Whole grain porridge is one of my favourite warming, nourishing, simple and healthy breakfasts. These recipes are packed with plant-based protein, takes just a few minutes to prepare and can be customized with all your favourite add-ins.

You can make whole grain porridge with grains like steel-cut oats, freekeh, quinoa, amaranth, teff, millet, kamut, farro, brown rice or buckwheat, among others. Once you choose your grain, you’re ready to try one of these 5 porridge flavours: Triple Coconut, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut and Seed or Caramel Almond Tahini. They’re all vegan, can be gluten-free depending on the grain you use and can be sugar-free depending on the sweetening options and add-ins you go with.

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Bob’s Red Mill in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own and I love Bob’s Red Mill regardless of this partnership!

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

What is a Whole Grain?

A whole grain is a grain of any cereal and pseudocereal that still contains its three original parts, the endosperm, germ, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.

For more information, read my guide to whole grains.

Whole Grains and Digestion

Did you know we have nearly 50 trillion microbial cells in and on our bodies?? They live everywhere; in our mouths, stomach, intestines, lungs, skin and elsewhere. We actually have more microbial cells than we do human cells. All those microbial cells make up what’s called the microbiome. Each of our completely unique microbiomes are affected by genetics, the food we eat, where we live and travel, the people and pets we interact with, hygiene, medication and other lifestyle factors.

Eat to Support the Microbiome

A healthy, diverse microbiome hugely important for our overall health and disease prevention and luckily we can support a strong and robust microbiome through the foods we eat. Foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and fermented foods help friendly microbes grow in the intestinal tract.

A diet rich in whole grains nourishes gut bacteria, helping them do their job and improving our overall health. Good gut bacteria are important for everything from optimal brain function, to a healthy immune system, to body weight regulation, heart health, metabolic function, mood, sleep and more.

Here are a few reasons to include a variety of whole grains to help nourish a healthy gut microbiome:

  1. Heart Health: Eating whole grains enhances benefits gut microbes that produce chemicals which can decrease atherosclerosis.
  2. Cancer: Increased intake of whole grains is associated with improved health as well as a decreased cancer risk. The anti-cancer effects of whole grains occur through changing the intestinal environment to an anti-cancer bacterial mix.
  3. Brain Health: Recent studies have shown how bacteria living in our intestine communicates with the brain affecting our mood and behavior. With high concentrations of feel-good compounds like serotonin and melatonin found in the gut, it’s important to promote a variety of beneficial and healthy gut bacteria. Eating a range of whole grains nourishes these beneficial bacteria.
  4. Obesity and Diabetes: Whole grains increase the number and types of bacteria in the gut that are associated with better glucose tolerance. The microbiota of people with diabetes has fewer bacteria that produce chemical benefits that help with glucose control. With less “good” bacteria, the end results is insulin resistance, a fatty liver and a higher prevalence of obesity.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

Should I Soak Whole Grains?

The simple is answer is yes. Yes, you should. Do I always soak my whole grains. No, no I do not. I would love to say I do and it’s definitely something I want to start implementing regularly.

Grains are seeds and seeds are meant to pass through the digestive system relatively unfazed so they can be planted elsewhere. Because of this, seeds contain anti-nutrients such as phytic acid that make them difficult to digest.

Why Soak Whole Grains?

When we eat grains that haven’t been soaked, the phytic acid binds to minerals in the GI tract so they can’t be absorbed by the body. If we soak the grains before cooking, essentially starting the sprouting process, a good portion of the pyhtic acid is broken down, improving digestibility and the bioavailability of the nutrients in those grains. Grains, nuts and legumes also contain enzyme inhibitors which also interfere with normal digestion. We need enzymes throughout the digestive process to help break down food every step of the way. Soaking can also help to break down these enzyme inhibitors to help improve digestion.

How to Soak Grains

Here’s the thing: soaking grains is super easy! All it takes is some planning ahead.

  1. Place the grain in a glass bowl or jar and cover with filtered warm water. For every 1 cup of liquid you’ll need 1 tbsp of acid medium. You can use apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Most grains need to be soaked for 12-24 hours however buckwheat, brown rice and millet have a lower phytic acid level and only need about 8 hours.
  2. Cover the bowl or jar with a clean dish cloth and place a rubber band around it.
  3. That’s it! Once they’ve soaked for the required time, drain them and proceed with cooking, noting that cooking time will be less than non-soaked grains.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

Whole Grains for Porridge

Let’s take a look at all the Bob’s Red Mill whole grains you can use to make porridge. They carry a huge selection of whole grains and you can use any grain on this list to make the 5 whole grain porridge recipes I’ve shared below.

I’m sure you’ve seen Bob’s Red Mill products in your local grocery store. They’re hard to miss and often take up an entire section. I can almost stock my entire pantry just from Bob’s Red Mill products. Today we’re just chatting whole grains though, so let’s get into those.

