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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Lauren Salkeld

The calendar may say spring, but it’s still pretty nippy outside. And there’s no better way to warm up your day than with a hot breakfast. In addition to being cozy and comforting, warm morning meals also tend to be hearty and fortifying, helping you stay full for hours. Porridge is making a comeback, and we’re not talking about your standard bowl of oatmeal. With a quick trip to the supermarket, you can stock up on a wide variety of porridge options, including brown rice, quinoa, polenta, amaranth, farro and pearl barley.

These seven recipes will help you discover the many ways to enjoy porridge. Here, we’re skipping the typical sweet toppings and going for a savory breakfast that can even be eaten for dinner. It’s an easy way to add some variety to your morning routine and you likely already have many of the ingredients in your pantry or fridge—you may even be able to use up some leftovers.

Each recipe serves four, but you can scale the quantities up or down as needed. Plus, all of these porridge options—brown rice, quinoa, polenta, amaranth, farro and pearl barley—can be made ahead and then reheated. For convenience, you may want to make a big batch early in the week and then enjoy it over the next few days. To reheat, simply warm the porridge with a few tablespoons of water in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and then add your toppings, or just pop it in the microwave. The polenta requires a bit more stirring than the others, but it cooks quite quickly, so you may find it easier to simply make it in the morning. Some of the recipes are made with chicken or vegetable stock, but it’s fine to substitute water or a combination of water and stock. Feel free to mix and match the various toppings to create your own ultimate breakfast experience!

1. Brown rice porridge with kale and coconut: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk, 10 ounces water and 1 cup long-grain brown rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 45-50 minutes. When the rice is almost ready, in a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté 1 minute. Add 5-6 handfuls of chopped kale (stems removed) and sauté until bright green and just wilted, 2-3 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the rice and kale among 4 bowls. Drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with toasted unsweetened coconut flakes.

2. Polenta porridge with roasted tomatoes and pesto:

Lauren Salkeld

In a baking dish, toss 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 425°F oven until the tomatoes are softened, 10-15 minutes. While the tomatoes are roasting, in a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Add 1 cup quick-cooking polenta then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Cover and let sit 1-2 minutes. Divide the polenta and tomatoes among 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon homemade or purchased pesto and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

3. Quinoa porridge with kimchi and egg: In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups chicken stock with 1 cup rinsed quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until most of the stock is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. When the quinoa is almost ready, fry or poach 4 large eggs. Divide the quinoa among 4 bowls, then top each serving with 1/3 cup kimchi, 1 fried or poached egg and thinly sliced scallions.

4. Farro porridge with butternut squash, goat cheese and hazelnuts

Lauren Salkeld

In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup farro. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until most of the stock is absorbed and the farro is tender, about 1 hour. While the farro is cooking, in a baking dish, toss 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast in a 400°F oven until tender, about 30 minutes. Divide the farro and squash among 4 bowls then top with crumbled goat cheese and chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

5. Amaranth porridge with mushrooms and soy-ginger sauce

Lauren Salkeld

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups chicken stock to a boil. Add 1 cup amaranth then reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until most of the stock is absorbed, 20-25 minutes. While the amaranth is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté 1 minute. Add 3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms and sauté until softened, 5-7 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the amaranth and mushrooms among 4 bowls. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions.

6. Polenta porridge with spinach and Gorgonzola

Lauren Salkeld

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Add 1 cup quick-cooking polenta, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Cover and let sit 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 minced garlic clove and sauté 1 minute. Add 5-6 handfuls of baby spinach and sauté until bright green and just barely wilted, about 2 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the polenta and spinach among 4 bowls and sprinkle with Gorgonzola.

7. Pearl barley porridge with smoked ham, avocado, and egg: In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup pearl barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until most of the stock is absorbed and the barley is tender, 50-60 minutes. While the barley is cooking, fry or poach 4 large eggs. Divide the barley among 4 bowls, then top each serving with 1/2 ounce chopped smoked ham (1 thin slice per serving), ¼ cubed avocado, and 1 fried or poached egg. Serve with hot sauce or Sriracha.