Simmering the oats in almond milk with a vanilla pod, chopped dates and a little brown sugar, gives a porridge with a deliciously sweet and almost toffee-like flavour and a silky texture. Vanilla pods are a tad expensive and this porridge is best made on the hob, so I like to make this porridge as a treat at the weekend when I’ve got a bit more time. When you see those tiny specks of proper vanilla you just know it’s going to be good!
This recipe below is suitable for vegan (Ve), vegetarian (v) and dairy free (DF) diets, but if you have coeliac disease make sure you choose ‘gluten free’ oats. Although oats don’t naturally contain gluten, they’re often manufactured in the same environment as wheat, barley and rye so can become contaminated. You can make this porridge with any type of milk to suit your dietary needs. Cow’s milk is packed with nutrients such as calcium, iodine, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and iodine. I make it with almond milk because I like the flavour, but if you’re choosing a dairy alternative make sure it’s fortified with nutrients and unsweetened too.
However you like your porridge, it’s the perfect every day choice for a healthy breakfast, providing slow releasing energy and a type of soluble fibre called oat beta glucans. A daily intake of 3g of beta glucans, from oats or barley, has been proven to naturally lower your cholesterol levels. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is really important because high cholesterol increases your risk of developing heart disease. Oats also help to keep blood sugar levels under control after a meal.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 160g jumbo porridge oats
- 600ml almond milk (approx.)
- 4 de-stoned medjool dates, chopped
- 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and deseeded
- 4 tsp brown sugar
- tiny pinch of salt
- Add the porridge oats, dates, milk, salt, vanilla seeds and the vanilla pod to a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer the porridge for 10 minutes stirring regularly and vigorously until the oats have softened, and the consistency is loose and silky. Add a splash more milk if it’s getting too thick.
- Removed the vanilla pod, then add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Serve immediately whilst it’s hot and top with some fresh fruit.