Overnight seed and berry porridge (gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

Oatmeal and seed porridge with berry compote. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

It still feels more wintry than spring-like here in central Scotland. We have had a blue-sky day today, the first for a while, and the temperature is slowly rising. The snow is beginning to thaw slowly, but most of the garden is still covered in a thick, white crust of powdery snow. The snowdrops under the hedge are the first to emerge at long last and I am relieved to see that they have survived their week inside a snow-cave – what robust little flowers they are 🙂

After-the-snow snowdrops. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

One of my favourite warming breakfast dishes is porridge, and it seems a lot of people agree: porridge has become the super-star amongst breakfast cereals, and the supermarket shelves are stacked out with different varieties and all sorts of flavours.

Pinhead oatmeal for “proper” porridge”. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I like my porridge made the traditional way, which means I prefer to use oatmeal (or groats) rather than rolled oats. However, it’s not an instant breakfast and requires some organisation: the oatmeal requires overnight soaking before it can be cooked. But if you have a slow-cooker, you can cut down on the preparation: just mix everything up in the slow-cooker the night before and leave it on a low setting until the next morning, by which time it’s ready to eat as soon as you want it.

The oatmeal in the picture above is a local Scottish brand and is not guaranteed gluten-free. As you will know, oats themselves don’t contain gluten, but there is a contamination risk from other grains during processing, so if you do have a serious gluten allergy, you should seek out gluten-free oatmeal.

Slow-cooker porridge: oatmeal, water and salt. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

If you don’t fancy leaving your slow-cooker on overnight, slow-cook the porridge as you like, and once cooked and cooled, the porridge will keep in the fridge for a few days. You can take out a portion and reheat it with you favourite soya, rice, nut or oat milk when you’re ready. Just pop a portion in a microwave-proof bowl, mash it with a fork and stir in some milk, then reheat on High for about 1 ½ minutes. Alternatively, you can reheat the porridge in a saucepan, with milk, in the same way.

The following quantity will make about 8 servings: pour 1.1litre water into your slow-cooker and stir in 175g pinhead oatmeal. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Cover with the lid and switch the cooker on to the Low setting. Leave to cook, undisturbed, overnight (for 8-10 hours), until thick and soft. To serve, stir well and serve with hot, non-dairy milk mixed in. Add sugar or syrup to sweeten if you like, and top with sliced banana, fresh berries, grated apple, dried fruit etc.

Homemade seed mix and my frozen summer berries. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

For an extra nutritious start to the day, I like to stir a heaped tablespoon of ground seeds into my bowl porridge and top with some summer berry compote.

For the seed mix, grind 3 tbsp. flax seeds with 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp. chia seeds and 1 tbsp. sesame seeds – I use a coffee grinder to do this. Stir in 1 to 2 tbsp. ground almonds, pecans or Brazil nuts. Store in the fridge in an airtight container and use to sprinkle over anything you like for some extra nutritious nuttiness!

The berry compote is made from my freezer supply of home-grown raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. I simply put a quantity, still frozen, in a saucepan with the lid on and sit the pan over a very low heat until the berries soften and cook. I add a little vanilla sugar once the berries are cooked. Delicious eaten hot or cold.

A spoonful of my favourite oatmeal porridge. Image: Kathryn Hawkins





14 thoughts on “Overnight seed and berry porridge (gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

      1. Yes! I’ve started using a timer on my crockpot so it’s only for the perfect amount as I had trouble with the bottom getting crispy 😝

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hello Kathryn, I can’t believe how different your garden looks this year, compared with last last year!
    I love oatmeal, especially on winter days. To sweeten mine, without sugar, I cook it with chunks of banana and bits of pears or apples. Then, like you, I add crunch to it (usually walnuts). I like the idea of using a slow cooker. Your recipe is, as always, full of tips!
    What is the difference in texture between rolled oats and regular oats?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning Joëlle! There have been times these past few days when it as really cold, that a wee nip of whisky on my porridge did feel tempting, but I stuck with mashed banana or berries 🙂 I’m pleased to report that it’s milder now and that the snow is only clinging where it drifted. I can see all the snowdrops now and the crocus have survived too. Phew!

      Rolled oats simply describes the manufacturing process; any oat that is flat or flaky is the same, regardless of the size. Oatmeal is pieces of the oatgrain which haven’t been put through the crusher and as so remain harder and grittier.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for liking my post. I haven’t been very adventurous with my “grain-coking” in my slow-cooker and have stuck to the basics like rice, pearl barley, etc. As a rule, grains that are quick cooking like millet or quinoa would also cook much quicker in the slow cooker so this would suggest an over-night or lengthy cooking time would be too much. For longer cooking, you’d need to choose a whole-grain, and I was wondering whether whole buckwheat might work? Not sure about grits unless they were unrefined and coarsely ground. Hope that helps a wee bit. Have a good day. We have our second blue-sky day in a row! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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