Savory tomato porridge with dried mint and basil

Savory tomato porridge with dried mint and basil

I don’t where I went wrong with my life, but somewhere along the line I lost my sweet tooth. If I see a sweet porridge, I run the other way. When I wake up in the morning, I dream of eating pickles and olives and drinking salty stock cubes diluted in water. I still don’t understand why a lot of people think of savory porridge as a martian invention, and even if it was, it is a delicious and comforting one.

In the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in specific, it is not uncommon to boil, beat and mash rice, groats, coarsely-ground wheat and other grains until they have the consistency of porridge. They are often served with meat, caramelized onions and sometimes with some kind of salsa or salad. I have seen people make versions of harees, jareesh and mathrouba with oats since they’re easier and faster to prepare.

The oat porridge below used to be a soup that I’d make when I had a cold, but over time it became a breakfast staple. If you’d like to turn it to a soup, sauté some onions beforehand and add more water. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the ingredients, it’s a very forgiving recipe and you can experiment with different flavors.



-1.5 cup water

-10 tbsp whole oats

-1 vegetable stock cube (optional, can substitute with salt to taste)

-2 tbsp nutritional yeast

-2 tsp olive oil (optional, perhaps add some ground flaxseed instead?)

-2.5 tsp tomato paste

-1 tsp dried basil

-1.5 tsp dried mint

-0.5 tsp mixed spice (can use 7 spice, garam masala, baharat, or any generic spice mix you have lying around)

-0.25 tsp black pepper

-1 cube frozen spinach (or a handful of fresh chopped spinach)

-Juice of half a lemon


In a sauce pan, cook the water until it comes to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice until the oats cook and start to have a thicker consistency.

Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Garnish with extra dried mint, and serve with fresh tomatoes, leafy greens or vegan sausages.

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