Now bear with me - I know this sounds weird. And I was super skeptical too when I first heard about it. But... it totally works.
I have travelled quite a bit for work in the last few years and know that congee is served as a savoury breakfast in many Asian countries. Congee is a rice porridge with the rice almost completely broken down after prolonged soaking in water. I love a savoury start to the day but congee just never quite did it for me with its gloopy consistency.
However oats are something different and obviously are more familiar to the Western palette. I love porridge and I love savoury meals - why not combine them?
I think the key to enjoying savoury porridge (or just braving it for the first time!) is the practice of forgetting that oats = sweet porridge and instead seeing oats as a much more versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.
I've tagged this as breakfast because I am a total savoury nutcase, but you could totally have this for lunch or dinner. It's sort of like a much quicker, easier risotto - creamy and full of flavour.
And I'm not the only one. Loads of people have been getting into savoury porridge and weirdly on the day that I was writing this I received lifestyle email Emerald Street with a recipe for 'Chicken Porridge' - "it sounds wrong, but it's actually delicious."
If you Google 'savoury porridge' (or savoury oatmeal as some call it - I suppose that helps with separating it in your mind from Ready Brek...) there are loads of recipes out there so I've kept this version pretty generic for you to try out the topping combinations you want. That's why I've tagged this recipe as Vegetarian, Vegan and Low FODMAP Friendly - you could totally make your porridge with bacon or avocado or tomatoes or... anything you want to suit your diet.
From a little search around some of the amazing sounding toppings that I want to try are:
- Spinach oats from A Girl and her Food Processor - think spaghetti bolognese flavours!
- Savoury oatmeal with roasted sweet potato - from Great British Bake Off contestant John Whaite
- Chinese style savoury oatmeal - from Maggie at the Omnivores Cookbook
- Spinach and roasted veggies from Spoonful of Sugarfree - a blog run by Registered Nutritionist Alexandra Curtis
The options really are endless so go on.... give it a try!
PREP TIME: 2 minutes
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
- 30g (1/3 cup) oats
- 300ml (1/3 cup) milk of choice
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Toppings: whatever your savoury favourites are! I tried fried mushrooms and fresh sprigs of parsley for one bowl and a poached egg with sautéed spinach and fresh chives for another to give you some ideas.
1. Put the oats in a small saucepan or milk pan. Pour in two thirds of the milk and place the saucepan over moderate heat.
2. Stir the pan continuously. The porridge will thicken quickly as the oats soak up the liquid. Keep adding milk or even just water until you get the consistency you want. As you're cooking stir in a good grind of salt and pepper and the thyme.
3. Pour the porridge into a bowl and add your toppings of choice.
Why not save to Pinterest for later?
This recipe is featured in my e-book - How To Create Your Own Flourishing Pantry. Packed with ingredients, top tips, recipes and shopping lists, the book is designed to help you stock your kitchen for healthier eating. Want a copy? Sign up and I'll send it straight to your inbox.
*Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Buy Whole Foods Online and some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you’d like to know more about Buy Whole Foods Online, please visit the Buy Whole Foods Online website for more details. Any purchases made through this/these link(s) are at no extra cost to you but give The Flourishing Pantry a small commission. Thanks!