Vegan in Three: Sweet or Savoury Polenta Porridge with Rita Serano

With the temperature staying stubbornly below 12 degrees Celsius, most mornings we find ourselves turning to a bowl of soothing, warming porridge. But bowlful after bowlful, morning after morning our favourite breakfast bowl can begin to feel a bit… bland.

Enter not one, but two new, vegan-friendly spins on porridge, straight from Rita Serano’s new cookbook, Vegan for Good. All kinds of grains, including pseudograins like buckwheat and rolled grains, can be prepared as a porridge. Rita’s porridge recipes, however, are built on polenta and can be adapted to be sweet or savoury, depending on your preference.

These recipes are so easy, that you probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboards already. Eat up!

“Polenta, also known as cornmeal, is made from dried corn and then ground. It’s best to choose an organic polenta since corn is one of the most chemically-sprayed and genetically modified foods. The organic variety isn’t that expensive in comparison to normal polenta.

“In summer, this porridge is also delicious with blueberries and some zested lemon. Or in winter with produce like persimmon, pomegranate and citrus fruits.”

Sweet Polenta Porridge

What you’ll need

  • 85g quick-cook polenta
  • 600ml almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
  • 600ml maple or brown rice syrup

To serve

  • Sliced fruit, such as pineapple banana, mangoes or dates
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Chopped mint

How it’s made

  1. Put the polenta and the almond milk in a pan and bring it to boil, stirring with a whisk.
  2. When the polenta starts to boil and thicken, reduce the heat and add the vanilla, allspice, cinnamon and sweetener. Keep stirring and let cook for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Pour into two to three bowls, and top with fruit, coconut yoghurt, chopped mint and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Savoury Polenta Porridge

What you’ll need

  • 85g quick-cook polenta
  • 600ml almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large handfuls of finely-cut kale, Swiss chard or spring greens
  • 250g fresh or slow-roasted cherry tomatoes
  • Small handful of soft herbs, such as basil, tarragon, parsley or chives

To serve

  • Savoury toppings or chopped nuts of your choice
  • Chilli flakes

How it’s made

  1. Put the polenta and the almond milk in a pan and bring it to boil, stirring with a whisk.
  2. When the polenta starts to boil and thicken, reduce the heat and the oregano, nutritional yeast and salt. Continue to stir from time to time for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the greens and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt and adjust accordingly.
  4. Remove from the heat. Pour in to two to three bowls and serve with tomatoes, savoury toppings or nuts and a touch of chilli.

Find more fast and filling recipes in Rita’s new recipe book Vegan for Good.