Porridge makes a healthy breakfast, but the microwave sachets (which you can’t recycle due to the lining) are not as nice as a proper homemade bowl using locally-milled oats. Invented in Scotland (crofters’ wives would send their husbands to work with a ‘slab’ from the porridge drawer, oats are filling and high in fibre, so help to ‘soak up cholesterol’. Oats are also grown locally so farmers can join transfarmation projects to ‘transfarm’ over to a more profitable crop, leaving livestock to live out lives in peace.
Read up on food safety for people & pets (many human foods including nuts, seeds, dried fruits, spices and chocolate are unsafe around animal friends).
- Scottish oats are made by stone-grinding, and most people say they make the best porridge. They take 10 minutes to cook on the stove. Rolled oats take a little less time to cook.
- Steel-cut oats have a chewy texture and take longer to cook on the stove, and are not good for the microwave, although you can use them for overnight oats (or make into granola).
- Quick oats are rolled much thinner, so the ones used for microwave sachet pots, but they do go a bit mushy.
The Veg Space has a great post on how to make 4 simple porridge recipes (apple, raisin cinnamon, coffee walnut and cherry chocolate), using rolled oats, dairy-free milk and maple syrup.
To make a basic porridge recipe, mix a cup of oats and plant milk in a pan with 2 cups of boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, adding a little water if needed, then serve with maple syrup. For flapjacks, melt a large knob of Naturli vegan butter (no palm oil) with 2 tablespoons molasses and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Add a cup of jumbo oats and stir, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.
Good brands of porridge oats are are Pimhill (Shropshire) or Flahavan’s (Ireland), both in easy-to-recycle packaging. If you want to go the microwave route, Flahavan’s sells better versions of quick-cook oats in tubes and sachets (also in apple cinnamon and berry flavours). Never microwave food for babies or pets.
A simpler option is overnight oats. Similar to European Bircher Muesli, just add a pinch of cinnamon and 300ml of apple juice to 150 of jumbo oats to a bowl, then cover and sit in the fridge overnight. Next morning, just add fresh sliced apples, maple syrup, dried apricots and walnuts, and a drizzle of plant-based natural yoghurt.
Although they’re fine in a fix, did you know that those sachet porridge oats can’t be recycled? It was news to us too, it’s something to do with the lining inside, to make them microwave-proof. Why not support your local economy and indulge in Pimhill porridge oats, made with organic farming methods, and sold in zero-waste paper packaging (giant bags available for wholesale or porridge addicts!)
To make a basic porridge recipe, mix a cup of oats and plant milk in a pan with 2 cups of boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, adding a little water if needed, then serve with maple syrup. For flapjacks, melt a large knob of palm-oil-free vegan butter with 2 tablespoons molasses and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Add a cup of jumbo oats and stir, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.
know your oats about oats!
One dietician said you can tell a healthy breakfast cereal, using the ‘5 and 5 rule’. Per 100g, a good cereal will be more than 5g of fibre and less than 5g of sugar (carbs). This means bar porridge and Weetabix, few qualify. Many are low in fibre. And those that pass the fibre test usually have mountains of sugar (crunchy nut cornflakes are loaded with honey).
American food campaigner Michael Pollan says supermarkets are set up for profit. If they cared about your cholesterol, they would have aisles of fresh produce in the centre, with a few aisles of high-profit junk food. Instead, they have two aislesof fresh produce as you walk in, then aisles of junk food.
He’s right – take a look. Milk and bread (essentials) are at the far end of the supermarket, to encourage you to put other stuff in your trolley. And in the cereal aisle, high-price junk food versions are at eye-level, and porridge on the bottom (with no special offers!)