Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pumpkin Millet Porridge

If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you might know that I'm currently on a hot breakfast cereal kick.  Cream of buckwheat, quinoa muesli, millet porridge - for the past two weeks I've been getting up early [gasp] so I can make breakfast, sit with my journal while sipping hot tea, and actually make the morning a part of my day rather than a rushed afterthought.  As a child, my grandmother used to make farina for breakfast, particularly during the Winter to help my brother, sister, and I steel ourselves against the bitter Michigan cold.  And while farina (aka cream of wheat) and sub-zero temps are no longer a part of my current life here in Texas, the memories, nostalgia, and love for my grandmother, certainly remain.

Starting the day with warmth.

Millet is a favorite food of mine.  Savory, sweet, a little of both - it's particularly satisfying to me in the months surrounding the new year when the days shorten and the temperature drops.  And while I've always enjoyed it in terms of taste, learning about both its health benefits and history has only made me love it more.  Easily digestible, prebiotic in function, alkaline, and a good source of nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, just to name a few.  And in Asia and parts of Africa, this tiny seed predates rice as a staple food in those cultures, going back tens of thousands of years.  And whether it was Russia, Ethiopia, Germany, or China, one of the most common traditional ways of preparing millet was as a porridge.

And after trying today's recipe, it's likely you'll see why.  After all, if it isn't broken, why fix it?

Pumpkin Millet Porridge
Gluten-Free & Vegan

Active Prep Time:  less than 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time:  at least 8 hours
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Yield:  about 4 cups

3/4 c millet seed
3 c filtered water, for soaking
1 teaspoon lemon juice

3 c (24 oz) unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 c (4 oz) unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 c (1 oz) maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground flax
1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

1.  To prepare millet, rinse well and then add filtered water and lemon juice.  You can also use apple cider vinegar if lemon juice isn't handy.  Soak for at least 8 hours and then strain millet from soaking liquid and rinse one more time.  The seeds should look plump in appearance and paler in color.  This is an important step to help your body access the wonderful nutrients/vitamins and help the millet be a benefit, rather than a burden, to your digestive system.
2.  Combine soaked millet with remaining ingredients in a medium sized saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes.  Finished, it should look creamy in texture, not unlike a risotto.  Note:  It will continue to thicken as it cools, so remove from heat before you arrive at your target consistency.  If it becomes too thick, you can always add more liquid.  Easy fix.

Not just for the birds.

Rich, creamy, with just the right amount of stickiness.

Garnish with dried fruit and nuts or seeds for beautiful boost.

You can serve this for breakfast, but you could also serve this as a hearty dessert with mulled cider by the fire.  Rice pudding, while delicious, always sends me hurtling into a food coma, so it's nice to have an alternative, that while reminiscent, is far healthier and ultimately more compassionate to the body.  And if that wasn't motivation enough, the combination of maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla tastes like a graham cracker.  Yum.

As we hurtle towards the new year, remember to take the opportunity to appreciate the beauty around you, in the people, in the trees, and in the world beyond where you live.  And make that beauty known, sharing it selflessly to be that change you wish to see.


  1. That looks delicious, especially for a rainy day like today!

    1. Thanks, Cheryl! With the recent cold front, it was perfect to warm the body from the inside out. :)

  2. I enjoy my puddings, porridges, lugaw, congee, juk,champorados or whatever you want to call them. Looks like another winner for my tummy. Good and simple is always number one in my book =)

    1. Amen, ading. I'm making it again tomorrow - it was sooooo good!

  3. This looks replace my "enhanced" oatmeal porridge.

    1. It's good to change things up, both for the tastebuds and the digestive system. This can at least be an option, even if not a replacement, for your "enhanced" oatmeal porridge. :)


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