Three-seed Porridge with Ginger and Blueberries

porridge-featuredI have a secret love of porridge, and, in the winter months, it is one of our favorite breakfasts.  We eat soaked oatmeal porridge, mostly, and congee from time to time, but occasionally I like to focus on other grains and pseudocereals like buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa whose grassy undertones blossom when paired with fresh blueberries, heavy cream and a generous dose of fresh ginger.  These breakfasts are invariably served with fried eggs and wilted greens – Swiss chard or spinach, mostly.  It’s a lovely way to start the morning.


Not quite grains, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa are the seeds of broad-leafed plants.  Grains, in case you’re wondering, are the seeds of grasses.  Buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa are pseudocereals; that is, they’re  false cereal grains that we use like cereal grains.  They’re gluten-free (only true cereal grains contain gluten, but not all cereal grains do) and paseudocereals typically pack a lot of nutrition into a very small package.


Buckwheat is rich in niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zince as well as a potent flavonoid called rutin.  Rutin, like other antioxidants, extends the power of vitamin C, and, as such is strongly anti-inflammatory.  Rutin can also help protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation.  Buckwheat is also extraordinarily rich in the enzyme phytase which helps to break down phytic acid, a naturally occurring antinutrient that can block your body’s ability to absorb minerals.


I love amaranth, another pseudocereal, for its tiny, pale beige seeds.  Amaranth leaves are also used in cooking, though most people are better familiar with amaranth’s use as a decorative plant.  Amaranth is rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.


Quinoa is an enormously popular pseudocereal with an overt grassy flavor.  When cooked, its germ is released and it curls up against the grain in a sort of spiral.  Quinoa is a good source of folate, and, like most other seeds, it is also a good source of manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.  Like buckwheat, it is also a good source of the amino acid tryptophan which is known for its calming properties.

Much in the way that hoppy beer and oatmeal are recommended for nursing mothers in western cultures, quinoa was also traditionally used as a galactologue; that is, it was used to stimulate the flow of milk in breastfeeding mothers.  In Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a landmark book penned by a Cleveland dentist and intrepid researcher who traveled the world analyzing the native diets of healthy populations, quinoa porridge is used by both African and Peruvian mothers to stimulate the flow of milk.

Getting the most from what you eat: proper preparation

All grains, nuts, seeds, pulses and pseudocereals benefit from proper preparation, and our recent love of these whole foods has come somewhat to our detriment.  You see, while many people embrace a return to whole foods like quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, lentils and whole grains, they fail to understand that these foods require special preparation without which their stunning array of minerals is not well-absorbed.  Further, without proper preparation, these foods can be difficult to digest.

To receive the greatest nutritional benefit from these foods, they must be soaked, soured or sprouted and cooked.  These traditional processes help to activate food enzymes like phytase which then, in turn, deactivate antinutrients.  The end result is that your foods offer your body a greater array of absorbable minerals while also increasing overall digestibility.  Indeed, when traditional peoples prepared porridges and breads, they used freshly ground meals and flours that were summarily prepared through soaking or souring.

3-seed porridge in a bowl with blueberries and cream

three-seed porridge with ginger and blueberries


By Jenny Published: February 17, 2012

  • Yield: about 4 servings (04 Servings)
  • Prep: 15 minute mins
  • Cook: 12 hours (soaking) mins
  • Ready In: 27 mins

Blueberries, ginger and cinnamon complete this simple porridge featuring three of my favorite seeds for cooking: buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa.


  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup amaranth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups whole milk or heavy cream, plus more to serve
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • maple syrup or honey, to serve


  1. The night before you plan to serve the porridge, coarsely grind buckwheat and quinoa in a hand-crank grain grind or a spice grinder. Transfer the freshly ground buckwheat and quinoa to a mixing bowl and stir in amaranth. Cover with three to four cups hot water and stir in one tablespoon lemon juice. Allow the pseudocereals to soak for at least twelve hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Melt ghee in a medium-sized heavy-bottom saucepan over moderate heat, stir in ginger and fry until fragrant – about three minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in soaked buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth as well as unrefined sea salt and whole milk or heavy cream. Add a cinnamon stick to the pot and simmer, stirring continuously for eight to ten minutes or until the porridge is cooked through and thickened to your liking. Remove cinnamon stick from porridge, fold in blueberries. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup or honey, and serve with additional whole milk or heavy cream as it suits you.

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What people are saying

  1. brie says

    My soaked grains seemed like a porridge in and of themselves. There wasn’t much to drain unless I pushed liquid out of the mixture. Then I only added 2 cups of milk and it seemed way too runny. What did I do wrong?! The flavor was of course still delicious.

