Breakfast/ Recipes

apricot vanilla breakfast porridge

Let’s talk mornings.

We hit the snooze button, we stumble out of bed, we make our way cold and bleary-eyed to the kitchen where we immediately pour a bowl of cereal, heat up some oatmeal or slather some toast with peanut butter.

Smoothies can be a nice option too, but definitely not in the winter. In the winter, I go for heartier options such as pancakes, oatmeal, waffles and baked eggs. (Ever try baked eggs with fresh rosemary and goat cheese? You should.)

This apricot vanilla breakfast porridge is a delicious blend of four grains: red quinoa, pearl barley, steel cut oats and oat bran, and will get you out of your boring oatmeal rut and into something a little more… colorful, shall I say?

If you’re already thinking there’s no WAY I have time to make this weird grainy breakfast porridge on weekday morning, you’re wrong! I’ve always been a big fan of make-ahead breakfasts and this is no excuse.

Just simmer the grains together for half an hour on Sunday evenings and then all you have to do during the week is a quick thirty second reheat. It really doesn’t get simpler than that.  I love to keep a big tupperware container full of this all week long in the fridge–it makes breakfasts super speedy and delicious!

The grains are simmered with chopped dried apricots, cinnamon and a vanilla bean. You could also swap the apricot for dried cranberries or cherries if you prefer, but I just love how the apricot chunks get all soft and chewy after cooking. It makes me wish I enjoyed them fresh as much as I enjoy them dried.

I like to top my bowl with a little milk, chopped walnuts, pure maple syrup and fresh berries. Almond butter and sliced banana would be great, too!

So….what are you waiting for? Get thee in the kitchen tonight and boil some grains! Your belly will be thankful you did when the alarm goes off tomorrow. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll hit the snooze button one less time.

Apricot Vanilla Breakfast Porridge

serves 2-3 (recipe can easily be doubled)

Print this recipe!

1/4 cup steel cut oats

1/4 cup red quinoa (or regular quinoa)

2 T pearl barley

2 T oat bran

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 vanilla bean, split down the middle

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

2 1/2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let cook for about thirty minutes or until very thick.

Remove from heat and serve warm with additional toppings (nuts, berries, bananas, milk, brown sugar, maple syrup) or keep in a large covered tupperware container in the fridge for quick weekday breakfasts.

I’ll take a side of bacon, please. And some cake!

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  • Christie {Abundant Self Care}
    January 26, 2011 at 5:02 am

    I have tried quinoa at breakfast before and have never really liked it (thought I love it for dinner). But, I really like the idea of mixing it in with the other grains. I’m also going to experiment with making granola with it.

    • Rowan
      May 4, 2013 at 6:44 am

      Hi Christie, just in case you haven’t already tried it, you might enjoy quinnoa and amaranth in flakes. I find adding about one third quinnoa flakes to two thirds rolled oats, and then probably with a few other things thrown in, like fruit, seeds, wheatgerm, or sweet stuff, I can hardly tell the difference. This four grain thing looks really EXITING though 🙂 you deffinately would know your quinnoa was there, hehe.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    January 26, 2011 at 5:02 am

    although i don’t think i’d hit the snooze button one less time (old college habits die hard!) i can definitely see myself stumbling downstairs first thing for a bowl of this!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    January 26, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Love that there is quinoa in here! I have been eating quinoa for breakfast in lieu of oats and I love it!

  • jen @ taste life
    January 26, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Just this morning I was thinking about how I could prepare quinoa for breakfast for tomorrow. Then BAM! Jenna shows up with an awesome recipe. Can you read my mind?

  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    January 26, 2011 at 5:25 am

    This looks like a great way to switch up my usual oatmeal breakfasts. I’ve had quinoa sitting in my cupboard for a while and just couldn’t decide what to do with it. I’m definitely making this, with a big scoop of almond butter on top!

  • Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day
    January 26, 2011 at 5:36 am

    This looks amazing! I love the different textures of the grains you used.. and it’s so smart to make a big batch and re-heat it during the week

  • Baking 'n' Books
    January 26, 2011 at 5:48 am

    I never thought about chopping up apricots – that’s a good idea. Vanilla bean? Where do you even get that?!

