This nutty paleo porridge is hands down my favourite breakfast at the moment. I love traditional oat porridge but in keeping with a paleo/grain-free diet, it’s not been an option. As winter’s set in, warmer breakfasts are so much more appealing, yet after a while, eggs and the usual accompaniments started to lose their appeal. After seeing yet another delicious picture of porridge on Instagram I decided there must be a way to create a grain free style porridge too…
And guess what?! Turns out I wasn’t the first person to have that thought.
After a quick look at the encyclopaedia of google, I discovered a couple of paleo porridge recipes and they were all pretty simple. Just blend dry nuts and seeds together, add some liquid and cook until porridge consistency. What immediately occurred to me was none of the recipes included activating the nuts and seeds. Knowing that a simple bit of soaking time can make nuts and seeds much easier to digest, and their nutritents more readily available, it seemed crazy not to try and incorporate this into a porridge.
Nuts and seeds contain naturally occurring substances such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that stop them from spontaneously sprouting and becoming plants. By soaking nuts and seeds in water, the phytic acid is removed and the enzyme inhibitors neutralised. Phytic acid prevents our bodies from absorbing minerals in the digestive tract, and enzyme inhibitors stop our body’s own enzymes from working properly and breaking down food. By removing these inhibitor substances, you enable your body to absorb and assimilate the nutrients from nuts and seeds much more easily.
Soaking nuts and seeds for my paleo porridge therefore seemed like a no brainer!
There were a few catches, however. Nuts and seeds require different soaking times which seem to differ according to the information source. After researching my favourite health guru’s soaking time guides, I realised that soaking times are just that, a guide. The general rule seems to be that soaking overnight is fine for most nuts and seeds. If you’re in a hurry, there are minimum times you can soak various nuts and seeds for to ensure you’re removing the unwanted substances and unlocking the nutrition inside. For example almonds need the longest time of 10-12 hours and cashews the shortest of 2-4 hours.
So for the ease of this recipe (and because no one wants to stand around the kitchen soaking nuts and seeds all day) I suggest you simply soak them all overnight. To save even more time, you can soak up to 3 days worth of nuts and seeds ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to be used as needed.
If the idea of soaking your porridge ingredients every few days sounds like something you just wont do, or if you’re not too fussed about whether your porridge is more digestible and nutritious, simply skip the soaking step and go straight to the blending and cooking. Your porridge will taste equally delicious!
When you’ve gone to the effort of soaking nuts and seeds for this porridge, it’s worth considering the effect heat can have on all the unlocked live enzymes and nutrients. To keep them all intact, ideally the ingredients shouldn’t be heated over 46ºC, which is still a deliciously warm temperature for a porridge. As not everyone has the time to stand over their porridge with a thermometer every morning, my recommendation is to place the porridge in a pan over low heat and stir continuously until it’s just warm to touch. By keeping the porridge temperature below 46°C it’ll also be the perfect temperature to eat straight away, which is especially helpful when serving little ones.
One more ingredient I need to mention in this nutty paleo porridge are flaxseeds. When soaked in water they take on a gel-like quality which creates the amazing porridge consistency in this recipe. But beware, if you soak flaxseed ahead of time with the other nuts and seeds and store them in the fridge until needed, the gel-like quality disappears and your porridge won’t be nearly as thick and creamy. For this reason, I recommended keeping the flaxseed separate and soaking them for 15 minutes just before you make the porridge. Too much heat will also destroy the flaxseed gel quality which is another reason not to overheat this porridge.
If you choose not to soak your porridge ingredients, simply combine the flaxseeds with the rest of the nuts, seeds and liquid let the porridge sit for a few minutes before blending and heating.
My last tip for this porridge is to blend the ingredients in a food processor. A food processor will grind the ingredients into crumbs whereas a blender will turn them into a fine powder which doesn’t create a good porridge texture. If you consider how traditional oat porridge is made, i.e. with oats that are a little chunky, this will make sense.
To flavour this nutty paleo porridge I love spices such as ground cinnamon and cardamon, a chai spice mix or fresh ginger and turmeric. If spices aren’t your thing, vanilla is another great option or you could go the chocolate route with raw cacao powder and a little natural sweetener. I usually cook this nutty paleo porridge with water, but nut or coconut milk also work well and create an even creamier result.
As with any porridge, toppings are only limited by your imagination. Most days I’m in a hurry so my toppings aren’t that exciting (if present at all). But for a completely sugar free porridge I sprinkle it with coconut flakes, cinnamon, chopped nuts and some greens superfoods powder (pictured below). If fruit and natural sweeteners are on the menu then the possibilities really are endless. I’ve included an option in the suggested toppings for a roasted tamarillo topper (seen in these photos) which you could apply to any stone fruit. Alternately, fresh fruit is amazing, as is coconut, nuts, bee pollen, cacao and freeze dried fruits. Enjoy!
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
What are your favourite porridge flavourings and toppings?
Leave me a comment down below, I can’t wait to hear!
Nutty Paleo Porridge (grain free)
Prep time: 20 minutes Soak time: overnight Cook time: 5 minutes
1/4 cup raw almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup brazil nuts
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp whole flaxseeds (linseeds)
1 cup filtered water or milk of choice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamon
To soak the nuts and seeds overnight, place all except for the flaxseed into a bowl and cover with filtered water. Leave the bowl covered at room temperature overnight (approximately 8 hours). The next day, drain and rinse well and they are now ready for use. If you want to get ahead and batch soak, combine enough nuts and seeds for up to 3 days worth of porridge, soak, drain and rinse, then store in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days, rinsing well before using.
To make the porridge, place the soaked nut and seed mix in the bowl of a food processor and add the flaxseeds, liquid and spices. Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes to allow the flaxseed to gel up, then blend until the nuts and seeds resemble coarse crumbs within the thickened liquid. At this point the porridge should be the ideal consistency, so its just a matter of warming it up.
Place the porridge into a pan set over low heat and stir continuously until the porridge is warm (take care not to boil or you’ll destroy the activated enzymes and nutrients and alter the consistency). If the porridge is looking a little thick adjust it by adding a little more liquid.
Pour the porridge into a serving bowl, sprinkle with your choice of toppings and serve immediately, while warm.
Raw cacao powder
Super greens powder
Pure maple syrup
Chopped medjool dates
Freeze dried fruit
Roasted tamarillos or stone fruit: place whole fruit in a roasting dish into a preheated 160ºC fan oven for approximately 30 minutes until soft. Allow to cool then cut in half and remove any stones.