Thank you, food blogs

By Rebecca Firkser
Updated February 13, 2018
lentil porridge
Credit: Photo by Lilechka75 via Getty Images

I’ve discovered of the best breakfast tricks on food blogs. Like, when you run out of milk and can’t get to the store, just blend oats and water to make instant non-dairy milk in flash. Or if you’ve just made nut butter in your food processor, instead of washing it, toss in an egg or a banana and some flour, and presto, you have nutty pancake batter. One of the best tips I’ve gotten from a blogger has got to be adding an extra boost of protein to sweet porridge by adding lentils. This technique comes from Laura Wright of The First Mess, and she calls it post-workout protein porridge.

While adding protein powder to porridge can get way too sweet or, worse, chalky, adding mild lentils to a bowl of grains brings all the nutritional elements without the weird flavor.

“Split lentils become very creamy and sort of ‘melt’ around other grains in a porridge setup,” Wright told me in an email. “Once you add some cinnamon or other warm spices, maybe a bit of fruit, and other typical porridge accompaniments, the flavor of the lentils tends to mellow out. You get some added protein and an extra boost of creaminess!” Wright uses white lentils, also known as urad dal, in her protein porridge. Much as Wright’s simple porridge—oats, quinoa, lentils—called to me, I decided to play around with a few different grains, as well as add cocoa powder. Because, well, chocolate.

Rinse ¼ cup red lentils, ¼ cup brown rice, ¼ cup buckwheat groats, and ¼ cup steel cut oats until cold water for 2 minutes. If you have time, place the lentils and grains together in a bowl or jar along with hot water until they’re just covered. Place a lid on the bowl and let the mixture soak overnight in the fridge. Wright mentions that soaking the lentils and grains makes the lentils a bit more mild, and the porridge a bit lighter, but it’s not necessary. If you decide to go for the soak, the next day, drain and rinse the grains before cooking.

Dump the grains into a medium saucepan along with 2 cups water, 1 cup almond milk, tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flaxseed, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then lower the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 20-30 minutes, or until the grains and lentils are soft (unsoaked grains can take a bit longer). If the porridge is looking dry, add in a big splash of water or almond milk.

Serve the porridge (this makes 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are) with shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, nut butter, or toasted chopped nuts or seeds, and more maple syrup if you’d like.