I love hot cereal. I never thought I would, either. After going low fat whole foods plant based (as opposed to "just" whole foods plant based), I gave up my beloved nut-butters on whole grain toast... and felt a bit lost. But it didn't last too long after I hauled out the hot cereal (and various kinds of oatmeal) and all the different flavorings and toppings to try and mix in to switch up the taste. Like maple extract, vanilla, and flax.
The big advantage hot cereal and oatmeal has is they do not have a ton of flavor on their own, so you can switch up what they taste like on a daily basis. You can also cook it with a bit (or a lot) of plant-based milk, such as cashew milk or flax milk, to make the result a bit creamier and rich.
For more information on hot cereal, see the section below the recipe.
Making hot cereal with plant milk
You can cook hot cereal with water for the lowest calorie option - however, do note that this is an incredibly low calorie breakfast, so you will need to add a few more with your garnishes, and perhaps some plant-based milk substituted in for the water.
You can use your preferred plant based milk, such as cashew milk, pea milk, or coconut milk. I used a pea-protein based milk for the pictured recipe, made by Ripple. I used about half water, and half Ripple, and it worked very well adding a very creamy consistency to the cereal.
What to top it with?
A few of my favorite additions for this recipe are:
- Sesame seeds (pumpkin or sunflower kernels are both great)
Also consider adding your favorite healthy ingredients into the hot cereal itself as you cook it, based on your own nutritional needs, such as camu camu or elderberries.
Maple Vanilla Hot Cereal
- 1/4 cup hot cereal or cream of wheat
- 1 cup water see notes
- 1 tsp flaxseed powder ground flaxseeds
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1/2 tsp maple extract
- 1/4 tsp stevia extract Sub 2 tsp of preferred sweetener
- Sesame seeds
- Cook the hot cereal according to package directions, adding the flavoring ingredients from this recipe either at the beginning of the cooking process or half way through. Hot cereal can be prepared on the stovetop or in the microwave, and does not take long.
- Garnish with your preferred toppings, and enjoy!
Where to find that flavor?
I love using vanilla paste (in the event vanilla bean itself isn't available! I rarely have it on hand). You can always use extract too, of course. If you cannot find vanilla paste in the grocery store, it is available on online grocery sites such as Amazon. You can also find maple extract on these sites, although it is very easy to find in a grocery store.
About Hot Cereal
Hot cereal has a mild taste and texture is similar to hominy grits. You can find it at most grocery stores, and online. Find some links to purchase hot cereal below.
Nutritionally the cereal varies depending on the type you buy, so if fiber, carbs, or iron is a concern you will want to check out the label in advance. If you want to learn more about the variations, I've included some links to sources below the recipe. If you need iron added to your plant-based diet, an enriched cream of wheat is one way to obtain it.
This page on SFGate details the benefits of Cream of Wheat, such as the nutritional advantages of this version of the hot cereal. Cream of Wheat, unlike some of the other cereals, is enriched with iron and is also a source of B vitamins. However, it is not a good source of fiber like many other breakfast cereals. You may want to add your own fiber.
Hot cereal or wheat farina is similar to Cream of Wheat, but depending on the manufacturer, it may not be enriched with iron or other vitamins so be sure to read the label. There is a brown rice based farina that you can find here if you are gluten free, and whole wheat farina, which I have personally not tried yet, but it is a healthful choice and has iron and fiber unlike the cream wheat version. It's a good ingredient to have on hand, as you can also use it to make meals like polenta and grits-style dishes.
More hot cereal recipes
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