Although unconventional, I like my porridge with salt rather than sugar. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth (at the moment that is- my taste buds are very subject to change) and consequently, I’m currently all over the savoury breakfasts. This recipe was created out of the desire to create a high-protein breakfast option which didn’t involve a huge amount more effort than avocado and Marmite on toast (a winning combination; I’d encourage you to do try it), but was just as tasty and comforting. It does, admittedly, take a lot longer to cook than you would perhaps choose to spend on the first meal of the day (by virtue of it using quinoa rather than oats) but you could always cook up a large batch the night before, and reheat the required amount in the morning. This way, you only have to whip up the salsa and reheat the porridge and you’re there! Or, alternatively, you could reserve this dish for lazy brunches on your day off and keep the porridge simmering on the stove while you go back to bed..
If you don’t like turmeric, you don’t have to add it. The stock, rocket and pepper flavour the quinoa enough, but I added the turmeric for that distinctive peppery kick, as well as for the nutritional benefits. The salsa is also to die for, despite it’s ridiculously simple preparation method, and I love the contrast of hot creamy porridge with cold crunchy salsa. I am also fairly sure you could eat this for lunch or dinner, rather than confining it to breakfast or brunch-time.
An interesting take on standard oat-based porridge, this dish makes the most out of seasonal tomatoes and rocket leaves, and is perfect for a chilly Autumn day.
- 75g quinoa
- 700g vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 40g rocket leaves, chopped
- 25g pine nuts
- 100g tomato (1 medium), finely chopped
- 100g avocado (about 1/2 large one), finely chopped
- 5g garlic (1 clove), crushed
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Place the quinoa, stock, turmeric and black pepper in a small-medium sized saucepan over high heat, with the lid on. When the mixture has come to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, with the lid on, but slightly ajar. After 15-20 minutes, the quinoa will looked cooked, but it needs more time to break down in to a porridge-y consistency. If you find that 40 minutes cooking is still not enough, cook it for longer. If you prefer more of a 'bite', cook for less time.
- For the last 5 minutes, cook with the rocket leaves stirred in, which gives them enough time to wilt.
- Toast the pine nuts in a 160 degree C oven for 10 minutes until golden and toasted. Careful not to burn them!
- Then, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Simple as that.
- Divide the porridge between two bowls and scoop a dollop of salsa on top of each one. Garnish with more rocket leaves if you wish.
I can’t remember the first time I discovered overnight oats, but I remember vividly the first time I tried it. It was love at first bite; I was both amazed by the sweet taste, and the cake batter-like consistency which just felt too naughty to be eating at breakfast. I have since moved away from such fruity breakfasts, opting for savoury delights instead but if I ever fancy anything on the sweet side, this is what I turn to. The concept behind this is a bit like making porridge, except just as you’re about to cook it, you don’t. Instead, you leave the oats to suck up all the liquid until you have a wet, stodgy, oat-y mixture that can be dressed up or down, depending on your preference. I have also discovered that it’s not essential to soak the oats overnight, and they will absorb all the liquid in just half an hour or so if left alone. However, preparing the night before means this is the quickest possible breakfast as it is literally sat waiting for you in the fridge when you wake up.
This method of whizzing up the banana and berries is a great way of sweetening up the dish without any refined sugars or syrups, especially as the coconut milk I use isn’t sweetened. It’s also a good way to insert loads of vitamins and minerals in to your diet, without having to have ripe fresh fruit on hand. I tend to buy mostly frozen fruit; it is inexpensive, great for smoothies, and frozen when ripe as well as soon after picking, thereby preserving it’s nutritional value. I top each bowl of this dish with a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds, knocking a bowl of these oats up to 17g of protein per serving (37% of RDA), but you can add any toppings you like. This dish is very flexible meaning that once you’ve got the general formula down, you can experiment with different flavour combinations; there are so many options!
Milks: soya, rice, oat, almond, hazelnut
Fruit: frozen or fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apple, mango, pineapple, pear
Flavourings: ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, cacao, almond extract, citrus zest, nut and seed butters
Toppings: toasted or raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed/linseed, cashews, walnuts, almonds whole or flaked, hazelnuts, cacao nibs, dried fruit, more berries or sliced banana, pomegranate seeds, dessicated coconut, super-food powders: spirulina, chlorella, maca, hemp protein
Instead of the coconut milk, berry and vanilla blend, other great flavour combinations include:
-Hazelnut milk, raw cacao, toasted hazelnuts, cacao nibs
-Almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, apple/pear/apricot, flaked almonds
-Any milk, peanut butter, ginger/cinnamon/nutmeg, banana
This is a really good opportunity to be creative and play around with different flavours and textures. Let me know of any good ones you try!
- 1 ripe banana (125g peeled weight)
- 100g frozen berries (I used cherries)
- 250ml plant milk (I used coconut)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 150g oats
- Blitz together the banana, berries, plant milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a blender or food processor as if you were making a smoothie. Alternatively, leave the berries aside and just mash everything else together with a fork, throwing in the berries whole with the oats.
- Mix the smoothie mixture with the oats in a mixing bowl, and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Divide between 2 bowls and load with toppings (if desired) and you're ready to go! See the notes above the recipe for ingredient alternatives and topping ideas.
