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Breakfast bowls

Savoury ancient grain porridge recipe

Prep time 20 minutes | Cook time 40 minutes
serves 4 people

Photography by Tracey Creed
Recipe by Tracey Creed and Amandine Paniagua
Words by Amandine Paniagua

Published September 29 2020


Porridge base
5 cups water (approx. 1.2 litres)
13 cup buckwheat (approx. 57 g)
13 cup quinoa (approx. 57 g)
13 cup brown rice (approx. 67 g)
13 cup millet (approx. 67 g)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
Miso mushrooms with bok choy
2 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
14 tsp sesame oil, optional
2 tbsp olive oil
6 mushrooms, portobellos or shiitake
4 large bok choy, ends trimmed
To Serve
1 avocado, sliced
sesame seeds


To prepare the porridge base, first, rinse grains under cold water through a fine-mesh sieve. In a large pot bring 5 cups of water to boil, add the grains and flaxseed, reduce heat to a low simmer, occasionally stirring, until the liquid has absorbed and grains are cooked; approximately 25 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk together the miso, vinegar, tamari and sesame oil. Reserve a few tablespoons of this miso mixture for serving. Pour the remaining miso mixture over the mushrooms, toss to coat and let sit for 10 minutes allowing the flavours to infuse.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the bok choy and cook, stirring, until it begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Divide porridge base amongst bowls and top with mushrooms, bok choy, avocado, reserved miso mixture and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

This porridge base recipe is on the generous side. You’ll have leftovers which you can use throughout the week with other meals. Store these grains in an airtight container in the fridge; they will last for up to 4 days.

This savoury ancient grain porridge recipe is different from your standard breakfast. Rich in energising umami flavours, this bowl is good, simple, nourishing food to break the day. We make sweet oatmeal a lot, especially on these days running fast, so we like to prepare this salty version on occasions. Gluten-free, abundant in nutrient-dense grains, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, millet paired with flax seeds, this porridge is surprisingly creamy and requires little seasoning. This bowl is also the versatile companion of meal-prep planning, always getting four servings out of one cooking. We throw in miso marinated mushrooms, fresh wilted bok choy, topped with scallions, avocado, sliced or scooped, and sesame seeds, finishing with a drizzle of sesame or hemp oil—a delight.

This multigrain savoury porridge is a mash-up of four different grains, including ground flax seeds to bind them all—each packed with similar health-giving nutrients. This mix of buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice and millet gives this bowl 8.27 g of protein and 6.2 g of fibre, approximately one fifth and one-fourth of the recommended daily intake for protein and fibre. Furthermore, quinoa also delivers 0.89 g of iron, brown rice 0.59 g of manganese and flax seeds 1.5 g of Omega-3, with 2% of the recommended dietary intake in calcium. Both quinoa and millet carry essential amino acids. Overall, this porridge heavily supports proper digestion and helps regulate blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol.

Four porridge recipe ideas for a delicious savoury breakfast

Preparing a savoury porridge is uncomplicated. We composed ours with a base of grains, a source of protein and some veggies. To elevate the flavours, we complete the bowl with healthy fat, such as avocado, a drizzle of tasty oil or dressing, and seeds for the crunch. Below are a handful of suggestions to diversify your savoury porridge routine, using the same grain base.

The umami bowl. The above savoury ancient grain porridge. We love umami — Japanese flavourings always bring the best of it. You could complete this bowl with some togarashi, aka seven spices blend. Make it yourself or buy a ready-made mix at your local Japanese market. If your area isn’t locally producing avocados, an easy hack is to replace them with mash peas, here is a quick cool recipe for this. Top with edamame, crispy nori and sliced spring onions. Savoury.

The summer bowl. Zucchini, tomatoes, the main ingredients for this porridge version are best available through the warmer season. To start, prepare your grain as per the original recipe, with the addition of turmeric, cumin, garlic powder and sea salt, a teaspoon of each. On the side sauté some grated zucchini with crushed garlic. Add spinach with cooked black beans, or pulses of your choice, and heat up to wilt the spinach. Once ready, mix your grains with the preparation, and top with cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, sunflower seeds and yoghurt tahini dressing. Vibrant.

The green bowl. To prepare the grain base, add 3 cups of water with 2 cups of your favourite unsweetened plant-based milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of lemon, or lime juice—cook as per usual. In the meantime, vigorously massage your kale with sea salt, until bright green. Place tempeh into a skillet with a dash of olive oil, and cook until crispy, adding kale halfway through with fresh crushed garlic, cooking until wilted. Assemble in a bowl and generously top with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan, fresh basil leaves, hemp seeds and cracked pepper. Fresh.

The Ayurvedic bowl. This variation is inspired by the traditional, detoxifying Indian Kitchari bowl. Gather cumin, fennel, coriander, fenugreek and black mustard seeds, whatever you have, a teaspoon of each. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, add the seeds with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 tablespoon of grated ginger. Cook until fragrant. Add your base grains with 1 cup of split peas or dahl lentils, and prepare as per the original recipe, replacing the 5 cups of water by 6 cups of vegetable broth. When ready, put together in a bowl, topping with sliced carrots, tofu scramble and freshly chopped coriander. Warm.

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