Take one glance at my Instagram feed and you’ll know I have a huge love for porridge.
Yep. Porridge. The breakfast food with the bad reputation for being weak and runny with its slop-like consistency.
Except porridge doesn’t have to be that boring bowl of gruel which Oliver Twist sheepishly asked for more of in the workhouse. In fact, there is an abundance of flavour and topping combinations to play with.
I love it. It’s warm, filling, and if you have a sweet tooth like me, you can easily fool yourself into thinking you’re having dessert for breakfast, and who doesn’t want that? So whether you haven’t quite fallen in love with it yet, are a complete porridge novice or you’re simply looking to spruce up your recipe, here are some tips on rustling up the perfect porridge.
But before anything, you want to nail the basic recipe.
1. Perfect your porridge
Nowadays I almost never stick to the basic recipe. Nonetheless, you need to perfect the base recipe before you starting adding in other ingredients and dabble with different toppings.
Although the microwave is my best friend when I’m short on time, heating them on the stove is the key to creamy and delicious porridge. Here are the basics:
40 g traditional rolled oats
250 ml milk of choice, water or a mixture of both
A pinch of salt
- Pour in the milk or water and warm up the oats in a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Stir frequently to keep your porridge smooth and creamy.
- Bring to a steady simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until they start to thicken and add your salt.
- Keep stirring until it’s reached the desired consistency.
- Add any toppings you fancy
2. Get creative with your ingredients
Easy right? Now, there are plenty of ways to flavour your oats while they’re thickening up on the hob, from spices to syrups, to even sneaking in more of your 5 a day.
Fruit and Veg:
Banana: adding half a mashed banana is my favourite for creamier porridge, adding extra sweetness depending on how ripe it is.
Grated courgette: it sounds crazy but trust me. Once drained of excess liquid, it adds a whole load of volume and texture. What’s more, it a genius way of sneaking in some more greens for the day all while not even noticing it was there.
Grated carrot: fancy some carrot cake for breakfast? Mix this in with some raisins and there you have carrot cake in a bowl. You’re welcome.
Cinnamon: this classic spice is perfect with grated carrot or apples.
Nutmeg: paired alongside cinnamon with some grated carrot, you will hit the nail on the head with the carrot cake porridge.
Oregano: hear me out. Whenever my sweet tooth takes a day off, this herb works a treat in a bowl of savoury porridge, partnered with cherry tomatoes, grated veg and topped off with an egg.
Other things to try:
Cocoa powder: need I say more?
Protein powder: once your porridge is thick and creamy, stir in a scoop of protein powder of your choice for the perfect post-workout breakfast. This is also a great way to play with different flavours ranging from vanilla to marzipan.
Chia seeds: they soak up the liquid and make your bowl of porridge a whole lot creamier. They might be small but they’re packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, are rich in antioxidants, and they provide fibre, iron, and calcium.
Greek yoghurt: this is a staple for preparing overnight oats. This is a source of protein providing you with a bowl of creamy dreamy porridge in the morning.
3. Top it all off
The easiest way to spruce up a standard bowl of porridge is to get creative with your toppings. You can top them with virtually anything, my favourites being:
- Fruit; bananas, apples, berries, raisins, figs
- Chocolate, because who says you can’t have chocolate for breakfast?
- Nut butter; peanut butter never fails.
- Yoghurt is incredible paired with overnight oats.
- Nuts and seeds
Sometimes basic is brilliant. Other times, you just need to top your porridge off with leftover Christmas chocolate.
4. Experiment even further
As much as I love a warm bowl of oats in the morning, with a busy schedule I’ve been prepping overnight oats the night before. All you need to do is take a jar, prepare your oats, leave them in the fridge to chill overnight and there you have filling breakfast ready to eat as soon as your alarm wakes you from your slumber.
You could also try baked oats. I have a recipe for vanilla baked oats, but of course, there’s nothing stopping you from experimenting with different combinations and flavours. The 20-minute wait is torture, but so worth it.
And finally, who says porridge has to be sweet? On the rare mornings I’m craving something savoury, I rustle up a bowl of savoury porridge with salt, water, grated veg and top it off with a poached egg. However, there are plenty of more exciting ways to play around with your porridge if you don’t have a sweet tooth. You can add avocado, salsa, bacon – plenty of ingredients which will see you through to lunchtime!
5. My Favourite Flavour Combinations
Chocolate banana: basic recipe + mashed banana, cocoa powder, chocolate protein powder, grated courgette, topped with fruit, chocolate and nut butter.
Carrot cake oats: almond milk with grated carrot, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla protein powder, topped with figs, raisins, nuts and seeds.
What’s your go-to breakfast?
Porridge love? What are your favourite porridge toppings?
Thanks for reading,