More than Oats and Brown Rice

While I’m a big fan of the classics like brown rice and oats, I love the lesser known grains like freekeh, kamut, farro and buckwheat groats too. Bob’s Red Mill has an awesome selection of ancient heirloom grains that haven’t been bred to the point of creating a new species, as some other modern grains have.

Each of these whole grains contains protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, and each boasts its own unique nutritional profile. All Bob’s Red Mill are available organic and many of them are offered gluten-free, made in their gluten-free dedicated faciity, if needed. All of their whole grains are non-GMO.

Let’s take a quick run down of these amazing, nutritious grains. Some of these I’m sure you’ve heard of but the lesser known ones are fun to try as a versatile alternatives to favourites like brown rice, quinoa and oats. Each of these grains has its own unique flavour, texture and nutritional profile and enjoying them on rotation is a great way to get some nutritional diversity in your diet and like we talked above, diversity in your diet can help the microbiome flourish.

Grains, Seeds and Pseudo-Grains

Just a quick note, some of these, such as buckwheat groats and amaranth aren’t actually grains but rather seeds or pseudo-cereals. That being said, they’re all generally referred to as whole grains and for todays purposes, we’ll group them all into that category. They all have similar nutritional properties ie. a great source of fiber, minerals and vitamins.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

List of Grains for Whole Grain Porridge

  1. Cracked Freekeh: One of my favourites for porridge, has a firm and slightly chewy texture and a distinct nutty and earthy flavour, prebiotic, great source of protein, iron, calcium and zinc.
  2. Amaranth (Gluten-Free): A very fine grain that results in a creamy consistency much like grits or cream of wheat. I’m not a big fan of amaranth and teff for porridge since the grain is so small however some people enjoy them.
  3. Teff (Gluten-Free): A very small, fine grain that results in a porridge similar to amaranth in texture, something like polenta or cream of wheat.
  4. Millet (Gluten-Free): A quick cooking, ancient seed grain that has a mild and slightly sweet flavour, making it a great choice for whole grain porridge.
  5. Quinoa (Gluten-Free):  One of my favourites for porridge, has a mild, nutty flavour, isn’t too chewy or too soft, good source of complete protein, high in magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, lysine and iron. I use quinoa often since it’s great for other dishes too.
  6. Sorghum (Gluten-Free): A good way to enjoy the nutrition of whole grains on a gluten-free diet. Excellent source of fiber, has a hearty, chewy texture similar to wheat berries. Fun fact…sorghum can be easily popped to for a fun twist on popcorn!
  7. Kamut Berries: Kamut comes from an ancient variety of wheat and has a chewy texture and rich, butter flavour that’s delicious in porridge. Good source of selenium, zinc, magnesium and iron. High in protein, containing 7 grams of protein per serving, and a good source of dietary fiber. Kamut has a bit of a longer cooking time but soaking it overnight can reduce that to speed things up.
  8. Farro: An ancient relative of modern-day wheat, farro is hearty and chewy with a rich, nutty flavour. A good source of iron, protein and fiber. Try it in my 5-minute breakfast farro bowls.
  9. Brown Rice (Gluten-Free): Delicious for whole grain porridge, think rice pudding! Rich in selenium, manganese, fiber and antioxidants.
  10. Spelt Berries: An ancient grain related to wheat. Spelt has a complex flavour and plenty of whole grain nutrition, it can be more easily digested than other forms of wheat and many people with wheat intolerances have been able to tolerate it. High in fiber and a good source of iron and manganese. It has a chewy texture and sweet, nutty flavour making it a great choice for porridge.
  11. Barley: You can use whole hull-less barley, pearl barley, rolled barley flakes or barley grits to make whole grain porridge. The textures range from hearty and chewy whole barley, to polenta-like barley grits. Barley has a nutty, slightly sweet flavour and makes a yummy choice for hot cereal.
  12. Wheat Berries: Bob’s Red Mill carries Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries and Hard White Wheat Berries, both coming from quality organic wheat. They have slightly different flavours that both work well for porridge. They are both a good source of protein, fiber and iron.
  13. Bulgur: Bulgur has a nutty flavour and just like the rest of the grains on this list, it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Low in fat and high in minerals like manganese, magnesium and iron, plus it’s a good source of plant-based protein. It’s easy to prepare and a delicious of option for whole grain porridge.
  14. Rye Flakes: Made from whole grain rye that’s been softened, steamed and rolled into flakes, rye flakes are a delicious option for whole grain porridge.  They have a mild flavour and are an excellent source of fiber, in particular a type of fiber called arabinoxylan, which is known for its high antioxidant activity. Rye is a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and protein.
  15. Oats (Gluten-Free): Bob’s Red Mill carries a huge range of different oats you can use to make whole grain porridge. They have everything from old-fashioned rolled oats, to whole oat groats, to steel-cut oats, to extra thick rolled oats, gluten-free rolled oats and even quick cooking steel-cut oats. I love both rolled oats and steel-cut oats for making hot cereal. Oats are very nutritious and have the perfect mild flavour and chewy texture for making porridge. I love the chewy texture of steel-cut oats and you can’t beat rolled oats for making overnight oats if you don’t feel like cooking. Try them in my Overnight Oatmeal Parfaits or Simple Creamy Banana Oatmeal.
  16. Buckwheat Groats (Gluten-Free): Inexpensive, easy to prepare, has a yummy, earthy flavour, they have a chewy texture much like steel-cut oats making them delicious for whole grain porridge. Bob’s Red Mill also carries Organic Kasha, or roasted buckwheat kernels. Roasting the buckwheat groats brings out their wonderful, earthy flavour making kasha a great choice for porridge as well. Buckwheat is high in both soluble and insoluble fibre, has 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving, is a complete protein, and a good source of iron, copper, magnesium and manganese.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

Gluten and Whole Grains

Gluten-free whole grains include brown rice, teff, amaranth, quinoa, rolled oats, steel-cut oats, millet and buckwheat. Freekeh, bulgur, rye, spelt, kamut and farro are all forms of wheat so they do contain some gluten. That being said, if you can tolerate gluten, go ahead and enjoy any of these grains in moderation as they’re still nutritious, unrefined whole grains. If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, stick to the list of naturally gluten-free whole grains and seek out the Bob’s Red Mill products that are handled exclusively in their dedicated gluten-free facility and tested for gluten-free integrity.

We talked about the health implications of eating gluten in refined grains in my post on inflammation. Although many of these whole grains contain gluten, they’re unrefined, non-GMO, highly nutritious and can certainly be included in your diet if you have no issues with gluten.

When choosing your whole grains, think variety. Rotating through these grains will help prevent food intolerances and promote diversity of good gut bacteria that will support a healthy digestion system.

5 Minute Whole Grain Porridge

Whole grain porridge is one of my favourite ways to enjoy a quick and easy, nourishing meal to start the day. There are two ways you can make whole grain porridge. You can either batch cook the grains ahead of time, re-heating individual portions during the week, using different add-ins each time, or cook them from scratch as needed, adding any extras as they cook.

Batch Cook to Save Time

To prepare these recipes in just 5 minutes, I batch cook the grains ahead of time so all I need to do is heat them up and add my extra ingredients each morning. I like using this method so I can make them different each day. Every Sunday, I’ll cook a batch of one or two different whole grains. That way I can use them for breakfast porridge but also in salads and other savoury dishes throughout the week. Unless I’m making a specific recipe, I cook whole grains plain in water so they’re ready to use in all kinds of dishes. Breakfast porridge is also a great way to use up whole grain leftovers.

These are my favourite whole grains for making porridge:

  • Quinoa
  • Freekeh
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Brown rice
  • Steel-cut oats

Those are my personal favourites but you can use any of the whole grains we talked about above.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

5 Whole Grain Porridge Recipes

Here are 5 delicious and healthy whole grain porridge recipes you can make with any whole grain. All of these recipes call for cooked grains, so you’re simply heating the cooked grain with some added non-dairy milk and tasty add-ins, adding any additional toppings and digging in.

Here are the 5 delicious whole grain porridge flavours I’ve got for you today:

  • Triple Coconut
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Banana Nut and Seed
  • Caramel Cashew Tahini

Serving Sizes

All of these recipes call for 1 serving of whole grains, or 1/4 cup dry, which yields between 1/2 and 3/4 cup cooked. I listed 1/2 cup cooked for each recipe but feel free to use a bit more than that and just add a bit more liquid as needed to adjust the consistency.

I find one serving of grains like buckwheat groats, freekeh, quinoa yield around 3/4 cup once they’re cooked but some are more dense, such as steel-cut oats. It will also depend on how much liquid and time you use in the cooking process but no worries, it doesn’t have to be exact. Use around 1/2-3/4 cup cooked per serving for each recipe. These can all be doubled, tripled or more, as needed.

How to Sweeten Whole Grain Porridge

I recommend the following for sweetening whole grain porridge:

What Milk to Use

You can make these recipes with any homemade or store-bought plant-based milk. Almond, cashew, rice and coconut are all delicious. Oat milk and hemp seed milk are yummy too and really easy to make at home.

Triple Coconut Porridge Recipe

First up is a coconut porridge made coconut milk, coconut sugar and shredded coconut. Try it with cooked quinoa, amaranth, brown rice or rolled oats.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

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Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

Triple Coconut Whole Grain Porridge

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

If you love coconut then this is the one for you! Made with coconut milk, shredded coconut and coconut sugar it’s a triple coconut infusion. Try it topped with almond and cacao nibs for Almond Joy Porridge or banana and pineapple for a tropical twist.


