bowl, so I often sometimes eat this before or after a workout to top up my energy levels.
One of my favourite recipes is to top with banana, yoghurt, dried fruits and a teaspoon of peanut butter or a few salted peanuts for an interesting contrast of flavours and textures.
Bananas go well with most other fruits. Try mashing up some fresh (or defrosted from frozen) raspberries into your porridge before cooking, then top with more banana, raspberries and a few almonds once the porridge is hot and steaming. It makes an interesting “pink” porridge and a beautiful flavour.
Frozen berries are actually a great freezer standby. We grow our own blackberries, tayberries and raspberries so I often have a stash in my freezer. I just reheat them in the microwave on their own or with chopped apple to make a compote. It goes well on porridge with banana and figs as a great Winter recipe.
Try topping porridge with chopped banana and sharon fruit, or mango, chopped fresh cherries, pumpkin seeds, dried coconut and almonds. Delicious!
Fresh or canned peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots are great with porridge and look pretty sliced and arranged in a spiral with a few blueberries or nuts thrown in. Food is always more appetizing if it looks as good as it tastes.
I sometimes top my porridge with heated/microwaved frozen mixed berries or cherries and canned peaches, plus a sprinkle of sliced almonds. Voila!
Fresh cherries are really tasty with porridge and are plentiful in the Summer. For extra indulgence, add some dark chocolate chips and chopped almonds almost giving a black forest flavour, as the chocolate melts into the hot oats. Cherries and canned peach slices are another fabulous tasty topping which taste delicious together.
This is a bit naughty I know but I did experiment with chocolate porridge. Just melt some chopped dark chocolate into the porridge as you cook it or add a little cocoa powder. Using pure cocoa powder gives a slightly bitter taste though so you may have to add sugar or a syrup to balance the flavours. This was a one off treat. I topped with raspberries or strawberries, more chocolate chips, almond slices and a drizzle of maple syrup. It is probably more of a dessert recipe than breakfast but who cares, it tasted AMAZING!
I tried out more spicy and aromatic flavours by adding other spices to my porridge, taking my inspiration from Indian sweets and desserts. Try cooking your porridge with a sprinkle of one or more of the following spices mixed in before you cook your oats; cardamon powder, ginger, turmeric and/or cinnamon. You just need small amounts to give a beautiful aromatic flavour.
Top with nuts, coconut, seeds or dried fruit eg cranberries or goji berries, fresh, dried or baked fruit and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Turmeric in particular is good for reducing inflammation in the body such as arthritis. Just adding a sprinkle of turmeric to your oats will give great flavour, aroma and a lovely golden colour.
In the bowl below I added a squeeze of fresh orange juice to the porridge along with milk, turmeric and cinnamon then topped with orange zest, an orange slice, almonds and goji berries. A delicious combination which had all the colours of a sunset.
Oven Roasted Fruit
I created some fabulous recipes using oven roasted fruits including pears, plums, peaches, apples or apricots. You can cook the fruits on their own but they caramelise better with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup plus a little butter if you are not dieting. Otherwise just cook the fruit in their own juices or with a splash of orange juice.
If you add cinnamon or mixed spice to the porridge too, it will produce some classic Autumn flavours. I sometimes add a little fresh orange or lemon zest and a sprinkle of nuts such as pecans, walnuts or almonds which all work well with oven baked fruits. The creations below show porridge with oven baked plums (top 3) and pears in the last photo which caramelise beautifully in the oven and give the porridge a whole new dimension of flavour. The nut toppings include walnuts, almonds and pecans. They were all yummy and I ate every bowl!
I saved the best for last. Savoury porridge was a bit of a discovery for me. I created several savoury recipes and was surprised how tasty they all were. It certainly turns the whole idea of porridge on it’s head and is worth trying.
I put together various combinations of eggs (poached, boiled and fried), avocado, smoked Scottish Salmon, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. Mushrooms also go well with a splash of soy sauce to bring out their umami flavour, served on top of hot porridge. It’s nice to add a few nuts or seeds seeds for some crunchy texture, protein and vitamin E or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil for more flavour and nutrition. They all tasted amazing! Here are a few to get your taste buds going.
Just make plain porridge with water or milk then top with whatever you fancy. For the smoked salmon versions I also sprinkled on some lemon zest and herbs such as coriander, parsley or just finely sliced spring onions which all tasted fabulous.
One of the tastiest Savoury Porridge recipes I came up with involved frying chestnut mushrooms in garlic, then mixing some into the porridge as it was cooking with a splash of soy sauce or miso. Next I topped with the remainder garlic mushrooms, a few cashew nuts, chopped spring onions and a tiny drizzle of sesame oil. The flavour was divine!
I hope these recipe ideas have inspired you to cook outside the box and shake up your porridge repertoire. I challenge you all to cook up one of these gorgeous bowls of oaty creations for your loved ones this week and convert them to the magic of porridge. If the real Goldilocks came knocking on my door she would never leave! Enjoy xx