I really like canned baked beans. I used to eat beans on toast for lunch at least four times a week. We still always have a tin in our cupboard for emergency lazy dinners or hungover breakfasts. More commonly, however, I tend to make my own baked (well stewed, really) beans from scratch. Plus, I have also widened my food repertoire so that lunch isn’t so frequently bean-based..
This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s first recipe book, but I’ve added more chilli and taken out the molasses (definitely not one of my cupboard staples). I have also switched her choice of sweet paprika with the smoked variety, to give that, well, smokey taste. Anyway, this is my take on the classic baked beans, and I find it is perfect to eat with scrambled tofu, or on toast, of course. Or, try eating it in a tortilla wrap or savoury pancake with avocado and greens, or in a baked potato. You can also switch up the types of beans you used, depending on what you have in the cupboard, for example kidney beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans etc. It’s also suitable for any meal (can you think of a food that is as appropriate for all of breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner as baked beans?). Quick, store-cupboard friendly, inexpensive, and nutritious. Oh, and tasty.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp double concentrate tomato puree
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cans of haricot beans + water from both cans (alternatively, use 530g cooked beans and 250ml water)
- 100ml water
- In a small or medium sized pan over medium heat, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft (about 5-10 minutes).
- Then, add the garlic and fry for a another minute.
- Add the smoked paprika, chilli flakes, salt and pepper and fry for a minute more.
- Then, add the tomato puree, mustard, maple syrup, beans and water from the can, and water. Bring everything to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer.
- Cook for 20 minutes with the lid off.
- As the beans sit, they will thicken up. In this case, just add a splash of water to loosen them up.
Look at those colours! I’m taking this photo from inside our new flat and I’m particularly excited that the rug matches the rocket on the plate. My two favourite colours are red and green so this makes it doubly exciting and with the turmeric in this staining the tofu yellow, it’s a complete hat trick of traffic light colours!
Anyway, enough about the colours, let’s discuss the flavours. I’ve used cumin, smoked paprika and oregano to flavour this, and a dash of turmeric for colouring (does anyone actually know what turmeric adds to the taste?!) This is a very vegetable-heavy tofu scramble, so if you wanted just straight-up tofu scramble then eliminate the tomatoes and the greens and double the tofu quantity. It’s a great recipe for using up what’s in the fridge; spinach and pepper work particularly well too. I used some kale and cherry tomatoes which needed eating, and handful of rocket with a squeeze of lemon juice on the side. I ate it with an oat-flour pancake, but it’s also great inside a tortilla wrap or on toast (or just on its own). If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can make some homemade baked beans as an accompaniment but if you think that might be a bit far, a squirt of ketchup would be nice too.
One more thing: I’ve used nutritional yeast which, although it’s a pain to get hold of, is really worth it! Despite smelling and looking like fish food, it gives a rich and almost cheesy taste to a recipe, and is just perfect for this scramble dish. You can buy it in Waitrose (of course) but I get mine online! If you need another reason to convince you, it’s a very good source of B-vitamins and is a complete protein which contains all nine of the essential amino acids.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 400g tofu
- 50g kale, finely chopped
- 100g tomatoes (1 large or 5 cherry)
- 60ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok over a medium heat
- Add the onion and fry for around 5-10 minutes, until soft
- Add the garlic and fry for a further minute
- Add the oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper and fry for another minute
- Crumble the tofu in to the pan, and add the kale, tomatoes and stock. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the kale has softened and the excess liquid has cooked away. Stir frequently during this process, making sure that the tofu isn't sticking to the pan, but also being careful not to break up the tofu too much.
- Now, stir in the soy sauce and nutritional yeast and cook for a final minute.
- For a spicier version, add some fresh chilli in with the garlic or some dried chilli with the other dried spices.
Although I’m currently satisfied with pretty much the same breakfast every day (porridge with peanut butter and banana FYI), I’m forced to become slightly more imaginative when we have students at work requiring breakfast to fuel a whole day of intensive yoga practice. This recipe is actually inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow whose recipe book was given to me a couple of birthdays ago by my other half. She has a granola recipe which is made from quinoa- which gives it a really great crunch- and I’ve used some oats as well here to pad it out a bit and keep the cost down. Granola is not the healthiest thing to eat either so I’ve tried to cut down on the sugar (although I find a good dose of maple syrup is really very necessary for the required sweetness) and used olive oil instead of vegetable. You can play around with the ingredients too- try using different dried fruits, seeds and spices depending on what you like the taste of and have in your cupboard.
- Tsp ground ginger
- Tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 150g maple syrup
- 50g olive oil
- 200g quinoa
- 300g oats
- 50g sunflower seeds
- 100g flaked almonds
- 100g figs, chopped
- 100g raisins
- 100g dates, chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ginger, cinnamon, salt, vanilla essence, maple syrup and olive oil.
- Add the oats and quinoa to the bowl and mix until well combined.
- Divide the mixture between 2 baking trays and lay out in an even layer. Place in a 160 degree C oven.
- Bake for around 20 minutes and then take the trays out. Add half of the seeds, almonds and fruit to each of the baking trays and mix in with the oats and quinoa mixture.
- Bake for around 10 minutes more, until the mixture is crisp and toasted.
- Remove and allow to cool before sealing in an airtight container.