Scale

Ingredients

Additional Topping Ideas

  • coconut butter for even more coconut flavour
  • sliced banana, pineapple or mango for a tropical twist
  • almonds and cacao nibs for Almond Joy porridge

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a small pot and cook over medium heat until heated through. About 5 minutes.
  2. Scoop into a bowl, add any additional toppings and enjoy!

Keywords: easy, healthy

Pumpkin Pie Porridge Recipe

This pumpkin pie version is perfect for the Fall and Winter months. Try it topped with walnuts and almond butter.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

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Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

Pumpkin Pie Porridge

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

This Pumpkin Pie Whole Grain Porridge will be your Fall and Winter go-to. I love this version with steel-cut oats, rolled oats or brown rice.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/23/4 cup cooked whole grain of choice
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup, or another sweetener of choice
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Additional Topping Ideas


Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a small pot and cook over medium heat until heated through. About 5 minutes.
  2. Scoop into a bowl, add any additional toppings and enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Whole Grain Porridge Recipe

A delicious, warm, hearty breakfast made with the classic combo of apples and cinnamon.

Healthy Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

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Let's take a quick run down of these amazing, nutritious grains. Some of these I'm sure you've heard of but the lesser known ones are fun to try as an versatile alternatives to favourites like brown rice, quinoa and oats. Each of these grains has it's own unique flavour, texture and nutritional profile and enjoying them on rotation is a great way to get some nutritional diversity in your diet and like we talked above, diversity in your diet can helps the microbiome flourish. Just a quick note, some of these, such as buckwheat groats and amaranth aren't actually grains but rather seeds or pseudo-cereals. That being said, they're all generally referred to as whole grains and for todays purposes we'll group them all into that category. They all have similar nutritional properties ie. a great source of fiber, minerals and vitamins.

Apple Cinnamon Whole Grain Porridge

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Apple cinnamon is a classic porridge flavour so I couldn’t leave it off this list. All you’ll need is some non-dairy milk, sliced apple, cinnamon and maple syrup. Alternatively, you can sweeten it with dates, coconut sugar or liquid stevia extracts for a sugar-free version.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/23/4 cup cooked whole grain of choice
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 to a whole diced apple
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • sweetener of choice: 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp of soaked dates, 1 tbsp coconut sugar or liquid stevia extract

Additional Topping Ideas

  • more chopped apple
  • unsweetened coconut
  • raisins or dried cranberries
  • sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a small pot and cook over medium heat until heated through. About 5 minutes.
  2. Scoop into a bowl, add any additional toppings and enjoy!

Banana Nut Porridge Recipe

This extra hearty version is made with chia and hemp seeds for a nutritious, filling breakfast.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

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Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

Banana Nut Whole Grain Porridge

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

With ingredients like chia and hemp seeds, this hearty whole grain porridge packs a serious nutritional punch. This porridge is high in omega-3 EFAs, protein, iron and fiber.


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a small pot and cook over medium heat until heated through. Mashing up some of the banana as you stir. About 5 minutes.
  2. Scoop into a bowl, add any additional toppings and enjoy!

Keywords: healthy, easy

Caramel Tahini Porridge Recipe

This version is made with sweet, soft dates and topped with creamy tahini for a dessert-like breakfast you will love.

Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

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Whole Grain Porridge 5 Delicious Healthy Recipes | vegan and gluten-free

Caramel Tahini Whole Grain Porridge

This whole grain porridge gets it’s caramel flavour from sweet, soft dates. Thanks to the natural sweetness of the dates, this recipe doesn’t require any extra sweetener but if you do like it a little sweeter, try finishing it with a drizzle of maple syrup or sprinkling of coconut sugar. This is yummy with cashews too!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/23/4 cup cooked whole grain of choice
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed, finely chopped dates
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • optional sweetener: drizzle of maple syrup, coconut sugar or liquid stevia
  • optional: pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Add the grain, milk and dates to a pot and cook until heated through. About 5 minutes.
  2. Scoop into a bowl, drizzle with the tahini, add any additional toppings and enjoy!

More Flavours to Try

Once you’ve got the hang of it, creating fun whole grain porridge flavours can be a lot of fun! You can try one of the 5 variations below but don’t stop there, how about:

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter – stir in 1 tbsp of cacao and top with peanut butter
  • Strawberry Cream – stir in plenty of fresh or frozen strawberries and top with dairy-free yogurt
  • Blueberry Lemon – stir in plenty of fresh lemon juice and top with fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Almond Butter & Jam – stir in chia seed jam and top with almond butter

There’s no end to the flavours you can create!