With cooler weather on the way, do you crave a hot breakfast? To me, the quintessential hot breakfast is porridge: old-fashioned, slow cooked, thick and sticky, oatmeal porridge.
Well, times have changed. These days, there’s more than one way to eat your oatmeal—some of which don’t actually include oatmeal at all!
Switch it up: Oats
Sure, the classic bowl of oatmeal contains rolled oats; but if you haven’t tried steel-cut oatmeal, you are missing out. These nubby bits are actually the entire oat groat that’s been cut in pieces (hence the name) rather than steam-rolled, like the usual kind. Steel-cut oats offer more minerals, vitamins, fiber and protein than rolled oats, too.
Switch it up: Preparation
One way to make oatmeal more interesting is simply to prepare it differently. Instead of cooking on the stovetop, how about baking it in the oven? The result will be creamier, richer and pudding-like. Great for breakfast or dessert! Or, pan-fry your leftover oats the way you’d make polenta. It’s surprisingly delicious this way—and a great way to use leftovers.
Switch it up: Ingredients
And who says porridge has to be made from oats, anyway? The possibilities are endless: try using other grains like quinoa, amaranth or rice for your “porridge,” or go grain-free for your morning bowl of “cereal.” A hearty bowlful of nutrient-dense porridge is always a good way to start the day!
This recipe for Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Pudding is easy to make and provides you with a hearty, nourishing breakfast (including a vegetable serving first thing in the morning!).
Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Pudding
1/2 cup (75 g) lightly toasted hazelnuts (filberts), with skin
1/2 cup (75 g) lightly toasted walnut pieces
2/3 cup (100 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook)
1 cup (240 ml) packed pumpkin purée
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp-1/4 cup (30-60 ml) maple syrup
1 Tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5 ml) Chinese 5 Spice Powder (or use 1/8 tsp/.5 ml cloves and about 1 tsp more cinnamon, to taste)
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla soy, almond, rice or hemp milk
1 cup (240 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if frozen)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 4-6 cup (1-1.5 L) casserole dish and set aside.
Place all ingredients except for cranberries in the bowl of a high-speed blender and blend until smooth (you will need to scrape down the sides as you go). If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can still make the pudding, this way: place nuts, oats, and milk in a blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Add remaining ingredients except for cranberries and blend until smooth (you may have to blend this part in smaller batches).
Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, then gently fold in the cranberries (scatter a few extra berries over the top as garnish if you like, as they won’t sink).
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, rotating the casserole dish about halfway through, until the edges begin to puff and crack and the top appears dry (it will still seem unbaked in the middle—this is how it should be). Allow to cool about 10 minutes before scooping out and serving; may be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Top with coconut whipped cream, if desired. Makes 4-6 servings. Store, covered, for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or freeze.