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 7:24 am

      grocery stores in the spice section (or just use vanilla extract)

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    January 26, 2011 at 5:51 am

    I just started eating quinoa for dinner, let alone breakfast! We’ll have to see. I’ve been thinking about throwing an egg on top!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    January 26, 2011 at 5:52 am

    That looks great. You’re right, my first thought was, Lady you have to be out of your mind if you think I’m waking up early to make that. But I can totally do make-ahead. You know us morning-haters well. 🙂

  • Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes
    January 26, 2011 at 5:55 am

    That red quinoa is gorgeous! And yep… if it’s a reheat, I can do it. That actually would SAVE me time in the morning — not add to it!

  • Eliz@The Sweet Life
    January 26, 2011 at 5:56 am

    OH man-I just want my kitchen to smell as delicious as I imagine your recipe does!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    January 26, 2011 at 5:58 am

    This sounds perfect for the cold icy snowy day we’re having in DC 🙂

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    January 26, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Ahh – this sounds so good, and I have all this stuff in my kitchen right now. Fate?

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    January 26, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Mmm this porridge looks delicious!! I love that it has so many different grains. I have oatmeal almost every morning, but it could definitely stand some spicing up!

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl
    January 26, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Yum! Love the addition of the vanilla bean.

    Question for ya: Have you found somewhere to buy vanilla beans that do not make you sign away your first born child? I would love to use them more often in my baking, but it gets expensive quickly! Thanks for your help!!! 🙂

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

      Well….(cough cough) actually a reader from Madagascar send me about 50 fresh vanilla beans (cough cough) so that’s what I’ve been using. I totally hear you on the $$ part and for most recipes you can just sub 2 tsp vanilla extract for them!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    January 26, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Mmm…I love quinoa for breakfast. The addition of other grains (and apricots!) sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try this. 😀

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete
    January 26, 2011 at 6:09 am

    I have always loved the idea of making breakfasts ahead of time and just reheating, but I never do it!

    And I have been having smoothies for breakfast even though it is super cold here in MN — I like them year round!

  • Camille
    January 26, 2011 at 6:10 am

    This looks amazing. Although, I consider myself a quinoa failure. The one time I made it, it ended up getting burnt. Fail! I guess this cooking method makes it a bit more difficult to ruin 🙂

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 7:22 am

      It’s much easier to cook when you throw it in with other grains! No risk of burning!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    January 26, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I LOVE quinoa for breakfast, especially mixed in oatmeal. This sounds divine!!!

  • Brenna [fabuleuxdestin]
    January 26, 2011 at 6:15 am

    My roomate just made fun of me for eating the same breakfast every morning. YAY for trying something new! This looks so good.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    January 26, 2011 at 6:15 am

    I love that you added quinoa! I’ve been thinking about mixing it into my oats lately and this sounds like a perfect way to do it. Love it Jenna! 🙂

  • Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy
    January 26, 2011 at 6:20 am

    I always think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears when I think of porridge! But this looks amazing!! I need to try it!

  • Delphine at Antiquarian Cooks
    January 26, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Oooh this looks good, and so healthy! I try to soak my grains overnight, which also cuts down on cooking time.

  • mary (sisters running the kitchen)
    January 26, 2011 at 6:23 am

    yum. I love this mix of grains. Looks delicious! SOmetimes I Just need that extra motivation to prepare breakfast ahead of time. In actuality it saves a ton of time!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    January 26, 2011 at 6:26 am

    looks like a great breakfast option! I’ve been wanting to try steel cut oats in the crockpot, but haven’t bought any yet. This looks like a similar idea, except cook ahead. I like the idea of just heating it up in the morning.

  • Meghan
    January 26, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I haven’t tried quinoa for breakfast. That dish looks like it will keep you going for hours!

  • Lida (Octopus Gourmet)
    January 26, 2011 at 6:41 am

    The combination of vanilla and apricots sounds great.
    You could just as easily make this in a rice cooker! Then you really have no excuse not to make it in advance.

