Whole Grains for Breakfast

April 28, 2006 at 3:14 pm (breakfast, B_minus (2.5 stars), Grains, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Rebecca Wood, Soymilk)

Below I’ve listed two different ways I like to eat whole grains for breakfast.

Quinoa Barley Crockpot Breakfast Porridge

This recipe is from Rebecca Wood’s cookbook Quinoa, the Supergrain. The barley turns ooey gooey but the quinoa stays light and fluffy, which makes a lovely textural contrast. I pour a bit of soymilk on top and sprinkle on a bit of (fresh or dried) fruit and pecans. I often want hot cereal, but I get tired of oatmeal. I haven’t liked the 7-grain stuff I get at my local coop, but this hits the spot.


Place in a crockpot:

1/2 cup barley (I used hulled but not pearled)
1/2 cup quinoa
pinch of salt
4 cups of water

Set to “warm” and leave it overnight.

My notes

Seven hours later it was a bit burnt around the edges, but the middle was fine. If anyone knows any way to keep it from burning around the edges, let me know.

Update May 9, 2006: I tried a variant this morning, except I used 1 cup soaked steel cut oats, 1/2 cup hulled barley, and 1/2 cup quinoa. I also threw in 1/2 tsp. cardamom and a pinch of salt, and 5 cups of water. I left it on warm overnight. It made 6 cups cereal total, and it didn’t burn around the edges this time. The oats and barley, however, totally turned to goo, and I didn’t notice the nice contrast with the fluffy quinoa like I did last time. Also, I don’t know if it was the addition of the cardamom or the oats, but the flavor was much worse–they seemed muddier than the original barley/quinoa combo. I ate 1 cup with a fig and 1/2 ounce pecans, and it was edible but not particularly appealing. I read somewhere that to keep the oats from turning to goo in the crockpot it helps to start with ice water.

Update May 25th: I made the original recipe again, first spraying the crockpot with oil. I also woke up quite early randomly and so turned it off. It didn’t burn around the edges! And it’s a much more mild, less muddy flavor than when I tried it with oats and cardamom. It’s simple but light tasting and pleasant. There is a definite quinoa flavor that might take getting used to for some people, but I enjoy it. It made about 4.5 cups. I like to eat a serving as 3/4 cup, which is about 100 calories, that way I can add in another 100 calories worth of fruit and maybe 50 of a fat, and I have a filling, balanced, low calorie breakfast.

Update Oct 18th: I was too lazy to reheat my leftover porridge, so I just ate it cold. On 3/4 cup of porridge I poured 3 ounces of slightly sweet soymilk and 1 tsp. of maple syrup and mixed it up well. I really enjoyed it this way. It only has 6 grams of sugar but it tastes very sweet. It was a bit low on fat though. I should probably have added a Tbs. of nuts.

Oct 19th: I used 2/3 tsp. maple syrup and it was sweet enough. If I had unsweetened soymilk I think I would use 1-1.5 tsp of maple syrup.

Nov 2006: I ate a small serving with half a serving of cold cereal on top. Excellent combo!

Rating: B

Nutrition Facts

for Barley Quinoa Porridge (3/4 cup serving)

Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving
Calories 95
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 4mg
Carbohydrate 18.9g
Dietary Fiber 3.4g
Sugars 0.1g
Protein 3.4g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1% Iron 8%

Wheat berries for breakfast
I finally found a way I really like to eat wheat berries~cold, for breakfast, with regular cold breakfast cereal.

I made a stuffing with wheat berries, kamut, and a rice blend that includes short grain brown rice, wild rice, and purple rice. I toasted the wheat and kamut, then soaked them overnight, then added the rice blend and cooked them all together for about an hour (I think).

I had some of the plain grain mixture leftover so I’ve been eating it for breakfast cold. I use 1/3 cup of the grain mixture, and 1/2 my normal amount of a cold cereal. I add 1 Tbs. ground flax seeds and 3 ounces unsweetened soymilk. It’s delish! The chewy grains, and the way the wheat berries have that little “pop” when you bite into them, really adds something to the crunch of normal breakfast cereal. Plus, it is way more filling and satisfying than eating a normal bowl of cereal. When I eat a normal bowl of cereal I immediately want another (a mental thing), plus (even with a high protein/high fat cereal) I’m usually hungry pretty quickly (a physical thing). With the wheat berry mixture I’m very satisfied with just the one bowl (maybe it’s the extra chewing, or that it seems bulkier? who knows), and it holds me for much longer.

Finally, the stats are just what I aim for for breakfast. Depending on the cereal, the stats are about:
250-300 calories
25-30% fat (very little saturated)
15-20% protein
60-50% carbs
10.5g fiber


  1. captious said,

    I found a comment about this recipe someone posted on the web. I thought I’d share it here.

    I’ve started having quinoa for breakfast because it has a lot of protein for a grain. Hot cereal is filling, too. It’s really simple: 1/2 c quinoa, 1/2 c barley, rinsed. Dump into slow cooker with 4 c water and turn on low. It’s done in around 3 hours. I like to reheat mine with about 2/3 c or 3/4 c of the cereal with 1/2 c nonfat or soy milk, a few raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can probably get more creative with toppings than I do! I add a little more protein to breakfast with cottage cheese or yogurt. Have you tried Fage Total 0% Greek-style yogurt? It’s a little expensive but soooo thick and creamy.

  2. Lisa said,

    One way of stopping your cereal burning in a slowcooker (I do this with steel cut oats) is to use it as a double boiler. Put your grains, water and anything you want to add overnight into a bowl that will fit inside your crockpot with the lid on. Put water in the crockpot around the bowl of grains, put your lid on, turn it on low and it should be done in the morning. Check out this URL, it has pictures that show you. http://annkroeker.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/overnight-crockpot-steel-cut-oatmeal/

  3. captious said,

    Thanks for the tip Lisa. That’s a great idea. I actually don’t have a crockpot at the moment (mine didn’t work in Germany and I’m having trouble finding a new one). Once I get my hands on one I’m going to try out this double boiler technique. For now, I’m cooking my grains and beans on the stove. The beans have been coming out quite well. As long as you’re home for 2 hours it’s actually quite easy to cook beans on the stove. I’ve been following the water to beans and timing suggestions in Laurel’s Cookbook, and they seem very accurate.

  4. Healthy vegetarian breakfast ideas | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] try congee with bok choy and scallion oil again? Or instant pot green congee? I used to make a barley quinoa porridge that I liked, but I haven’t made it since Alma showed up. Other ideas? Maybe broccoli polenta […]

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