Oatmeal is often toted as a fast gluten-free breakfast option. But for those with life-threatening gluten sensitives, oatmeal is not worth the cross contamination risk. Most brands that offer oatmeal also process wheat flour, rye, or barley and can’t claim perfect purity. So how can you have a delicious breakfast porridge packed with protein and nutrients, and not worry about getting any gluten? We’ve rounded up information on seven other grains or seeds that can offer yummy breakfast with a little bit of preparation, as well as add-ins and toppings to augment your morning.
Amaranth: This nutty grain offers a strong flavor and more protein than even quinoa. Adding bananas or peaches seems to mellow its natural intensity.
Preparation ratio (water to grain): 3 to 1
Prepare: Combine amaranth, water and pinch of salt in pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook about 25 minutes.
Teff: This grain tastes similar to chestnut or hazelnut, and is chock full of calcium and iron. Consider adding chocolate chips or cinnamon to it for a sweet breakfast.
Preparation ratio (water to grain): 3 to 1
Prepare: Combine teff with water in pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 20 minutes.
Buckwheat: Even though buckwheat is often touted as pancake flour, it can be eaten in seed form. In whole grain form it packs a heart-healthy antioxidant and magnesium punch that also helps control bad cholesterol. The soft, earthy flavor matches perfectly with berries.
Preparation ratio (water to grain): 1.5 to 1
Prepare: Pick through grain to remove any debris. Toast groats in a dry pan on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Then add water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.
Chia Seed: The glutinous texture of chia seed is more like a pudding than oatmeal, but its high protein content and versatility make it a great choice for the AM. Often it is combined with other grains to add fiber and texture.
Preparation ratio (water to seeds): 2.5 to 1
Prepare: Place ¼ teaspoon butter, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 ¼ cup water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir in ¼ cup chia seeds and boil 12 minutes. Stir in honey to sweeten, if desired.
Quinoa: In recent years, this seed has taken the world by storm with its variety of colors with soft but crunchy texture similar to brown rice. The flavor intensifies depending on how dark the seed is. It combines well with cranberries and almonds.
Preparation ratio (water to seeds): 2 to 1
Prepare: Rinse the quinoa. Place in a small pot with correct amount of water and a pinch or two of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
Please note: Quinoa can be cooked in a rice cooker.
Millet: This grain is especially versatile, as it can be cooked to be fluffy like rice or mushy like oatmeal. It’s jam-packed with magnesium and phosphorus, both vital to bone and teeth health. Citrus flavors really bring out its sweet notes.
Preparation ratio (water to grain): 4 to 1
Prepare: Presoak if desired. Drain water, and then place new water, millet, and salt in a medium pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir in toppings and milk of choice before enjoying.
Brown Rice: The nutrients and fiber in this fairly common wheat alternative prevent heart disease. Our favorite additions for it are bananas and coconut. Others suggest raisins and cinnamon just like oatmeal.
Preparation ratio (water to grain): 2.5 to 1
Prepare: Rinse grain and drain. Combine water, rice, and salt in a covered pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer 40-45 minutes. Fluff before adding toppings and enjoying.
Please note: Can also be prepared in a rice cooker to save time or do safely while you're away.
If you’d prefer a savory route with any of these grains or seeds for breakfast or even lunch, consider these flavor combinations:
- Avocado and kale
- Poached egg, bean sprouts, green onion, ginger, soy sauce, and cilantro
- Spinach and marinara sauce
- Bacon, cheddar, and chive
- Chicken, curry powder, scallion, and green bell pepper
- Egg and cheese
- Onion, garlic, feta, Kalamata olives, and oregano
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