Comforting Winter Breakfast Porridge

Top your barley and chia seeds with bright candied kumquats for eye catching colors and sweetness.

From Simply Vibrant
February 2018

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

Simply Vibrant: All-Day Vegetarian Recipes for Colorful Plant-Based Cooking (Roost Books, 2018), by Anya Kassoff, shows you how to create delicious recipes using fresh seasonal produce. You can use everyday ingredients by following practical preparations with a modern twist. By following template-style recipes, you can create easy and affordable meals for any part of the day. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1, “Morning Porridge and Pancakes."

A comforting winter breakfast of hearty barley and nutritious chia porridge, topped with festive, sweet- tart candied kumquats. If you can’t find kumquats, stir about 1 cup of any dried fruit of choice into the porridge at the end, cover and let sit for 5 minutes before adding in the soaked chia seeds.


For the Porridge

• 2 tablespoons chia seeds

• 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons almond milk or coconut milk, divided

• 3 cups purified water

• 1/2 cup pearled barley, rinsed in a strainer

• Sea salt

• 1 tablespoon coconut sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

• 11/2 teaspoons ghee (optional)

For the Candied Kumquats

• 3/4 cup honey

• 1/2 cup purified water

• 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

• 2 pints (about 4 cups) kumquats, sliced


Combine the chia seeds and 6 tablespoons of the almond milk or coconut milk in a small bowl and whisk until well mixed to prevent clumping. Set aside.

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the barley and salt, to taste, lower the heat to a strong simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, partially covered. Check and stir periodically to make sure that not all the water has evaporated, and to prevent the barley from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining 1 cup of almond milk, the coconut sugar, and the vanilla, if using, to the barley. Bring the mixture back to a slow simmer and cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered and stirring periodically, until the barley is fully cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed. Taste and adjust with more salt as needed. Add the ghee, if using, and stir to incorporate. 

Stir in the soaked chia seeds and remove the pan from the heat. 

Distribute among individual bowls, add more milk and/or ghee, if preferred, and top with Candied Kumquats.

To Prepare the Kumquats

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, water, and vanilla bean seeds and pod. Bring to a gentle boil. Add in the kumquats and bring the mixture back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until syrupy. 

Remove the pan from the heat and let the kumquats cool in the syrup. Store the candied kumquats in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

More from Simply Vibrant: All-Day Vegetarian Recipes for Colorful Plant-Based Cooking:

Coconut Curried Couscous Wrapped in Collard Greens Recipe
White Bean and Sweet Potato Spelt Flour Dumpling Recipe

Simply Vibrant: All-Day Vegetarian Recipes for Colorful Plant-Based Cooking

by Anya Kassoff © 2018 by Anya Kassoff. Photographs © 2018 by Masha Davydova.

Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc.