Warm and comforting on a cold morning, this cereal is also packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, and other important nutrients. If chai spices aren’t your thing, you can go without the spices or substitute your favorites. I tried using ground spices, but it didn’t work nearly as well—once you have cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds, and ginger on hand, this is a snap. Update: see how to make it without the overnight soaking with an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.
Makes 4 servings
The night before (or at least 2 hours before). In a very large glass or ceramic bowl or casserole dish, combine these ingredients.
1 cup whole grains (steel-cut oats, millet, barley, spelt, kamut, quinoa, or a combination)
4 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods (or ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom if you can’t find the pods)
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
5-10 grinds of fresh black pepper
Microwave the mixture on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Then stir and microwave it again for 4 minutes. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight.
In the morning. The cereal is ready. Just remove the cinnamon sticks, heat the mixture, and divide it among 4 bowls (or storage containers for serving later in the week). Serve with any or all of the toppings below.
Plant-based milk (almond, soy, cashew, oat, etc.)
1-2 teaspoons hemp seeds per serving
Sweetener (date sugar, date paste, banana, sweetener with stevia brown sugar or other)
Fresh or dried fruit
Alternative cooking method: Use the multigrain or manual setting on your Instant Pot. Decrease water to 3.5 cups. Program the Instant Pot for 5 minutes. Use the 10-Minute Natural Release Method.
Timing: hands-on time 15 minutes, total time overnight (or at least 2 hours)
Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO
Nutritional content of this dish depends on the combination chosen. I’ve used the following combination to calculate the amounts below: half-quinoa, half-steel cut oats with ½ cup of soymilk, 2 teaspoons hemp seeds, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and ½ Tablespoon chopped almonds
300 calories, 9.5g fat, 1g sat. fat, 42g carbs, 55mg sodium, 3g fiber, 13.5g protein
Gluten-free if made with gluten-free grains