  • Sisters Running the Kitchen
    January 26, 2011 at 6:52 am

    this looks fantastic! definitely a fun way to shake up the usual oatmeal routine. bookmarking this 🙂

  • Ella
    January 26, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Yum! and creative! (and I think you mean “bleary-eyed” not “blurry-eyed” although blurry certainly describes the situation as well heheh)

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 7:21 am

      I think I was “blurry-eyed” when I wrote this post. Oops.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    January 26, 2011 at 6:57 am

    That looks amazing!! Reminds me that I need to cook some grains for the week. A bit late, but better late than never!

  • Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats
    January 26, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Anything with dried apricots is a-ok with me – I am oBsessed with them!

    I’ve been an unstoppable local bacon for breakfast eating machine lately. I can’t get enough of it!

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 7:21 am

      You should then come over for breakfast and we can eat bacon to our heart’s content! Iowa seems a little far from california though…

  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher
    January 26, 2011 at 7:11 am

    recently i was talking about cornmeal porridge on my blog, but here’s another option i’d never consider! yum!

  • Ursula
    January 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Am a huge fan of eggs for breakfast, but baked with rosemary and goats cheese? Wow –
    sounds delicious

  • salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle)
    January 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

    that porridge looks bomb!!!

  • BrightBakes
    January 26, 2011 at 7:20 am

    …maybe this can hoist me outta my oatmeal n eggs rut…I love the quinoa idea!
    cathy b.

  • Jenn
    January 26, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Your photography is particularly lovely here!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    January 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I love the idea of making this in advance, no clue why I never think to do that!

  • Allywan
    January 26, 2011 at 7:35 am

    All your tasty looking recipes may tempt me into actually *gasp* cooking something.
    Darn you and your deliciousness!!

  • Jess
    January 26, 2011 at 7:40 am

    i love dried apricots lately, i’ve been enjoying them with bits of dark chocolate as a snack with my tea each night.

  • stacey-healthylife
    January 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I love the idea of the dried apricots.

  • Alyssa
    January 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I love eating quinoa for breakfast…a little lighter than oats but still very filling!

  • Jenny
    January 26, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I’ve been wanting to try quinoa. This may be a good excuse to go buy some

  • Dee
    January 26, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Simply brilliant!

  • M
    January 26, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Hey I also put dried apricots in my brekky this morn.

    I had yummy brown rice farina topped with a little warmed almond milk,
    chopped dryroasted almonds and slivers of dried apricots.

    The apricots were even tastier than the chopped dates I put in yesterday morn.


  • Moni'sMeals
    January 26, 2011 at 8:22 am

    wow! this is a perfect breakfast to me. Great idea!!!

  • Jenny D.
    January 26, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Looks delicious and with school back in full swing for me, I need something make-ahead and speedy… question, though – steel cut oats are soooooo stinking expensive… is there any way I can get away with old fashioned oats instead??

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    January 26, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Holy yum! Now you’re talking!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    January 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

    This “almost” makes me want to get up in the morning…almost 😉 I know I’ll at least cut down on how many times I hit the snooze button!

  • Aleyta
    January 26, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Wow, that looks YUMMY!!!!

  • jenna@frombostonwithlove
    January 26, 2011 at 8:37 am

    and now I am hungry for lunch…

  • Christine (The Raw Project)
    January 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Smoothies are my go to breakfast on week mornings because I have to leave the house so early and my stomach is not totally awake for something hearty. But this porridge looks wonderful, great for a weekend breakfast or weeknight dinner. 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Thorns Have Roses
    January 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

    LOVE quinoa for breakfast. And I happen to have a leftover vanilla bean waiting for this recipe!!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking)
    January 26, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I get bored with oatmeal, so quinoa is a great idea!

  • Amber K
    January 26, 2011 at 9:08 am

    No smoothies in the winter? I couldn’t imagine such a travesty!

    I will bundle up, crank the heat and sip my smoothie with a huge smile on my face. 🙂

  • sonia
    January 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Where does one find red quiona? I’ve searched the WF in the south bay (supposed to be one of the largest here) and have yet to find it in the bulk section. Or should I be looking for a box? Or it could be that my eyesight is just getting worse.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    January 26, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I am loving on this recipe!

