Pumpkin Porridge

I love canned pumpkin. It’s one of those versatile ingredients that goes well in both savory and sweet dishes, requires no prep, but a little bit of love to coax away the canning taste. This morning, I made what my mom referred to as “the best oatmeal [she’s] ever had.” This woman has eaten a lot of oatmeal in her life, so I take her verdict seriously. Although, I think her surprise at the tastiness of this porridge is partly due to a lack of anything to compare it to. Oatmeal isn’t one of those foods people work at. When’s the last time any of us have ordered oatmeal in a restaurant? For a special breakfast occasion, more exciting foods i.e. pancakes, eggs and the like, always come to the forefront. After consuming a day’s worth of calories before 11 in the morning, we experience some lingering regret for the pampering, but accept that delicious breakfast is, by nature, slightly bad for us.

In terms of oatmeal, you know what you’re going to get: some raisins, maple syrup, a few pieces of fruit, brown sugar, nuts. All nice, simple flavor enhancements, but why not push it further than that? Why not make oatmeal something to look forward to as a brunch dish? This recipe, I  think, will be only the beginning for me. I expect to come back to this with new ideas, both sweet and savory in the future.

For now, pumpkin is a sweet, warm addition. Pretty to look at, full of beta carotene . We all know oats are good for you. Instead of sugar, I use half milk, half water, and a few tablespoons of leftover eggnog to fulfill a dual role in the sweet/creamy departments. Walnuts make a nice contrasting texture. Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg provide warmth and bring out the natural sweetness of pumpkin, masking it’s any bitter squash flavor leftover from the can. I can imagine this would also be a great energy packed meal to have the morning before a winter/fall hike.

Pumpkin Porridge


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons eggnog
  • 7 oz canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • a handful of walnuts
  • a pinch of salt


In a small saucepan add oats, water, milk and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and lower the heat. Cook for about 10 minutes until the oats start to plump and the mixture becomes gooey and dense. Add pumpkin and stir to combine. Add eggnog and spices. Heat for another minute to combine. Add walnuts, and combine or sprinkle on top as a garnish.