  2. Alene says

    Question: If I left the grains out for longer than
    24 hours, and the mixture now has air bubbles
    Can I use it as a sour dough starter??

  3. Jessica Campbell says

    Hey Jenny, As always this looks delicious. I just had a new grain recipe here in Beijing a coupe weekends ago that made me think of you. It was a millet congee and it was delicious!

  4. Cheryl velez says

    Soaked my seeds last night and made the porridge this morning. I’m curious, what’s the best way to rinse the soaked seeds? I lost a lot of the seed during the rinse process. Is it necessary to actually strain them, or just pour off the liquid on top, add fresh water, let sit and pour off the top? Thanks.

    • bernadette kapocias says

      I was worried about the draining and rinsing, too. I have a mesh tool (like a window screen), and didn’t lose much at all. I did get rid of the foam, though, and that was good. I also didn’t do a “thorough” rinse, just a quick wash.

  5. Jessica says

    I’m SO excited to try this! My daughter is allergic to wheat, corn and now oats, making breakfasts a little limited. She misses her oatmeal.

  6. Mim Buckley says

    I tired this porridge and love it. I did decrease the milk and added coconut water because I had some I needed to use. I am single so I have probably have 2 of the four servings left. I had a hard time leaving it alone.

  7. Vanessa says

    I used my nutramill to grind the buckwheat and quinoa. I set the machine to coarse ground but it looked like flour to me. Next time I will use the spice grinder assuming its needs to be more coarse. Then I added the hot water. I am assuming you do not stir the water into the grains which I did and there was no possible way to drain and rinse (due to the flour nature of mine) It has a nice flavor. Very different then oatmeal but will try this recipe again till I master!

    • Kerry says

      Oops, I just did that too,mine is like flour, so I guess I wont be able to rinse before cooking? Is that a problem, hope it will still work….

  8. Keren says

    There seems to be allot of unsettled opinion and clarification regarding PHYTIC ACID (hope I spelt it right?)
    And I would like to please hear you opinion regarding the well reaserched document the Bread Becker’s have put out on their web site regarding Phytic acid in wheat for a start.
    As I have come to a stand still on food (re-pre-soaking etc), until I can have a clearer peace of mind and move on.
    Your researched opinion would be good to hear???

  9. Miriam Buckley says

    I love this Porridge! Also your posts. I do have one question; is there an easy way to drain and rinse the soaked seeds? Somehow I suspect I am making it hard and an unnecessary mess. :)

    Also – I am a single woman in my early 50’s. My daughter and grandchildren live in in another state. I also garden and love to grow organic vegetables. I love your tips on storage; dehydration; cultures, etc. Any tips for smaller family sizes would be appreciated. How do cut a recipe or anything!! Thank you!!

  10. says

    Making this with diluted apple juice instead of milk (for a dairy free version) gives a flavour boost. I leave out the sugar when making hot cereals with apple juice.

  11. says

    I am seeing this for the first time, thank you for posting it! I have never tried buckwheat in anything sweet, but this porridge will make me try for the first time.

    I am so glad that domestically-grown quinoa has gotten so much easier to find!

  12. Lan says

    I don’t have a grinder. Can I leave the pseudo-grains as they are? Will they take longer to cook?

    Also can I sub coconut milk for milk?

    Thank you!

  13. Lindsay van Niekerk says

    Absolutely delicious! I ground the grains using a Bamix grinder. Love the subtle undertone of ginger which works beautifully with the nutty flavour of the combined grains. Added raw milk and beautiful New Zealand honey! Lovely

  14. Charlotte says

    I used organic barley (not pearled) in the place of the buckwheat because I didn’t have any. This recipe is delicious! I will try it with the buckwheat when I get some. Also I just added the ghee w/o sautéing, I grated the ginger and used ground cinnamon. It came together quickly this morning. Thanks so much for what you’re doing.

  15. bernadette kapocias says

    I made this and liked it. Next time I might try chopping the garlic into finer bits and sautéing it at night when soaking the seeds, and letting the ghee and ginger cool overnight. Adding the wet grains to the hot oil made everything sputter, so starting everything cold will work better. Also, frying the ginger for three minutes made my ginger burn (I could have watched it more closely, but didn’t — operator error).

    I made mine with flax milk. I also cooked it for 20 minutes to get it thick enough.

    I will definitely make this again — thank you!

  16. Ashly says

    I assume you’re supposed to leave the grains and water to soak IN THE REFRIGERATOR overnight… am I wrong? Are you supposed to leave them out? Or does it not matter? Please help Jenny!

  17. megan says

    doesn’t appear that you respond to comments here but asking anyway – any idea how this might freeze? i tripled and then discovered my littles do not care for it so it is all on me to enjoy, which might take awhile . . .

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