During the winter, oatmeal porridge is a breakfast staple for me. It is hearty, versatile, and filling. Oats are also very nutritious. They are a great source of many vitamins and minerals, plus they have a low glycemic index. This means that they are digested slowly, which can help control appetite and delay hunger. (I posted last year about the cultivation and nutrition of oats.)
Here are three ways to prepare basic porridge. The basic recipes can also be jazzed up by adding fruits, nuts and spices:
- Overnight Steel-cut Oatmeal: Porridge made from steel-cut oats is easily the most flavorful and filling of oatmeals, but it is also time-consuming. Who has an hour to cook breakfast? The solution? Well there are two actually…
- Take a lesson from beans and soak them overnight. Basically, bring 1 part steel-cut oats and 3 parts water to a boil then turn off the heat, cover, and let them sit overnight. In the morning, add in any extras such as cinnamon, nuts and raisins, turn on the heat to warm everything up and voilà! The beauty of this technique is that you can make as much or as little as you want. If you’re the only porridge-eater in your family, simply use 1/4 cup oats for a delicious breakfast for one.
- Use your slowcooker. I have to admit I haven’t tried this, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. Use 1 part oats to 4 parts water and simmer in your slow cooker for three to eight hours. If you want yummy extras in your porridge like dried fruit, add them at the beginning.
- Basic Quick Oatmeal: If steel-cut is not your thing or you have difficulty finding them, you can always make quick oatmeal. I shared my basic recipe in last year’s oats post. In a nutshell, combine 1/3 cup quick organic oats with 3/4 cups liquid (I use water and organic soymilk), and cook for 5 minutes.
While plain oatmeal is tasty on it’s own, I like to add flavour and texture with fruits and nuts. Here are three great ways to jazz up your oatmeal beyond basic nuts and raisins:
- Cook your oatmeal with green cardamom pods (about 1pod per 2 servings) and a handful of dried apricots. Add almond butter (1 tablespoon per serving) once the oatmeal is cooked. Serve with drizzled with honey.
- Add dried cranberries and some grated orange rind (use organic to avoid pesticides) or cranberry sauce to your porridge. Serve topped with slivered almonds.
- Try adding chopped dates or dried figs (chopped or quartered) while the oatmeal is cooking. Serve topped with grated apple and drizzled with maple syrup.
Finally, if you are you are one of many folks who grabs breakfast on the go and then eats at your desk, consider this innovative tip for portable porridge from The Kitchn blog: Divide a batch of oatmeal into mason jars. Grab one each morning and reheat it in the microwave. Brilliant!
Do you have a favorite porridge recipe? Share it in the comments below!Photo credit: Yaroslav B.