  • Laura @ prettylittlewords
    January 26, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Can you post a recipe for the baked eggs/goat cheese/rosemary combo? I think I just drooled a little bit 😀

  • Cat @ YoungHungryFoolish
    January 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

    As I was staring at my hum-drum oatmeal bowl this morning, I thought I needed something new. Then along came this post! Looks delish.

  • Stephanie @ Living and Loving
    January 26, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I’ve been on the smoothie route lately, but have been wanting to mix it up! I’m going to make a batch of this and see how it turns out! I love that you can just reheat it and you are ready to go! Perfect!!!

  • Kelly
    January 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    This is beautiful! I love it. I usually make a big batch of steel cut oats every Sunday for the week but this Sunday I guess I am trying something new. Poor me! 🙂

  • Lora B.
    January 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I have all the ingrediants , but my steel cut oats are quick-cooking. Do you think that would be ok? Thanks for this great breakfast idea!!

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      yep! That would be fine; you might need to reduce cooking time a little bit (15-20 minutes) but it should work!

  • Sarah
    January 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    I’m definitely going to try this on the weekend. On an oat related matter did I imagine it or not so long ago did you mention pumkpin oats? because come Sunday I am going to have half a can of pumpkin left over and I like the idea of pumkpin oats but I’m not sure how to create oaty goodness with it. Your oat wisdom would be gratefully received!

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      hehe I don’t think I’ve mentioned pumpkin oats in awhile! I do love them though! especially in the fall.

  • Kristy
    January 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Love, love, love this idea! I have been back-sliding on my healthy breakfasts lately simply because I don’t have a lot of time in the morning before work (toddler gets fed and cleaned up first). I think this is going to be a great recipe to set me straight. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dana
    January 26, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Just made this because the smoothie morning routine leaves me hungry by 10! Mind if I post it on my new blog so I can share with my friends? Obviously crediting your blog. I’m new at this! Thanks for such great recipes 🙂

    • jenna
      January 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      of course!

  • Jenna @Eating Green, Staying Lean
    January 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Fun! I’ve never thought to combine grains with my steel cut oats…awesome idea, I’ll definitely be trying this recipe soon 🙂

  • Richelle
    January 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Mmmm, thanks for the awesome breakfast recipe. I need to do something other than oatmeal to shake things up a bit.

  • amanda
    January 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    grr. why doesn’t publix have oat bran and pearl barley? or why can’t i find them there? this looks so good. this is what i want for breakfast tomorrow.

  • Maria
    January 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    What a great way to start the day!

  • Keely (Sky Blue)
    January 27, 2011 at 4:20 am

    This looks incredibly yummy and I love the colors and texture! Bummer I live in a dorm.

  • Laurab @Foodsnobstl
    January 27, 2011 at 6:20 am

    This looks so delicious. I love the combo of vanilla and apricots.

  • Sarah
    January 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I am simmering this now, and it smells delicious! Even though it’s very hot here today, I couldn’t resist making it. For all of you that ask, vanilla bean paste works just as well (well, almost…vanilla beans are obviously the best!). It’s expensive, but a small jar can last awhile if you’re not a vanilla freak like me, and it’s miles above vanilla extract. You can usually find it near the vanilla extract.

  • Danielle
    February 1, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Delish! Just bought all the ingredients and quadrupled the recipe for me and my boyfriend. Stuck it all in a crockpot! Any idea on the serving size and calorie count?

    Thanks! Keep em coming!!!

  • amanda
    February 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    yay! i just whipped up a pot of this yummy breakfast concoction. can’t wait for breakfast in the am (but i can wait for work)

  • Julie Ann
    March 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Spent a couple of days assembling the ingredients, then made a batch of these last night. Copied your toppings exactly. Brilliant. Very enjoyable and kept me satisfied all morning. Thanks!

  • Teresa
    March 10, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I made this this morning. It was awesome. I didn’t have any apricots, so I subbed in dried orange-cranberries from Trader Joe’s. I mixed in a spoonfull of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter and cut up a banana on top. It was AWESOME. Thanks for this!! And if you haven’t had Justin’s Nut Butter, you haven’t lived!