Hands up if the first thing that springs to mind when someone says 'porridge' is a bowl of sad, grey goop. Yes, it may stick to your ribs, but if it tastes like cardboard, what's the point?
Maybe you're used to watery porridge (thanks, mum and dad), or you've just never taken a foray into the world of endless porridge toppings.
But with the weather turning colder every day, now is the perfect time to make porridge not boring. Delicious, in fact.
To avoid boring bowls of porridge, remember these rules:
- Never skip toppings and have porridge plain
- Always include at least one fruit
- Always include at least two toppings
- Always use milk when making porridge -- not just water
- Focus on colour, texture and different flavours
For inspiration, here are seven tasty porridge toppings to try the next time a cold morning greets you.
1. Peanut butter, banana and cinnamon
The key to a good bowl of porridge is a combo of flavours which work in harmony. Case in point, peanut butter, banana and cinnamon.
Simply make a bowl of porridge (or maybe breakfast polenta) and top with banana slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a spoonful of peanut butter. You can even stir these ingredients into the porridge while it's cooking for extra flavour.
Try this peanut butter overnight oats recipe from Minimalist Baker.
2. Baked peaches, almonds and cream
To make breakfast more like dessert, try topping your oats with peaches and cream. You can either bake the peaches in a separate tray, or bake the porridge to golden perfection with the peach slices on top.
Serve with whipped cream and toasted almonds for crunch. Here's the recipe by How Sweet Eats.
3. Medjool dates, tahini and cinnamon
Dates and tahini are a superb match, with the dates' sweetness balancing out the nutty, creamy and slightly bitter tahini. Add cinnamon for spice and you have yourself a satisfying porridge topping.
To finish, sprinkle pistachios on top and, if you have a sweet tooth, drizzle with date syrup.
4. Maple roasted pecans and yoghurt
For the ultimate crunch factor, top your bowl with golden maple roasted pecans. The pecans, maple syrup and salt form a sweet, earthy and autumnal flavour, while the yoghurt adds creaminess.
Put it all together and try this spiced carrot cake oatmeal with maple roast pecans by Gather and Feast.
5. Blueberry and coconut
This oaty, nutty, cinnamony creation is a far cry from instant oats mixed with water. Warming and satisfying, the combination of blueberries, almonds and coconut flakes gives this brekkie texture, sweetness and crunch.
Have a go at Love and Lemon's blueberry coconut baked oatmeal. It's vegan, gluten free and scrumptious on a cold morning.
6. Stewed cinnamon pears and pecans
Stewed pears (or apples) are the ultimate winter treat and there's no reason why you can't use it as a porridge topping. All you need to do is stew your favourite winter fruit (pears always work a treat) in a saucepan with butter, brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon.
Once caramelised, tender and golden brown, serve on top of the oats with pecans for crunch.
Here's a delicious recipe for brown sugar pear steel cut oats from Minimalist Baker.
7. Peanut butter and strawberry jam
Transform a PB and J sandwich into porridge time by topping oats with natural peanut butter, freshly made strawberry chia jam (don't worry, it's easy) and a touch of yoghurt or cream. It's sweet, creamy, nutty and hearty.
Try this recipe for toasted oatmeal with strawberry chia jam and coconut whipped cream from Cookie and Kate.
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