Sprouted Oat Porridge
Sprouted oat porridge is absolutely delicious! However, there are a few things you need to get right when making it…
What are sprouted oats?
Oats are a type of grain: the seed of a cereal plant. When they are harvested you get oat groats, and these are processed in various different ways. They may be chopped up to make oatmeal; or steamed, rolled then dehydrated to make rolled oats; OR they can be sprouted. Sprouting is when a grain (or any other seed for that matter) is given the right environment to germinate. It starts to grow. You can sprout seeds at home (for details on how to do this see my post on sprouting seeds). The company ‘Rude Health’ make sprouted porridge oats commercially: their oats are partially germinated, rolled then dried.
The nutritional benefits of sprouted oat porridge
One of the benefits of sprouting grains is that it promotes the breakdown of so-called anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients bind to nutrients when the grain is in it’s dormant state: they act as a nutrient store. For example phytate binds to minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium. When bound to phytate those minerals are poorly absorbed by the human body. However when the grain starts to germinate, it produces an enzyme called phytase, and this breaks down phytate and releases those minerals. As far as the plant is concerned these nutrients are intended for it’s own growth but they are also more bioavailable for us.
Soak your oats!
Sprouted oat porridge can be delicious but for optimum yum the oats really do require an overnight soak. Without that soak they behave like coarse oatmeal: you’ll be cooking them for ages and they’ll never ‘blup up’ and go thick and creamy. However if you soak them first all they need is a minute or so in the microwave and they will turn into the most thick, wholesome, rustic, creamy, yet textured, porridge you’ve ever experienced!
A little sweetness
The flavour of sprouted oat porridge is more complex than bog standard porridge: they are nuttier with an almost savoury flavour. I find that they benefit from a little sweetness and for this I use medjool dates: a fantastic whole food sweetener. The recipe calls for between 1/2 and 1 medjool date, depending on the size of the date and how sweet you like your porridge. Note that medjool dates are larger than regular, deglet noor dates: you can use regular dates but you’ll need more than one. For those who do not tolerate yeast, you may want to swap date for your favourite non-yeasty sweetener such as coconut sugar.
In my recipe I use water as the liquid. Although you can replace the water with plant-based milk, I think soaked sprouted oats are creamy enough when made with water. I actually find that, when made with plant milk, this porridge can be a bit too heavy.
You can serve this porridge as it is or you can add healthy toppings. I often add a few goji berries before cooking: cooking the gojis softens them. Once I’ve cooked my porridge I like to top with walnuts and dried cherries.
Free from: gluten, nut, soya, wheat
Yeast free: replace dates with your favourite sweetener
This is a vegan recipe
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- 1/2 cup sprouted oats
- 1/2 – 1 medjool date (pitted and finely chopped)
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice and / or cinnamon
- 1 cup water
Soak your oats overnight (or for a few hours at least): simply combine oats, date, spice and water in a microwaveable dish. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
After a soak the oats will have absorbed a lot of the water.
Mush the dates into the oats using the back of a spoon.
Microwave for 60 seconds. Your porridge may start to set around the edges. Stir.
Microwave for another 30 seconds and stir again. By now all the oats will probably have thickened. If so it’s ready. If not, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each cook, until the oats have thickened. If at any point the porridge gets too dry, add a splash more water.